Relocating to another part of the world can be a once in a lifetime opportunity and the chance to go on a fantastic adventure.
However, moving is an extremely stressful thing to do; your routine is disrupted, and you must pack up your life to move to an unknown future. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious or sad at first – especially on arrival when you don’t know anybody – however if you find these negative feelings pervasive it could be that you are experiencing what is known as ‘Relocation Depression’.
How do I know if I have Relocation Depression?
If you are unpacked and settled in and yet still experiencing the following symptoms, it’s possible you are suffering from Relocation Depression:
- Tiredness and Excessive Sleep – Sleeping more than you usually would and waking up feeling lethargic and unrested.
- Agoraphobic Tendencies – Not wanting to leave the comfort of your new home and declining opportunities to go out.
- Not Socialising – Avoiding social interaction, preferring to spend your days in solitude.
- Not Experiencing Joy – A lack of interest in things you used to enjoy and perhaps an excessive amount of time watching tv/looking at social media.
How do you combat Relocation Depression?
Although you may currently be stuck in a funk and unsure how to make the most of your relocation experience, consider these steps to help you get on the right track for your adventure:
Leave the house and explore – learn to love your new city; find spots that help you relax, learn where the locals hang out, go shopping and visit important landmarks. Learn where essential buildings are (hospitals, supermarkets, train stations, police stations etc.) and keep exploring until you feel at ease and familiar in your new location.
Decorate your home – you may feel like your new house is a stranger to you, therefore creating a space that you can thrive in can really elevate your mood. Spend some time deciding what décor you would like, buy pictures that make you happy and add plants to liven up empty spaces. Find ways to make it feel more like a home.
Socialise – this may feel like a daunting task at first, however securing a social group and finding people to share experiences with will enhance your quality of life. Go out for dinner with your work colleagues, get to know your neighbours and join clubs you’re passionate about and socialise whilst you are there. It’s also important to stay in touch with friends and family from home so it could be helpful to organise a specific time each week to Skype/video call.
Be health conscious – in times of stress it can be tempting to try and self-comfort by reaching for an extra bag of crisps, glass of wine and ensconcing ourselves on the sofa watching trash telly… But if we want to brighten our mood it might be time to throw on the running shoes and go for a jog. Whether your passionate about pilates or terrific at tennis, schedule in some time to exercise and release those happy endorphins. Preparing and eating fresh meals is also recommended; not only does cooking give your mind something to focus on, your body will be thriving on the nutrients provided by those healthy meals.
Have fun – remember to dedicate time to previous hobbies passions from your home country and continue to build on those interests in your new location. It’s also worth trying out exciting new things you’ve never done before. You never know you might find your next big passion!
Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself – settling into your new life takes time, it’s a big commitment and fantastic achievement! You’ve got this! Now go out and get exploring!
Written by Sofie Finemore – Associate Consultant – Global Mobility & Expatriate Services at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions