It’s normal to think of post-traumatic stress as the justifiable stress that occurs in the wake of a traumatic event. What is not so often thought of is that post-event stress can occur with events that are emotion-laden, even if not specifically traumatic. Take moving to a new home. Even if the move has been anticipated as a positive, it often involves leaving behind happy memories, a place that is associated with life events that have meaning and weight in your lifetime development. So, it is not so strange that at times people develop a version of post-move stress.
After the emotional exhilaration and the physical exertion that serve to block out much of the nostalgic toll that can happen later, there is often a thump as the pain of what is left behind sets in. In fact, much as can occur with a person, relocation depression is a sort of separation anxiety. Losing your former comfort zone, realizing it may not be so easy to keep contact with those left behind, even the sense of starting all over, possibly without support, these are all terribly fraught events that can freak anyone out. When this anxiety sets in you may find yourself apathetic, uninterested in eating, going out, making new friends, doing new things, even unusually tired. It can take time to overcome these feelings, but there are useful adaptive strategies. Consider getting a furry friend while you seek out new humans and new activities. Keep the lines of communication open with your old friends. Do those hobbies which you have always loved in your new place. Start exploring your new domain and be patient with yourself.
- Keep in touch with your old friends, which is easier now that you can connect with them online.
- Be friendly with your new neighbors and co-workers and seek out opportunities to meet new people.
- Explore your new neighborhood and then expand this to your entire town so that it will feel more familiar to you.
“It’s important to note that getting down with post-relocation depression may prove to have a detrimental effect on your overall health.”