August 9, 2021 Posted in Coping with Relocation
Kaitlyn Bradley

Born in the US, Kaitlyn Bradley is an expert in all things packing and moving. She loves spending time with her family and writing engaging content.

Depression After Moving – The Psychology of Relocating

Believe it or not, in 12% of all psychiatric consultations all across America, adjustment disorder is diagnosed, and depression after moving is one of the common causes of it. Adjustment to new environments is a complex process that entails many changes, and people can usually feel like they are not capable of dealing with it, although they initiated and wanted the relocation. Ending up feeling sad, confused, anxious, and depressed can be the consequence of current feelings and improper mental and emotional preparation.

Relocations are difficult to deal with in every aspect. Here is how to mitigate all the negative emotions and enjoy the upcoming changes

As recent studies suggest, for Americans, relocation is the third most stressful life event. No matter what the reasons to move are, whether relocating to a new state is conditioned by a job that requires relocation, or you’re about to move for a relationship, the whole experience is stressful in so many aspects. The feeling of joy of the upcoming changes can quickly turn into fear and uncertainty. All those mixed feelings are mainly caused by a lack of emotional and psychological readiness, and in many cases, they can cause moving depression.

However, when you know all the symptoms, we are sure you’ll be able to recognize them and react on time to prevent severe consequences to your mental health. Here is how to recognize the first indicators of relocation depression and overcome them successfully.

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How Do You Cope With Moving to a New Place?

Preparing your home for sale, quitting a job and finding another one, looking for the next home, going through the buying process, making thousands of decisions, hiring a reliable long-distance moving company are only some of the tasks from the long to-do list. Having all these obligations listed in your agenda makes it pretty clear why you might feel overwhelmed and anxious about moving out. Even if relocation means you’ll get a better neighborhood, a bigger house, or your dream job, which are the most common reasons for relocation according to the latest relocation statistics, even if your overall life quality will increase, you can still experience negative emotions.

Why Do People Feel Depressed After Moving Into a New House?

The reason why this happens is that people are used to the habit of living in one place and repeating the same daily routines that make them feel safe and fight uncertainty more easily. Relocating to another state alone means they are about to change their lifestyle completely. Once they stay all alone and lonely in unfamiliar surroundings, without their family or friends to support them, adjusting to a new place can become a real nightmare.

worried depressed woman sitting on the floor Changing habits and daily routines can be very stressful, so learn how to cope with it before it becomes a problem

How Does Moving Affect Mental Health?

In the U.S., depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only in one year, 17.3 million adult Americans reported at least one depressive episode. And when it comes to experiencing relocation-related depressive episodes, women are more prone than men. Knowing all these facts makes it obvious that this problem is common for millions of Americans who have difficulties dealing with relocating stress.

What Are the Stressors That Trigger Post Moving Depression?

Adjustment disorder or stress-response syndrome is a short-term condition (it can last from 1 to 3 months) that occurs when people have difficulties adjusting to a specific source of stress which is caused by some major life change such as:

  • Changing jobs,
  • Problems at work,
  • Retirement,
  • Cross-country moving,
  • Divorce or problems in a relationship,
  • Having a baby,
  • Financial issues,
  • Physical assault,
  • Experiencing natural disasters or life-threatening experiences.

Since the main stressors are related to different events, adjustment disorder is often called situational depression. Here are some major symptoms to help you figure out the differences between those two states.

What Are Relocation Depression Symptoms?

The symptoms to indicate you’re dealing with post-relocation depressive episodes are usually associated with a disturbance of your everyday routines. Here are some possible manifestations that can be a consequence of moving cross country:

  • Lack of interest and pleasure in doing usual activities,
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns, insomnia, inability to fall asleep,
  • Absence of focus and difficulties concentrating,
  • High levels of irritability,
  • Lack of desire to meet people and socialize,
  • Unfounded concerns and worries.
at the therapist Recognizing the symptoms and consulting a professional therapist is the best way to protect your well-being

What Are the Main Reasons for Post-Relocation Depression?

After all the stress you’ve gone through during the long-distance move, the story continues. Actually, the process of adjustment to different surroundings is just about to begin, and the emotions you’ll have to face won’t be easy to deal with.

