By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Real talk here. Moving to a new home
is stressful under the best circumstances. You're leaving your home--where you've made a life for yourself and your family--and starting anew in a strange place. Sure, the move itself is exciting--an adrenaline rush that goes on for weeks or months while you find a new house, pack up the old one, and get settled with the family into their new routines.
But after the boxes are unpacked and you've figured out the best route to the dry cleaners, the new reality sets in--you're in a new place, and your friends and social life are back in your old place--the place you still think of as "home". And everything seems off kilter--there's a feeling of being out of place, and you're not sure if it's a physical or mental place, it's just not right. It's not home.
These symptoms can be more than the post-move blues. It's possible that you've got something called "relocation depression". Relocation depression is a real thing--the onset is after all the hubbub of the move dissipates--and needs to be taken seriously and treated if you can't shake it on your own.
Symptoms to Watch For
These are some of the symptoms to watch out for, the presence of several of these in a couple of week span means it's time to get some professional help.
You Can't Get Out of Bed
And when you do, you're lethargic and really don't have the energy to get through your day. Insomnia is another symptom of depression; you're tired all the time, but you can't sleep. Or you can sleep--twelve hours at a stretch and you're still tired.
Lack of Interest in Anything
In your old house or town, you had your routine and your stuff--work, friends, hobbies--that filled your days. Now, you've got work, but your friends didn't come with you and it's hard to get excited about your hobbies if, like a third-grader, you don't have anybody to play with. Adults needs friends too, so don't feel bad or guilty that you're a little lonely.
If you just can't get interested in anything--hobbies, work, making new friends, getting together with family--chances are it's a symptom of depression. Along with the blahs comes the inability to concentrate--if something could catch your attention, it wouldn't last but a minute or two and you'd zone out.
Reluctance to Leave the House
The new house is your safe haven, and you just don't want to leave it. After all, you've got TV shows for binging, and social media to check. Social media is a double-edged sword in that it lets you keep up with friends, but it can also aid and abet in your staying in and not making new friends.
How to Combat Relocation Depression
There are some things you can do to lift the fog, so try these and see if you feel better.
Get Some Exercise--Active people feel better, so get out and just walk two or three times a day. If you have a dog this is a built-in excuse to get out. Build on that outside time every day.
Cut Back or Eliminate Alcohol—This is a depressant, so it's best to avoid it until you're feeling better.
Connect with People--Take a class or join a newcomers group. Volunteer--extra hands and skills are always welcome. Just one or two new acquaintances makes a huge difference.
Try Something New--Go to museums, coffee shops, theater, restaurants--explore your new town and get to know it. Staying busy is like exercise--it keeps the adrenaline moving along and you'll have more energy.
If these home remedies don't help, find a counselor. Relocation depression is no joke, and left untreated, will spiral into something worse. You know yourself better than anyone, and if things aren't quite right, pay attention to your body and mind. Moving is one of life's most stressful events, but it does not have to be a cause for sadness or depression.
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