Depression After Moving is Common – Here’s How to Overcome It

August 8, 2021 / Posted in Relocation Psychology
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

There are a lot of strong emotions involved with every major event that we may come across. It’s no different with relocations. They affect every aspect of our lives and bring a lot of tension upon us. That is why we may start feeling depression after moving, and it can be overwhelming.

A woman feeling depressed after cross-country moving
Leaving our life behind can hit us hard

We usually believe specific traumas and stressors can be the only causes of overwhelming sorrow and being depressed. But transitional trauma is a real thing, and some people may even be depressed after moving into a new house. But why is relocating so stressful? First of all, getting organized to move is not easy. A car shipping company can ship your car through an auto transport service, but you’ll have to do almost everything else by yourself. Finding a job, going on a house hunt, thinking about every little thing, and keeping it under control all get accumulated and may inflict immense misery.

What Is Depression After Moving and Why Do We Feel It?

Americans do tend to move a lot, almost up to 12 times during their lifetime. And while our reasons to move can vary (about 40% are work-related, and 42% are for personal reasons,) it’s always a complex and tiresome process. You get exhausted and stressed out, and on top of that, leaving your friends behind and completely changing the scenery will have a significant impact on the way you feel. Post-moving depression can appear shortly after we’ve moved, and it’s a syndrome characterized by hopelessness and loneliness.

Situational Disorder Explained

A short-term, stress-related disorder, also known as situational, can develop after a traumatic event. It is a type of adjustment disorder that can make it hard for you to adjust after relocating to a new state. It can be caused by various events in our life, such as different problems at school or our workplace, an illness, the death of someone close to us, relocating to a new home, or having relationship problems.

Anyone who has had difficulties in their previous experiences, such as existing mental health issues, childhood traumas, or several stressful events occurring simultaneously, is more prone to suffer from depressive syndromes. Factors that increase risk can also be biological and include hormonal irregularities and changes in brain chemistry and structure.

A sad man in a gray shirt
Adjustment may be too hard to overcome for some people

How Does Moving Affect Mental Health?

Relocating is challenging, especially for those who are relocating from the East Coast to the West Coast. While you have to put tremendous effort into taking care of everything, the stress levels will rise. There are various impacts a relocation may have on your well being:

  • Before you step out of your home, you should know that the levels of stress can trigger anxiety. Uncertainty and fear of changing are common feelings connected to a move, and adding them on top of the tension, results in anxious overall feeling.
  • Insomnia may hit us before and after the move. You may be so overstressed that you have trouble initiating or maintaining your sleep, and it can be short-term (for a couple of days to a few weeks) or even chronic when it goes on for months. It can have adverse effects on your brain function and cause different health issues.
  • Frequent relocations may affect your ability to maintain a relationship because you can grow accustomed to leaving everything behind.
  • There are some benefits to your mental health, too. People that move more frequently have a better overall memory, as transitions are events with more impact on your life and thus leave a more significant imprint in our memories.

A lower amount of stress is acceptable and even desirable since it will keep us focused and up to each task. The problem is that being stressed out may become overwhelming, and it’s something that we should try to avoid.


New Chapter of Your Life Can Be Immensely Scary

Many of us know and understand that good organization may take away some of the stress, but there are still so many factors that can bring us tension. Finding ways to get a job in a new city is among them, but picking the right neighborhood is also not a task to be taken lightly and can significantly impact our nerves.

Figuring out how much money we will need exactly to cover the move is one of the biggest nerve-wracking problems. From investing in long-distance moving services and finding a suitable auto transport company to the number of things you need for your first apartment, the costs add up and will cause you to worry.

Can Houses Cause Depression?

Relocations are not only about deciding where to live and hiring long-distance movers. When we move, we are relocating away from friends and family and everything that was part of our day-to-day lives. Although we should look at it as a fresh start, it’s hard to disregard that we are going to part with people and with the place we’ve grown to love, especially since the average homeownership period in the country is about 13 years. That is more than enough time to feel homesick after you leave your residence.

“Maybe you had to leave in order to miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.” We usually leave our previous home with something similar in our hearts, but getting over it is manageable.

