Many people face depression after moving, as it is a common side-effect of relocating to a new, often unfamiliar environment. Changing homes is stressful, even under the best circumstances. You are leaving your current life and starting an adventure whose outcome you can’t predict.
How to Deal with Depression After Moving
But after the boxes are unpacked and you still feel like something is out of place, you might suffer from “relocation depression.” It’s a real thing and it needs to be taken and treated seriously if you can't move from it on your own.
Have in mind that you are not alone. Many people have experienced and survived those dark and gloomy feelings. There are ways of recognizing and fighting that overwhelming sadness that comes after your successful move.
Is Relocation Depression a New Thing?
Starting a new life means that you are going to miss your family and friends, your comfort zones, that your routines will change. These changes might cause you to feel blue, homesick. These types of feelings indicate that relocation depression is not a new thing. Many people have been suffering and battling it in the past.
American Psychological Association describes this condition as a mood disorder that causes a deep sadness in its sufferer.
This state of mind doesn't have to be the same for everybody. For some, it is overwhelming unhappiness and nostalgia that you feel when you move. It can be one of the hardest parts of the move because it is directly connected to your mood.
Symptoms of Depression After Moving
Dealing with sadness in the right way can affect its duration, making it last a few days or a few weeks.
There are many indicators of this kind of depression, you just have to be careful not to miss them.
- Lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities - lacking excitement about hobbies caused by the fact that you don't have friends to share your free time with.
- Extreme insomnia or excessive sleeping - you are tired all the time but you can't sleep or you can sleep for over twelve hours straight and still be tired.
- Being lethargic and running low on energy - this can be a side effect of disrupted sleeping patterns
- Having either difficulty or an inability to concentrate - even if something catches your attention you will zone out after a minute or two.
- A shorter fuse - getting angrier quicker in normal daily situations
- An increase in alcohol and drug consumption
- Unwillingness to leave the house - being lethargic and without the energy to get through your day
- No desire to socialize or meet new people - not leaving the house makes it hard to make friends. Here, social media is a double-edged sword that is letting you keep in touch with your friends but also keeping you from making new ones.
What’s the Treatment
Your brain is still stuck in the life you left behind and making you nostalgic. That aversion to change is responsible for the state of melancholy you are in.
There are some steps you can take in battling this condition that will make you start enjoying your life.
- Exercise - Exercising starts a biological cascade of events that results in many health benefits. Start with baby steps, as even a ten-minute walk can make a difference in your daily routine.
- Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine - Alcohol is a depressant, so it's better to avoid it until you feel better. And caffeine is a stimulant, so strong caffeine buzz can lead to an enormous crash.
- Try something new - Staying busy is like exercise, keeps your body and your mind engaged, which leads to more energy and motivation.
Familiarize Yourself With the New Home
Surrounding yourself with items you know, arranging them in a way that brings back memories of the old home is one way of coping with the unfamiliar environment. Arrange your furniture in a way you were used to in your previous home. You can always rearrange when you are completely settled.
Decorate your place, make colors and furniture remind you of the place you miss. At the moment, you are doing it not to impress anybody but to restore inner peace that you are robbed of by moving. Start small - a bright-colored piece of furniture or a houseplant can really change the mood of a living space.
Feel Related to Your Current City
An unexplored and unfamiliar environment can contribute to ungrounded thoughts and fear. By exploring your current neighborhood and the city, you can make those thoughts go away.
Take a walk around your neighborhood, visit some public places such as parks, historic city landmarks, shopping malls. You can even try cycling and thus combine exercise with exploration.
Use recommendations from the internet or property management office about nearby activities or places to eat, shop, visit.
New Friendships Keep Depression Away
One of the main symptoms of sadness is a lack of desire to socialize with people. You should start small, getting to know people from work. Accept or extend an invitation for a cup of coffee or a drink after work. Making friends is kind of like dating, you will not be compatible with all the people you meet, but at least you are trying your best.
If you want to meet your neighbors, consider throwing a dinner party or BBQ get-together. This will help you create happy memories.
Another option to meet people is by associating yourself with the community clubs or maybe even subscribing to some activities like hiking, biking, or cooking classes.
Try to do things you did in your former home. If you were a passionate comic collector, visit a nearby comic book store and check out if there are conventions or maybe clubs you could join. Making friendships in those places is easier since you already have something in common.
Moving Doesn't Mean Forgetting Your Friends
Having somebody to turn to when you feel down and blue is important. A good support system can help you get out of the state you are in. Keeping in touch with friends is something that can help when battling sadness.
We live in a modern age where internet communication is easy and available to many. Phone calls, email, social media, and other online chats are excellent ways to stay in touch. So don't forget to use them and keep old friendships alive. Be open with your friends and tell them how much you have missed them. They will appreciate it and it will put you in a better mood.
Complete Relocation Takes Time
Every major change in life requires time to adjust, and moving is not an exception to that rule. Adapting to current life and getting over a feeling of sadness is different for every person. So, don't be hard on yourself if it takes a little bit longer to get over a negative feeling.
Take every step, set your own pace. The important thing is to get over it, not the time it took you to get there.
Leave the Blues Behind
Battling with relocation sadness can be hard, but it can also turn your fresh beginning into a completely unexpected adventure. Getting to know the streets of the city, talking to neighbors, joining clubs, those are all memories that will bond you to your home.
But if you think that your state of emotional distress after changing addresses lingers longer than you think it should, seek additional professional help. Otherwise, keep on working on making your life as enjoyable as possible.