Relocation depression is a natural phenomenon, and you should never be ashamed of feeling it. Moving can be a very stressful and emotional time. You may have to say goodbye to family and friends or pull up roots to move to an unfamiliar neighborhood. You’ll have to adjust to a different language, culture, or lifestyle. It’s natural to feel sad or nostalgic after a move. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your feelings, however. If you think you might be depressed, you should seek professional help. You don’t have to cope with relocation depression on your own. Here’s what you should know about the depression might be feeling right now, and how to cope with it.
Signs You Have Depression
Many people confuse depression with generalized sadness about a situation. However, sadness makes up one factor of overall depression. Some people who experience depression don’t even feel sad. Instead, they experience other symptoms, like a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, difficulty concentrating, and constant distraction.
Be on the lookout for the following scenarios:
You Can’t Pull Yourself Out of Bed
After a strenuous move, you’ll understandably want a few days to recover and let your sore muscles heal.
If you wake up tired every day or require 12 hours of sleep or more, however, consider your tiredness a symptom of depression.
You Binge on Netflix
The occasional Netflix binge is a fun way for you and your family to bond. Together, you can catch up on the latest series that you may have missed while you were moving.
If you watch Netflix alone for hours simply because nothing else interests you, however, you could have depression.
You Can’t Leave Facebook Alone
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites will let you maintain long-distance relationships long after you move.
If you feel the urge to check social media constantly, however, take that urge as an indication of depression. Studies show that individuals who participate in “surveillance usage” and compare their lives to others often suffer from depression.
Ways to Cope with Relocation Depression
If you struggle with depression after you move, you can take steps to feel more comfortable, relaxed, and happy. Try some of the following methods to see if they work for you:
Create a Familiar Environment
If your home feels strange or unfamiliar to you, unpack a few of your treasured belongings and put them in a place you’ll see on a regular basis.
For example, hang that favorite photo of you and your best friend at the beach near your bathroom mirror. Or cuddle up with an old throw pillow, even if it doesn’t match your new décor. You’ll remind yourself that not everything has changed with your new location.
Try New, Active Hobbies
Depression can make your old hobbies seem uninteresting, frustrating, or even painful. But that doesn’t mean you should stop your creative thinking entirely. Explore new hobbies that will keep you moving and active.
For example, you could join a yoga group at the gym or sign up for a photography class at your community center.
Make New Friends
First impressions and introductions feel awkward at first, but try to get to know your new neighbors and make friends with the regulars you see at your grocery store or laundromat. A familiar face in an unfamiliar place can seem like a welcome balm during a depressing time.
And remember, you don’t have to give up your previous relationships either. Don’t be afraid to call your best friend, even if he or she lives miles away.
While the above coping methods work well for some people, they don’t present a cure-all for everyone. If you struggle with depression or can’t seem to shake feelings of emptiness, talk to a medical professional about your situation.