Today I would like to talk about Relocation Anxiety. I love to travel but relocating due to work or family commitments was enormous task for me. Each time I would withdraw and hide my emotions, feelings and thoughts as felt no-one wants to hear my fears. If you regularly experience anxiety, then moving can be especially challenging. Thankfully, there are ways to ease the burden of relocation anxiety so that you can have a successful and enjoyable moving experience.
Anxiety about relocating is not an uncommon thing. It happens because of too much stress and reconsiderations about the relocation. The unknowns and uncertainties only increase the anxiety. It might be overwhelming to leave your close family and friends behind, not being able in near future to visit them. You might overthink about unknown. I would like to reassure you that there are ways to tackle relocation anxiety by creating support system and good relaxation techniques.
Relocation Anxiety Symptoms
If you need help with your anxiety, you need to learn how to recognise it first. Many people suffering from this type of disorder manifest:
- Illogical worries
- Lack of concentration
- Breathing problems
You might think about relocation due to job commitments, changing houses or you are in the process of trying to find a job before relocating, and you find yourself with these symptoms, try to take a deep breath. Try to find somebody to help you with moving tasks. Don’t be afraid to talk about your Anxiety and Fears. If the symptoms endure, you should seek professional help like talking therapy, counselling.
Fear of the Unknown Increases Anxiety
Don’t think you are the first person to suffer from relocation anxieties. Sometime ago I found myself anxious and stressed relocating several times between different countries. The fear of relocating to a new country or home stems from the unknown. You have no clue how your life is going to look like, you don’t know how to reduce costs when moving, how to find same minded people (feeling accepted) etc. There are many unexplored things. You probably thinking about favourite organic food shop, cycling paths, hair salon, packing, eating out etc.
The next chapter of your life will be filled with excitements and challenges. Just thinking about them causes you to worry and question your own decisions about relocating over and over again. Have in mind that this is the main reason you feel anxious and scared of change.
Moving for a loved one, you are probably wondering how to get a job before you move, will my qualifications valid in new country, how can I continue my career growth, those are all essential relocation question that can trigger anxious thoughts in no time.
If you are going to overcome anxiety, try to stay positive and focus on the reasons you decided to move. Concentrate on the opportunities the new home is offering you and the good things waiting for you. I invite you to research and maybe join facebook communities at the area you are moving.
Leaving the Old Home and City Behind
I remember my stomach turning on the plane, overthinking the unknown, feeling small and scared. I already missed my house, my sanctuary, where I felt comfortable and secure. That’s why leaving a place you call home can seem scary at first, especially if you decided to relocate.
The unfamiliar location calls for a period of adjustment, especially if you’re relocating abroad for the first time. You have to adapt to new layout of rooms, furniture, smells, or even a completely new culture if you’re moving to a different country. This type of change might lead to anxiety and unspoken loss, grief. To avoid the feeling of sadness and nostalgia, try to make your new place feel like yours. Try to arrange it the way you like it, use colors and artificial lights to create a relaxing environment. Turn the strange, unfamiliar place into your cozy home.
New streets, coffee shops, people. It’s a lot to take in. Try to avoid anxiety by waking the time to get to explore your city and make new friends. Take long walks around the hood. Get to know your neighbors. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the uncertainty of a fresh beginning.
Thoughts about money such as finding the cheapest way to move, or worries about the general safety of your future neighbourhood.
Learn the Language Basics Before Moving
Obviously, it is better to learn the language before moving abroad, it will save you from additional moving stress. But if you are totally unfamiliar with it, you do not have to be fluent, the basics will do for a start. Even though I spoke the language I didn’t manage to escape relocation anxiety. You can start with polite phrases, such as “hello,” “please,” “thank you” and move on to the ones that will make your life easier and make your first day of relocation better. Research the area for native speakers, find language courses. Once you are surrounded by native speakers, you will get to the fluent level in no time.
Adjusting to a New Country and Its Culture
No matter if you are moving for a relationship or in pursuit of employment and education, understanding the cultural behavior standards is essential if you want to adjust to your new life, so make sure you learn about the norms and restrictions before you make the trip. Manners are also important, as they may vary significantly from the ones you learned at home. Stay open minded by embracing new experiences.
Meeting people is easier if you volunteer in local communities. You will get to know the issues that matter and maybe assist in resolving them. If you volunteer to teach your native language, you will learn the local language at the same time. There is a variety of ads online and everyone has something to offer. This way you can make friends and learn about all the possibilities of the place you are living in, like sports clubs or cultural associations you can join.
Coping with Relocation anxiety and stress
Prepare to feel uncomfortable
Times of transition bring feelings of uncertainty, confusion and distress. Instead of pushing these feelings aside, acknowledge them and express them in writing (address it to self or Universe) or in another creative way (draw, paint, knit, etc) because it can help to manage them better. Talking to professional about your feelings can also be helpful.
Acceptance of new reality
It is important to acknowledge what is left behind and let go of the known ways before you embrace new realities. Validate that changes are an inevitable part of life. Individuals who perceive changes as negative and something to be avoided tend to make them problematic. If you find the changes and relocation difficult please don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
Transitions are challenges, not threats
Changes, apart from being challenging, also provide new opportunities to learn and grow. Therefore, focusing on positive aspects can help develop a positive attitude to manage transitions. Noticing how efficiently you managed changes in the past provides you with opportunities to be reflexive of your values, beliefs, goals – and furthermore, you can become self-aware of your weaknesses, strengths and overcome your fears.
Take it easy
When your life is uprooted, be patient and take time to adjust to the new situation. While you let go of your past and try to get used to the new reality, feelings of unease are normal. Therefore, it is important to be kind to yourself and have realistic expectations.
Have realistic goals
While experiencing the feelings of fear and anxiety during transitions, try to have attainable goals. It is wise to manage your goals and allow yourself to gain a sense of achievement instead of taking too much on and feeling like a failure. Slow and steady progress can help you gain confidence and control over new situations.
Avoid drugs or drinking
Drugs or drinking are depressants, can make the procedure of transitions harder and more confusing. Try to stay sober and address your challenges with a clear mind is the best option.
Transition, even positive and planned one can be stressful. Consequently, taking good care of yourself during those times such as eating well-balanced food, getting some exercise and getting good sleep is very important. Keep some daily routines consistent as that will help to cope with other things changing around you. Try to keep have some activities which can help you feel happy and relaxed.
Staying connected with people, even on the telephone or online, can be helpful, rather than facing changes on your own. Especially talking to people with shared experiences can strengthen emotions and give motivation along with practical advice to tackle your issues.
I am a qualified and M.B.A.C.P. counsellor helping diverse clients to regroup and find meaningful life.