Relocation Depression Is Real And Can Be Worse During The Holidays

Portrait of lonely woman outdoors in front of glowing Christmas tree in night. Christmas and New Year

The furniture is in place, the boxes are all unpacked, and it’s time to celebrate your new home! Everything went perfectly with your big move and the relocation company was great; so what’s the problem? If you’re feeling a little out of place and isolated after moving to a new home, you’re not alone. This is a common problem many people face once the hustle and bustle of moving day is over. In fact, it even has a term: relocation depression. If you’ve recently moved, maybe even to the home of your dreams, but still feeling a little down in the dumps this holiday season, here are some ways to make your spirit bright again.

Missing Friends and Home

Most people dislike change. Human brains are simply wired for consistency. The abrupt change in familiar routines that, of course, is a normal part of moving, is a key contributing factor to relocation depression. In fact, for many people, it’s the only factor.

Replace Missing People with Meeting People

group of new friends in cafe looking at phone and laughing

Long distance moves are the hardest, as we often leave friends and family behind. Especially during the holidays, that can leave you feeling left out and lonely. Even if you’re happy about the new opportunities you’ve unlocked for yourself, it’s perfectly natural to feel a little uneasy with all the huge differences between this home and your last one. You may even feel nostalgic for a home you left just a few days ago.

Don’t let this one get you down. When you’re thinking of your friends back at the old place, contact them with a call, text or on social media. They probably miss you too and will want to hear about your new life. Don’t wait for them to call you first. If you’re struggling with your adjustment, it’s a good idea to let at least one or two people know. They can provide moral support for your transition, even if you’re miles away from home.

Make time for old friends, but also for new ones. Knock on a neighbor’s door just to introduce yourself, or invite a coworker out to lunch or for a holiday drink after work. Find a food kitchen or other charity where you can spend a few hours as a volunteer. Keeping engaged with people will help keep you from feeling alone.

Add a Touch of the Familiar to your New Digs

Strange environments, even your own place, can feel alien and even scary at times. You may wake up at night and not realize where you are or be startled by noises you don’t recognize. The answer to that is to surround yourself with familiar things. It may be tempting to buy all new furniture and decor to match your new home, but throwing out all your old stuff may be a bad idea. If you’re feeling a little blue, try setting up your bedroom just like you had it at your old place. If that’s not an option, consider using last year’s holiday decor to make yourself feel at home again. It’s an easy fix for a big problem, and you can always shift things around once you’ve adjusted to your new digs.

Explore Your New Home Town

Young guy buys a slice of pizza in a modern restaurant

In your old city, you had a regular and familiar routine that defined you. Maybe you went to the gym each morning, had drinks with friends on Friday night, belonged to an amateur theater group or attended a book club once a month. Part of your loneliness may stem from a lack of activities to help you feel “normal” in your new home. Once you’ve unpacked, it’s time to explore your new town and find new ways to feel comfortable again. Make appointments to visit a couple of gyms, if that’s your thing. You’ll soon find one that fits your style and feel back to normal. Join a theater group or a book club, discover your favorite coffee shop and pizza place. Take action on one favorite activity at a time, then pretty soon, you’ll have a full life again, and you’ll be wondering what you ever missed about the old one.

Create New Memories

Young businessman giving his colleague Christmas present in office

The holidays can be especially difficult for a big move, mostly because the holiday season is usually full of fond memories of years past. But take heart: Now is a great time to start making new memories that may be even better than your old ones. Go local right away. Join community pages on social media like Facebook and ask the locals for good recommendations for holiday activities. Ask friends if you can tag along when they visit the local homes with the best holiday lights, or accompany them to the best  local performance of the Nutcracker. People are generally happy to show off their town’s best holiday features to newbies. And there’s no time like the present for creating memories.

Give Yourself Time to Adjust after the Move

Finally, try to remind yourself that it may take a bit of time to feel completely at home after a big move, especially around the holidays. Put up your holiday decorations, even if they’re terrible , pop some popcorn, relax, read, watch a movie, just chill. Despite our preference for routines, humans are very adaptable (otherwise we’d still be living in caves, right?), so before you know it, your home will start to feel right. By this time next year, you may be surrounded by new friends, connecting with old ones, and enjoying all the fun the holiday season has to offer.

The Benefits Of A Holiday Move

Inflatable outdoor holiday snowman and reindeer

If you’re worried about moving over the holidays, and it is an option to put your move off for a few weeks, you might consider waiting till the New Year. However, before you make a final decision, remember that a holiday move offers lots of benefits, as well. For example, movers often charge less during the holidays. You can take advantage of holiday time off to get settled in at the new place. And all those boxes do come in handy for gifts! Whatever you decide, remember that the holiday blues won’t last forever, and you’ll soon be comfortable and enjoying your new home.