Moving to a new city alone stirs up all sorts of emotions. If you’re moving to a city where you’ve dreamed of living since childhood, you may feel excited about the fresh start. However, if you’re moving because of a job or a military relocation, you may feel anxious about the change in living and work situations.
“A big move forces you to break out of your comfort zone,” says psychotherapist Edy Nathan, MA, LCSW, author of “It’s Grief: The Dance of Self Discovery Through Trauma and Loss.” “Who am I? What’s my place? How will I fit in? Those are questions we ask ourselves. You may have to face demons you didn’t know you needed to face. Engage with them and learn from them.”
Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert — a social butterfly or the quiet observer — here’s how to move to a new city without succumbing to the blues.
Maintain a Sense of Adventure
When you’re sitting in your new living room surrounded by boxes, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. “Many people experience a postpartum move depression,” says Nathan. “They feel a sense of ‘what did I just do?’ We also experience emotions similar to the phases of grief: shock, disbelief, denial, acceptance.”
Be patient with yourself as you move through the initial change. Soon, you will feel ready to explore. Embrace your independence and explore your new environment with a sense of wonder and optimism. Your openness naturally attracts others to you.
Maintain Your Routine
When moving to a new city alone, it’s important to maintain familiar routines. By establishing this sense of stability, you lessen the anxiety of living in an unfamiliar place.
If you’re used to working out before work, look for an apartment with a gym nearby. If you usually buy groceries on Sunday, keep doing that. Search Google Maps for the nearest grocery store, library, coffee shop, and restaurants so you can easily find and frequent your new favorite spots.
When you move to a new city, you usually can’t take your friends with you. It’s natural to feel depressed and lonely in a new city — shake it off by getting out of the house and connecting with others, even if you venture out alone.
Browse Meetup.com for local groups and activities that fit your interests. Whether you’re into singles nights, a dining club, or a foreign language group, you have a good chance of finding multiple groups to join. If the idea of walking into a room full of strangers makes you feel anxious, try a book club, poetry or literature readings, or lectures.
“Volunteering is one of the best ways to meet people and fill up time,” says Nathan. Besides, studies show volunteering helps people feel more socially connected, which keeps loneliness and depression at bay. Visit VolunteerMatch or Create the Good to find opportunities in your area based on causes that are important to you.
Build Your Spiritual Community
If you attended religious services in your old city, don’t let your participation lapse. Not only will you benefit from the spiritual message and the routine, you can meet a special community of people with like-minded beliefs. It may take a few tries to find the right fit, but when you find a close-knit group of people to connect with, your new city will feel much more like home.
Regular exercise is crucial for your physical and emotional health. While you’re getting stronger, more aerobically fit, and keeping spirits high (all benefits of regular exercise), you can meet a fun, active group of people.
Whatever your favorite activity, keep it up in your new city. Play tennis? Love to dance? Take some lessons. Join a gym to participate in yoga, spinning, Zumba, kickboxing, or whatever it is you fancy. If you’re an endurance athlete, join a running or cycling club. Visit Road Runners Club of America to find local run clubs and USA Cycling for local cycling groups.
Moving to a new city seems daunting until you do it. With a positive mindset, you can embrace the change as an adventure and learning experience. “Moving teaches you more about yourself than staying in one place your entire life,” says Nathan. “It challenges you and wakes you up.”
To make the transition easier, turn to CORT Furniture Rental to handle your furniture needs.