When you think about trauma leading to depression, you usually associate it with a major event such as getting in a car accident, being emotionally or physically abused, or witnessing some kind of violence. While that is all certainly true, many people don’t realize that transitional trauma can also cause depression. It’s also called transfer trauma or relocation stress syndrome, according to Better Help.
Moving to a new home can be an exciting prospect but scary as well. And what once seemed like an adventure at first can quickly become overwhelming, leaving you feeling exhausted, uncertain, fearful, doubtful, and stressed. These feelings can all build up and result in relocation depression, manifesting itself both physically and mentally.
Here are some tips to help you deal with relocation depression.
Get Out and Explore
Even small changes are tough to deal with. Moving isn’t small in any way, but people around you may discount your fears. Take the time you need to process the change, and realize your feelings are totally normal. On top of the actual move, you may also come across stress and anxiety brought on by encountering a new place and new people.
Planning ahead of time will help you alleviate anxiety and stress. You can also practice self-care, through getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, exercising every day and keeping up with a routine. Make choices that boost your well-being and happiness in the new city by:
- Getting outside and exploring your new community. Resist the urge to stay inside your home all the time. Unpacking can wait.
- Meet new people and try new things to create a sense of belonging in your new home town.
- Do what makes you happy. If you used to go running every morning, do that in the new place, for example. Bring bits of your old life to your new one through routine.
- Stay in touch with friends and family from your old town so you can maintain a connection.
Organize and Plan Your Move Ahead of Time
Disorganized moves lead to stress, so the best thing you can do is to stay organized and stick to a schedule. Plan for every eventuality as early in the process as possible. You can:
- Pack and label boxes well in advance of Moving Day.
- Research your new home and community; visit if you can.
- Keep a daily to-do list and check off items as you complete them.
- Create a moving schedule.
Recreate Comfort Pieces in Your New Place
A lot of the stress and anxiety you may feel when moving to a new place is the feeling of isolation. To give yourself comfort, incorporate familiar pieces from your old home into your new one. Perhaps there is a room or area of your new home where you would consider recreating it in many ways from the original. Maybe use the same furniture, books, lighting, posters or photographs arranged in the same pattern.
Whatever the case, the point is to bring the old into the new, which acts as a source of comfort for even the most home sick homeowners. Everyone finds solace in a familiar environment, even if it’s just one little corner of a room. It will spur warm memories and help you bridge the past to the future.
Get Lots of Rest and Exercise
There’s really nothing like a good night’s sleep to put things in perspective and realize things aren’t so bad. If you’re stressed, though, you may not be sleeping, and vice versa. This vicious cycle continues until you reach your breaking point. Don’t let that happen. Lack of sleep is associated with increased stress, depression and irritability, so give your body what it needs: rest, sleep and relaxation. Take a warm bubble bath before bed, turn the lights low, read a good book, and try some calming music.
On the flip side, you also need to make sure you’re getting enough exercise and activity during the day. Create a healthy, consistent exercise routine for yourself and family. It’s no secret that even moderate exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which are hormones linked to happiness and a reduction in anxiety. Bonus: you’ll feel more energized during the day, which can keep depression at bay and help you sleep more soundly at night.
Connect With Others
Loneliness and isolation are very real, even more so as a result of the pandemic. As we emerge from the shut downs and stay at home orders, it’s important to take extra steps to pull ourselves out of that isolation and make concerted efforts to connect with others. Schedule lunches with friends, take a walk with a buddy, volunteer for a charitable organization in your new community, sign up for a yoga class, volunteer in your kid’s classroom once a week, join a book club…whatever it is, get out there and make valuable connections.
Create a Workable Routine
As creatures of habit, we feel happier, more secure, and more in control of our surroundings when we stick to a routine. Following a predictable pattern gives us structure that we can rely on as a good foundation. Come up with a realistic routine for yourself and your family right after the move and stick to it as much as possible. Wake up at the same time every morning, have dinner at 6 with the whole family seated at the table, run errands on Wednesdays…whatever it is, take comfort in the security of a well-established routine.
Of course, depression is a very real thing, so if your feelings of sadness are extending well beyond the initial move, seek help from a counselor or therapist, or join a support group.
Contact Olde World Movers
One big way you can combat some of the stress that comes with a relocation is to hire professional movers you can trust. To get a free quote on your upcoming move, contact us today.