Top tips for surviving the first 3 months of a relocation
There are many ways to look at 90 days – it’s the duration of time given as “trial” period for a new job, the “honeymoon” phase of a new relationship and the standard measure of the critical recovery period for addiction treatment to prevent relapse.
The quarter marker of a calendar year also seems to be the appropriate time frame given to settle in to a new location, whether that be a new city, country or entire hemisphere. It is within those first three months when the initial exploration and discovery is unfolding, job and house hunts commence, your boxes have finally arrived and unpacking begins, the realization of just how awkward it is making new friends kicks in and suddenly you realise, this move, is real.
Here are fifteen top tips that will help you survive your first 3 months of a relocation.
1. Implement self care rituals
Self care is a real phenomenon right now, but in this circumstance, it’s more important than ever. Overwhelm, fear, excitement, stress are all apart of the tumultuous emotional rollercoaster you are experiencing right now with your body and mind seemingly pulled into a million directions as you navigate your new environment, enter numerous decision making processes and find ways to settle in. Take note of Maslow’s basic needs, in this phase you need to allow time to focus inwards and take a beat to take care of yourself - move well, rest well, eat well, indulge well.
2. Bring home comforts
Think of the little things that brought you joy in your old environment and unveil a sense of “home” to you – perhaps it’s a certain scent from your most treasured garden, a favourite food that is hard to get abroad, a favoured piece of furniture that can be shipped over. Once you have identified these, set about finding ways to bring those items to your new environment. This will help make the transitions less jarring, whilst provide a steady sense of comfort and familiarity.
3. But also explore new home comforts
With a new environment comes great opportunity to explore what will bring you new joy. This isn’t to say you replace, but in exploring a new culture and scenery, you will find things – be it a product, food, or space – that don’t just have nostalgic comfort value, but genuinely offer you a new sense of happiness and in time, will undoubtedly remind you of this new chapter of your life.
4. Create a nest
When you’re setting yourself up in a new home it is important to build a sanctuary-like home environment, so you feel completely comfortable, even if the new exterior world surrounding you is overwhelming. This doesn’t have to mean going all out interior design goals and spending excessive cash (though it can too) but simply making a small effort to shape your room, apartment or space to feel as though it belongs to you and reflects your personality will help enhance your mood and bring a sense of comfort.
5. Assert a mindset of no regrets and no resentment
This mindset is imperative to ensure the longevity of a successful relocation. Whether you moved alone, or with a partner, holding onto regrets or resentment about a move closes off doors before they even had a chance to open. Aim to avoid holding on to resentment of another person, your job or your own circumstances. Perhaps this relocation wasn’t your idea but due to your partners work here you are, or perhaps you had great expectations and reality is settling differently to your dreams. Things may not always be good –but remember, they also weren’t back “home” and if you allow resentment to build, it implicates relationships, your mindset and ultimately your health. If you harbour and manifest built up resentment, you can only project yourself in a negative state.
6. Try not to spend the whole time in a state of comparison
It is often said that "The fastest way to kill something special, is to compare it to something else". If you surround yourself in a comparison based mindset, walking around saying things like “how different this is to [old home]” "how much better [old home] did this than [new home]" you run the risk of closing yourself off from the opportunities to discover the special uniqueness of your new location. Moving away often builds a romanticised notion or nostalgia for your old home, you tend to brush over the bits you didn't like and reminisce on the highlights - so take that into consideration when constantly using a comparison viewpoint. It's great to notice the differences, but try to highlight the positive differences of culture, exploration, adventure, cuisine and environments of your new residence.
7. Join a gym/studio/club/group
Gyms and fitness studios have transformed from isolated hours alone on a treadmill, to social, networking hubs, where people come to meet, hang out and [ideally] head to brunch after a workout. With all the endorphins buzzing around the room, it’s not hard to meet friendly people who share common sweat interests or you can bond with when chatting about that flow class you just attended. The same goes for clubs or groups that have a shared hobby or mission - by surrounding yourself with people of similar interests and purpose, you begin to develop a network, even if that is just a shared smile every time you run into each other.
8. Walk the neighbourhoods
Think of it as the ultimate ground level research - by walking your new home and it's many varied areas you will undoubtedly uncover hidden spots not highlighted on Google Maps. In these reconnaissance strolls, you will not only get a general vibe to the different areas, but will scout out key places such as cool cafes, bars, transport links, supermarkets, stores and/or gyms which will be helpful information to gather, particularly if you are still deciding where you may like to settle into and reside.
