The Implication of Relocation on Mental Health and How to Deal
Relocation comes with mixed feelings in most cases. When relocating to another place, you get to breathe new air, have a fresh start, and even make quality friends. Other times, relocations make you overwhelmed and sad, cause you to lose friendships and other relationships, and sometimes cause mental-related issues.
Moving can be very exciting at first, but when you think of the friends you will lose, your job, packing, or even the change in food, you can become very stressed mentally. Not everyone finds relocation fun, and people react to relocating differently.
To be honest, relocation can lead to change disorder. Adjustment disorder occurs when there is difficulty preparing the mind for moving and also difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Most adjustment disorders are associated with depression. So if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, etc. while planning to move, it might lead to relocation depression. Feeling sad, tired, irritated, worried, etc. while relocating are signs that you might be experiencing depression.
It is normal to feel stressed when moving to another place, changing your job to another city, or moving to another place because of marriage. Whatever the reason for relocation, it is pertinent to know that you are not alone.
During my university days, my school was located in another state. Travelling home from school was very good and interesting. But when travelling from home to school, I get anxious and sometimes feel like vomiting. I could even fall sick on my way to school. And I was not fully relocating. It was uncomfortable planning my school trip.
It is because I am very comfortable at home and my body is already used to the activities at home that travelling to another state felt like a chore, even though it was for studies.
But with time, I learned how to prepare mentally for the journey. Mental preparation starts three weeks before my trip. I also plan everything I will need. This system helped me relax and be more comfortable about the activities I would engage in when I got to school.
Challenges Faced When Relocating That Can Cause Mental Issues
There are challenges people face that affect their mental health while relocating. The issue is that we avoid talking about it. Sometimes parents can be excited to relocate to another place, but the children are not that excited.
Here is a list of challenges that people face during relocation that affect their mental health that no one is talking about:
Losing Connection: when relocating, you will lose connections with people who have come to be your friends, neighbours, schoolmates, lovers, etc. It is only true friendship that doesn’t break, but it can also be affected. Losing social connections is quite sad, and building new ones is not that easy during relocation.
Loneliness: apart from losing connection, you will miss their chit-chat, your quarrels, teaming up, etc. Loneliness begins to set in after relocation. You will miss your extended or immediate family too.
Change In Routine: Relocating comes with a change in daily routine. If you woke up early to go for a morning jog before, the place you relocated to might not have a sidewalk to jog on. So, you may want to do your exercises at home. That is a big change in routine.
Fear of the Unknown: Moving to a new place brings the challenge of fear. The fear is of the unknown. You do not know how people will treat you, what if you cannot cope? What if I don't like the cuisine there? What if there are no good-quality friends? I heard that there is no good road network in that area. The fear keeps growing.
Financial Issues: Relocating comes with financial stress. The cost of moving cannot be overemphasized. You will need to buy new things to set up the place you are going to, or there will be a very high cost for moving your things from one location to another. What about transportation, especially if you had a car at your former location?
These are some of the challenges that people face while moving, and this affects their mental health. Other common challenges include losing support from service providers and coping with the physical ailment in a new environment.
Mental Health Conditions That Stem from Relocation
Apart from the challenges faced by people who have decided to relocate for one reason or another, there are also mental health conditions attached to relocation. But before listing the mental conditions that stem from relocation, let us look at some symptoms:
Overthinking about the surrounding
Lack of sleep
Lack of appetite
Do not want to socialize
Cannot focus or concentrate
Here are some of the mental health conditions from relocation
Stress: stress comes from planning the relocation, overthinking about what will happen when you get there, moving things from one location to the other, stress from travelling, stress from trying to pay bills in your new place, etc.
Anxiety: you are anxious about the friends you might make, fearful of the unknown, anxious about settling in, anxious about workplace experiences, anxious about neighbours’ behaviour towards you, anxious if you are making the right decisions regarding relocating, etc.
Depression: feeling sad about leaving your former place, feeling overwhelmed about your new place, finding it difficult to adjust to the new environment, not comfortable with the change in routine, feeling isolated from your surroundings, etc.
How To Manage These Mental Health Conditions
There are several ways to manage mental health conditions that come with relocation. Let us look at some of the ways to manage the stress, anxiety, and depression that come with relocation. They include:
Therapy: If you are overwhelmed by relocating, it is better to talk with a mental health counselor about it. This will help shape your mind and prepare you for your relocation.
Medicine Treatment: if you are diagnosed with depression, then the mental health practitioner will place you on anti-depressant drugs to help you adjust to your environment.
Other ways to help you develop a coping mechanism that will help you adjust to your new environment and reduce mental challenges include:
Get to know your environment, Google the place you are going, and ask questions. At least you know what to expect.
Try to do enough exercise to help you physically.
Get enough rest, when you get to your new place.
Try getting a new hobby, this will keep you engaged and reduce boredom and loneliness.
Make your place comfortable, so you feel at home.
In conclusion, relocation comes with stress, anxiety, depression, and some physical challenges. This is a common occurrence. All you need to do is make sure you are calm and try to do everything possible to make your relocation peaceful.