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Most people will experience a move at least once in their life. You might leave your hometown to go to college, start a new job or raise your kids closer to other family members. Even if you know you’re doing the right thing, you may still feel burdened with sadness and isolation after unpacking your last box.
You don’t have to feel this way forever. Here are some ways to can get back to enjoying life wherever you live.
No matter why you move, depression often follows. As you pack up your home, you’re ending a chapter of your life you may have spent years forming. There are so many ways you’ll say goodbye to your hometown and your community. You’ll experience the last time you visit your favorite restaurant, drive over to a friend’s house or celebrate the holidays in your home.
It’s difficult to process the end to so many things all at once. The stress and heartbreak begin to build as you push off the emotions to focus on packing and coordinating your move. It’s normal to hold off on facing the worry or fear until it’s finally over, but you don’t have to carry the weight of your depression alone.
Your feelings may stem from the fear of being alone in an unknown city. There’s nothing familiar yet to ground you, like happy memories. The best thing to do is connect with your community and make new friends in your town.
Research volunteer groups so you can meet people while you give back or do something you’re passionate about. Shared interests can be the foundation of healthy friendships and double as an easy icebreaker. Look up online groups or ads calling for new volunteers at soup kitchens, pet shelters and other efforts to invest your time and energy into.
You can also join groups that celebrate your hobbies. Join a book club, knitting circle or community sports team. Doing what you love will immediately make you feel happier and put you in an environment where you’ll form new bonds with people who feel the same way.
There’s also a significant amount of stress that comes with moving. You’re taking a gamble on where you’ll find job opportunities and create a new future. The strain can trigger depression symptoms and lead to health issues like high blood pressure and sleeplessness.
Reflect on your day or journal about your experiences. As you look back, you’ll connect the dots and discover when you get stressed out and what caused it. It might be when it’s time to pay bills or when you have nothing to do at night to distract yourself. After you identify your stressors, you can find ways to beat them.
If you followed a spouse as they changed jobs or relocated for your career, you could have lingering resentment about your move. Sometimes it isn’t up to you to make that decision, which fosters bitterness and anger.
The first step to dealing with your depression could be releasing the resentment that fuels the negative mindset. Identify when you feel the anger building and express it in healthy ways, like working out or talking through things with your partner. Instead of holding onto the resentment, you’ll slowly learn to let it go so it doesn’t live in your heart and mind forever.
After you find the outlets that ease the anger and isolation, work on becoming optimistic so you always have a positive frame of mind to battle the negative thoughts. As you focus on your move’s benefits and how it will help your future, you’ll experience many health benefits that come with optimism.
The most important thing to keep in mind as you deal with depression after moving is that it will take time to love where you live. Don’t expect to feel like yourself after a day or two of self-care and positive intentions. You’ll need more time to make new friends, form happy memories and learn how your mind works to effectively fight your depression.
You could also benefit from seeking professional help in-person or online to get more mental health resources. Everyone deals with moving in different ways, so be patient with yourself. Eventually, you’ll find your way through your depression and finally feel settled in your new home.