9. Search for the people you share interests with
Think about the people who you like to spend your time with, then think about where they might be and how you can connect. Perhaps you love working out - then guaranteed heading to a cool fitness studio will link you up to some similarly passionate fit fiends. Or maybe you are a freelancer wanting to know which cafes are the best to work from - checking out social geotags could provide you with some ideas and also some connections who may be there! This is where the positive aspects of social media are exemplified, from restaurant reccomendations to finding groups in your local area, it is easier than ever to find like minded individuals online, follow their recommendations, get insider local tips and perhaps even meet up in real life (if that were to seem appropriate!). In essence, you are almost able to reverse engineer your new friends!
10. Realise making friends as an adult is hard - but people are nicer than you think
Introverts and socially awkward humans, we feel you. Making friends as an adult is damned hard and it's terrifying to put yourself out there into the realms of fresh friendship. This process is often made easier when relocating to a city where there is already a major "expat" network, as you join the ranks of countless individuals who have been through this process before and will be welcoming, accommodating and helpful when you first get settled in. Moving to somewhere where everyone has known each other since playschool - well it is a little harder... But there is something to remember: [Mostly] everyone is nicer than you think they are and if you are willing to put yourself out there, often, people will positively respond.
11. Relish the chance to explore
How often do you get the chance to see a city through fresh eyes? Chances are that you grew up in one place, where you likely stayed until this moment when you set off on your own. You probably never had that first noticeable adjustment and overwhelm of absorbing an entirely new place all in one go. Or perhaps this is your 50th move across the globe (congrats BTW if that is you, that's a lot of packed boxes!), regardless of your backstory, always take the exceptional opportunity to see everything as new. Indulge in the "newness" of it all – that period of exploration where things don't seem like they surely could be real and you can't ever imagine something existing in the way this does. The surest thing is that this fresh eyed exploration does wear off as you settle in and become comfortable. So milk those moments of taking it all in for the very first time!
12. Find a balance of routine and adventure
Routines tend to make us feel safe. The structure and constraints they provide allow us to feel comfortable, they are familiar, known and offer us a sense of organisation, order and ownership – feelings that, to be honest, in these first three months can be hard to access otherwise! But at the same time, it is important to strike an equal balance to the prime opportunity given here for new adventures and exploration. Perhaps you have moved and are thrown straight into a new job which gives you a structured working week – see if you can take the time outside of work to find your adventure and explore your new world. Or perhaps you don't have a "traditional" work situation and have seemingly endless hours of exploration ahead of you - try to find time to build a little routine in, whether that be waking up at the same time everyday, scheduling in a workout or a class each day, or setting your meal times - creating that sense of routine will help you find structure and shape your days. Which ever way you conducting your days right now, see if you can find the equilibrium between adventure and routine to satisfy your needs.
13. Be brave
More likely than not you already are quite brave. Simply, you wouldn't have moved away from your existing world of comfort were you not. Now, it is time to extrapolate that trait and build it tenfold. To seek out opportunity, make new friends, learn new ways and squeeze the most out of your first three months, you have to be brave and make bold decisions. Simple acts of bravery such as following up to meetings, saying "Yes!" when someone who you have just met invites you out for drinks, reaching out to an unfamiliar face in the hopes they become a familiar one in the future...bravery is your vital strength to make the most of the opportunities that unfold around you - take the leap!
14. Learn the local way
Regardless of if you’ve moved one town over or halfway across the world to a place where they no longer speak your native language, make the absolute most out of the opportunity to connect and learn about a culture that is different to your own. It doesn’t need to be extreme – like learning an entirely new language – but see if you can pick up phrases, meet the local people, chat to the person who you see every morning on your coffee run or try the local delicacies. In a world that is more disconnected than ever with endless differing cultures and belief systems, be a positive link in encouraging the swapping of stories, histories and traditions.
15. Show compassion to yourself
This is a period of great change, adjustment, growth and development. Without a doubt you will have highs and lows. You will probably question yourself on multiple occasions, lose your brave edge, have an emotional wobble and likely find yourself exceptionally overwhelmed. The best thing to do, is show a little compassion and nurturing love to yourself – you’re doing the best you can, and that’s the best way to keep moving forward and find your feet in this new place that is now home.
Have some other great tips for surviving relocations? Let us know in the comments below or on our social channels!
Cover Image PC: Instagram/@dami9n