In our 21st century world, moving from one city, state or country to another has become something of a norm.
Moving to a new place can be a refreshing change that brings excitement, wonder and a sense of adventure. It’s also equally important to acknowledge the potential for apprehension, loneliness, self-doubt, culture shock and loss of confidence.
Having made several moves in my life, I am especially aware of how settling down in a new place can impact one’s confidence and mental health.
How Moving Can Impact Your Confidence and Mental Health
While everyone has their own unique issues and challenges around moving, there are a few common factors that might impact how you adjust to your new home.
Why Did You Move?
Your adjustment in a new place will largely depend upon the reason for your move. For example, a person moving for education might have similar people surrounding them in their college/university, which might make it easier to adjust to the new setting.
However, if you have moved to a new place for work, depending on your job profile, office environment and contact with people at your workplace, , it may or may not be easy to adjust.
Are There Any Cultural Differences?
Your adjustment can also depend on how the new culture you’re entering compares to the one from which you came. For example, if you moved from a new country where your culture, food and language was different, this can make a huge impact.
This is also due to the fact that such individuals can find it difficult to understand and easily adapt to the social mores of this new culture and may need to work harder to find a way to adjust.
Do You Have a Social Support Network?
Having any kind of social support in a new city can greatly augment one’s adjustment in the new place. Without social support, a person can feel lonely, sad and unmotivated, and can go into depression.
Was the Move Out of Your Control?
One’s motivation to adapt to a new city/place can be affected by whether it was their decision to move or not. Having a say in this move can bring a sense of agency within a person which can be helpful in adapting to a new city life/culture.
However, for people who did not have a say in this decision, it can be debilitating if the new move is unpleasant for them.
Tips on Adjusting to Your New Home
If you are planning to move or have already moved, and might be finding it difficult to adjust to a new place, these are some tips that might be helpful to you:
Do research before moving
Familiarize yourself with the city you are moving to, by reading about it and finding pictures online. This will help you in having a sense of control when you do move to a new place.
Connect with your known network
Ask your friends, family, work friends and relatives if they might know someone in the place you are moving. This can help you in finding some sense of support and might make you feel more anchored.
Find a community for social support
This can be the first step in building your social support. If you do not know anyone in this new city, find a community that makes you feel ‘at-home’. It could be a religious group, a dance class, a book club, ethnic centers or a gym.
When you find people who find comfort in similar things as you, you are more likely to meet people with whom you could connect socially.
Prepare everyone for the move
If you are moving with a family or spouse, it is important to prepare them for the move as well. Help them in finding a community in which they feel comforted. Help them plan how they can enjoy the new city.
Let your children be a part of the decision-making process, around the school they might want to go, or workplaces they might be interested in, etc.
Seek additional support, if needed
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to settle into a new place, it can be a difficult feat. At such a time, seeking support from a therapist can be helpful in finding unique ways to help yourself in adjusting to a new city, regain confidence and find happiness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kratika Choudhary is a PCCI at Well Clinic, specializing in child therapy, couples counseling, mood disorders, trauma and helping people with life transitions.
This post was inspired by her recent move to the San Francisco Bay Area.