Moving Anxiety & 4 Feelings Everyone Faces When Moving

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Moving to a new place is about more than just transferring your property from one place to the next; it’s about moving your entire life and, in many cases, it’s to have a fresh start. Moving out anxiety is a real thing; trust us.

There’s often a new job or opportunity involved, and the further the move is in terms of distance, the more disruptive than it seems.

To say that moving house can be an emotional experience is an understatement, but what surprises many people is the range of emotions that they actually feel especially if they plan to do renovations and they haven’t budgeted for this. It goes far further than simple joy and excitement about the new possibilities, tinged with a sadness for what’s left behind. There’s a whole host of other emotions involved, including:

You Feel Fatigue

Immediately after completing a move, many people find it difficult to sleep. The bed might be the same, but the unfamiliar location means that the body retains certain alertness and state of readiness. There’s no way to fight this, other than to allow the body to become familiar with the new location over time, so the first couple of days following a move can leave people deeply affected by fatigue and the heightened emotions that can bring.

One way to deal with this effect is to also take some naps during the day if you can. Some people struggle to nap, but those that can catch up with some quick shuteye can find themselves settling into the new digs that much faster.

You Feel Alienation

It takes around 21 days to form a new habit. What this means is that for the first month or so after making a move, the environment is that unfamiliar that you can feel a range of different negative emotions – distress, loneliness, fear – and these all stem from the simple reality that you haven’t got routines set down yet. You don’t know which coffee shop you like for your Sunday brunch. The supermarket layout is different and confusing. The familiar faces that you’re used to seeing on the train carriage for the morning commute are different.

All you can really do to deal with these emotions is to form new habits as quickly as you can. Take a specific route to the supermarket, so that your body gets accustomed to the new surroundings quickly. Join a club so that you can start seeing familiar faces around your new location.

Pick a random coffee shop and, for the first two or three weeks, go there each day for a morning coffee. You might decide another coffee shop is better later on, but in the early stages, it’s less about the coffee and more about helping your senses recognize an area and community as familiar.

You Feel Confused

With the newness of everything following a move – from the sensory experience of the house itself to the landscape and soundscape of your new local area – it’s possible to end up feeling quite confused and overwhelmed following a move. That confusion can be deepened after realizing just how much work is involved, especially for first home buyers and people doing their own packing.

The best solution to this is to plan ahead of the move. Have all the boxes properly labeled, and have a calendar plan highlighting how the unpacking will go, and in what order. Get a map of the local area and highlight where the major shops and services are. The less proverbial feeling around in the dark you have to so, the less confusing the overall experience will be.

You Feel Depressed

Relocation depression goes much further than feeling a little blue for the house and lifestyle being left behind. Relocation depression can cause someone to become much moodier and temperamental, have less energy, experience rapid weight gain (or loss), spend excessive time holed up inside watching television and be unwilling to leave the house. 

In extreme cases, this depression needs professional help with a counselor. For more mild cases of it, there are a couple of things that you can do to help you recover more quickly:

  1. Get plenty of exercise daily – exercise is a proven remedy that helps combat depression. Even just a brisk, 15-20 minute walk can be instrumental in helping your body to feel good, and in turn helping to settle the mind.
  2. Eat healthier, drink less alcohol and caffeine – the better you eat, the better balanced the chemicals will be in your brain, which will help you to move through the depression.
  3. Make new friends – nothing will help depression fester than feelings of isolation, so it is crucially important that you go out and find interest groups in your local area to join. Whether that’s a sporting club, a book club, a local charity or community group, or even the gym – anything that helps you need with like-minded people can help acclimatize you to your new home, and wash away those feelings of depression.

If the move feels too overwhelming, of course, you should seek specialist help. Just know that feeling emotional is normal with any major change in life, and making a big move is certainly one of those major changes in life.