Starting a New Life Means Challenges, Emotional Rollercoaster, and Finding Ways to Overcome Them All

Finding yourself all alone, without family or friends, in unfamiliar surroundings, in the moments when you changed literally every aspect of your life and every single habit can make you feel vulnerable. All these thoughts and feelings can be even more prominent in the moments when homesickness or nostalgia takes over your thoughts. The questions of should I move back home or what on Earth have I gotten myself into will definitely be the first ones to cross your mind, and in many ways, it can make you feel hopeless.

However, attaining personal growth is not possible without getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself. Although all those feelings might not look promising at the beginning, they can be overcome. Relocating miles away from your hometown doesn’t mean cutting all ties with your loved ones. Just the opposite, you can even deepen the relationship since it is most likely you’ll communicate with all of them more often.

What Can You Do to Stay in Touch With Your Loved Ones?

Calls, video calls, messaging, social media networks – all those provide multiple ways to stay in touch with your family and friends. Another thing to do after relocating in order to stay connected with your mates is to organize their visit to your new home. This way, you’ll get two wins – first, you will spend some time with them; second – you’ll get to know the surroundings much better since this can encourage you to be more active. This is excellent advice for introverts, so don’t hesitate to call your old friends for help!

a couple is looking at the family photo album Being in touch with your closest friends and family is an effective way to beat all depressive thoughts

How Do I Stop Being Sad About Moving?

As we have already mentioned, relocations entail too many different and mixed feelings. While you’re looking forward to all things coming into your life, at the same time you may feel sad because you left everything behind. Still, being sad won’t bring any benefits. That’s why a change of perspective is the only way to combat those negative thoughts.

Focus on the positive sides of relocation and all the benefits and advantages that the change of location brings. Better job opportunities, housing options, improved quality of life, a wider range of possibilities to spend your free time, meet people, and many more. All this combined can help you find a deeper purpose and motivate you to accept the upcoming changes easier and let go of resistance.

You’re Not Alone – Ask for Professional Help to Protect Your Mental Health

If you have been experiencing any of these above-mentioned symptoms for a longer period of time – more than a month, it is a certain sign you should start dealing with it. Although in the majority of cases, talking to your closest family or friends can be enough to overcome these negative feelings, sometimes you may need some additional support.

Trying to deal with the situation yourself by taking sleeping pills or staying isolated in the house is the worst scenario you can choose. Instead of fighting it alone, ensure to find a way for an effective solution that could help you resolve this situation, and enjoy all the benefits of relocating to a big city and starting to meet and make friends in a new place.

Seeing a professional therapist who will lead you through the whole process and help you overcome all the challenges is definitely the best solution. Not only will all your worries be mitigated this way, but the therapist will also provide you with emotional support, helping you change your mindset and observe the relocation from different perspectives. Accepting the changes with joy and hope for better prospects is a big task in itself, so don’t blame yourself for feeling lost and depressed. It’s perfectly normal, and millions of people all around the globe are sharing the same feelings.

Get Active and Get Out of the House!

Being passive won’t fix anything. Instead of staying at home complaining about the situation and how you feel, try to make a change. Start walking through your neighborhood and get familiar with local surroundings, go to the gym and start to exercise, or sign up for yoga classes – don’t forget that physical activity can benefit your mental health, and this fact is scientifically proven.

If you’re just not the sport type, then dedicating yourself to hobbies and activities you have always been into can also help you get through this tough period, and also it can help you make friends in a new state!

woman is sitting and drinking coffee Change perspectives, get active, and take all the advantages of starting all over again

Want to Avoid the Stress? Hire a Professional Cross-Country Moving Company to Help You Out!

There is a way to get a stress-free move and save yourself from nerve-racking if you hire professional cross-country movers to organize your move and provide you with all needed cross-country moving services. Whether it is a last-minute move or a relocation booked months in advance, whether you need packing services or you want the safest solution for auto shipping, experienced long-distance movers can facilitate the whole relocation process, keeping you away from common relocation mistakes and providing you with impeccable long-distance moving services.

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