A man looking in the mirror
Homesickness can be overwhelming

What Are the Main Relocation Depression Symptoms?

According to the National Library of Medicine, after we’ve moved, we may start feeling the symptoms of this diagnosis. Anxiety, confusion, hopelessness, and loneliness are signs that we are not taking it that well. Leaving your comfort zone and everything familiar to you for quite some time is emotionally challenging. You may start losing interest in your usual activities and have trouble with concentration and focus as well.

You may experience mood swings and lean on alcohol, cigarettes, and excessive food for comfort. It can lead to significant weight gain, but you may experience loss of appetite as well as weight loss. A common symptom may even include avoiding social interaction and activities, which can make finding friends in a new city that much difficult.

Depression occurred after the long-distance moving company unloaded the stuff
You may start feeling lonely after you move

If You Organize Well, You’ll Lower the Chances of Being Over Stressed

Thorough planning is always the key to having a sense of control, particularly when we’re changing a place of living. Finding some good relocating hacks will help you be more efficient while making a checklist will make sure you handle every task on time. A wise choice is to invest in a packing service because letting movers take care of your belongings will bring you relief and save you from being overly exhausted.

Downsizing and decluttering will lower the relocation costs, while using a storage service can also be beneficial. It will allow you to settle in and organize before your stuff arrives. The more you manage to take care of, the lower the stress levels will be, and you’ll be more likely to avoid feeling down and beat.

A to-do list and a pen
Good organization can be the key to avoiding sorrow and anxiety

How Do You Cope With Moving to a New Place?

Life throws different things our way, and even minor occurrences can hit us more than we think. You should understand and accept that changing your living place can be tricky and hard to cope with. It disrupts our daily routine, and we have to concentrate well so there won’t be any things we forget to do.

Relocating can be incredibly demanding in this age of Coronavirus pandemic, where we worry both about ourselves and our family members. At the same time, we have to put in special effort to go through this transition. But we can do things before and after the move, which will help us battle any impacts on our well-being.

Help Yourself in a Few Easy Steps

Having an idea of what to expect before we leave the previous home can help us take in all the changes and adapt to them. After the move, one of the things to do after relocating is to find someone we could talk to, which can be particularly helpful if we’re relocating to another state alone. Other steps include getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and regular exercise. Although feeling underwhelmed is normal, being depressed is not something we should embrace and leave unattended.

How Do I Stop Being Sad About Moving? Explore Your Surroundings and Meet Different People

One of the hardest things you had to go through was probably saying bye to friends and family. But it shouldn’t stop you from experiencing your new place of residence and meeting different people. Although being closed inside your comfort zone in your abode may be tempting, you should step out of it and try making connections with others. It will make settling in much easier and faster.

Exploring the city you’ve moved to can keep your mind off of worries. Perhaps you’re beating yourself up because you haven’t looked at a list of most commonly forgotten things to pack, and you’ve missed bringing some essentials with you. But while possessions can be replaced, experiences can not, and we should focus on them.

Stay in Touch With Everyone

While reliable cross-country movers will help you with all move-related tasks and enable you to have a stress-free relocating, people close to you that were left behind can help you overcome sadness. Staying in touch has never been easier, as we can use video calls and social networks to keep our loved ones close. In the following video, you can hear some advice on dealing with mental issues and difficulties.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Even if you’ve managed to move efficiently, you may not be able to overcome all of this on your own, nor with the help of your loved ones. If you start feeling any worsening of the symptoms, such as thoughts about harming yourself, it’s a sign that you require professional help. You shouldn’t hesitate to seek it once you realize it’s not a short-term matter. The first step you can take is contacting SAMHSA’s National Helpline, a confidential 24/7 service. You’ll get referred to local support groups and treatment facilities.

Seeking medical help after long-distance moving
Seek professional assistance if the symptoms worsen

To Overcome Sorrow, Look Into the Future With Bright Eyes

Leaving is never easy. Most of us feel connected to certain places for a long time, and our homesickness can linger. But by looking only at the past, you may overlook your bright future and the many chances it offers you. Wherever you go, you won’t lose the people and the places you’ve come to love, and they will always be there and a part of you. You should look at this change as a new experience that will only enrich your life and embrace it bravely.

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