Ten tips for happy relocation (across town and around the world)
Relocation is stressful because you change more than your address. You’ll begin to navigate a new way to be a spouse, parent, friend, lover, choir member, PTA officer, and more.
Here are ten tips to a help you tune in to your inner compass when your world is spinning.
1. Ask, “Who am I? What do I need to be happy?”
The secret to a successful move depends on how you answer the question, “Can I still be me?”
To answer this question, write ten “I am” statements about yourself — anything from “I am a mother” to “I am a dog-owner” to “I am friendly and outgoing.”
Before you move, ask yourself, “How will this list change after I move?” You may still be a dog-owner and a dad…but will you create these roles the same way?
2. Take a test drive.
When you buy a car, you don’t just go around the block. You try the freeways and the rough roads.
Considering a move to Seattle or Syracuse? Study the culture as if you were an anthropologist. What do people do? How do they dress? How do they talk to each other?
Most important, how do you feel? Did you develop new allergies, headaches or back pain during your visit? Or did you find yourself wishing you cold stay forever?
3. Pack an emotional first aid kit.
Most hikers pack a first aid kit with sunblock, band-aids, and insect repellent.
For relocation you can pack
Coping phrases to repeat when you feel frazzled:
“Let go and relax.”
“I can deal with this.”
“I face the future with confidence.”
Tapes of meditation and visualization (for unexpected bouts of anxiety)
Favorite photos of friends, family, places and pets (so you remember who you are)
Phone numbers of trusted confidantes (for moments when you really need to hear a familiar voice)
4. Develop ceremonies to honor your new life.
As you unpack boxes or begin a new assignment, play your favorite music and enjoy your favorite foods. Arrange one room -or one corner of the room-to look familiar. Some people create a special ritual of settling in to make the new life their own.
5. Plan for downtime.
For the first few months you’ll probably have gaps in your calendar. Maybe you had a standing dinner date with the neighbors on Wednesdays. You held office in civic organizations and you took classes.
Plan to fill downtime with meaningful projects. I recommend taking on a challenging creativity project. Write a novel. Complete a painting. Join a dance group.
And I would add a physical activity, anything from weight-lifting at the gym to running marathons to walking the dog extra times.
When you nurture yourself, you communicate strength and confidence to others. If you are seen as vulnerable and needy, you will attract negative people and negative experiences.
6. Take your time as you make new commitments.
Most newcomers need two to five years to make lasting friends. During your first six months, avoid joining organizations (let alone running for office). Sign up for short-term options so you can test the waters.
You won’t know the hidden dimensions of joining. Once I eagerly joined a group, only to learn that their meetings were held in out-of-the-way places – and that’s where most members lived! A huge waste of time and dues.
7. Celebrate everyday life. Think small. A walk around the lake. A perfect cup of coffee in a nearby coffee shop. A friendly face at the trade show. Listen for the moments when you say, “I could get used to this…”
No matter what happens, you will find at least one pocket of joy in your new life…usually something wonderful you never anticipated.