Relocation: 5 Tips for Keeping Your Sanity

I unpacked my final box and plopped down on the couch. Wiping away the sweat from my brow, I looked around my new apartment and out the window to my view of the water. I had been anticipating my relocation and move from my parents’ house to an apartment in New York City for ages, but when the time arrived and I had finally settled in, I was struck with one poignant thought: I am hungry, but I don’t know where to eat.

This may seem silly or inconsequential, but it was representative of a much larger challenge that I faced in the first few weeks following my relocation. Finding a routine — where to eat, shop, do my laundry, etc. — would become of great importance, as would establishing a new group of friends and overcoming the myriad logistical hurdles that come with moving to a new city. The relocation process can be a maelstrom of frustrations, especially if you are also changing jobs, but keeping a cool head and making a plan can help you transcend the more difficult moments.

To help you emerge unscathed from the crucible of relocating (or at the very least with your sanity intact), here are some common challenges and solutions for those who want to be happy and productive, in both work and life, during a period of intense change:

Challenge 1: Making the Move

Moving to a new city is not only psychologically stressful, but also physically challenging. Packing up your entire life into boxes and transporting it from one place to another is much more easily said than done. If you attempt to complete this process alone, or without professional help, you may produce extra stress, which could have been avoided.

Solution 1: Spend Wisely

The moving process is an expensive one and calls for you to make prudent fiscal decisions. Allocating more funds to a premier mover service can make all the difference in the transition period. Make sure you do your research in order to find a company that will be able to handle your specific logistical needs.

Challenge 2: Finding a New Place

Once you know that you are going to move to a new city, you will need to find a place to live. For many, this turns out to be the most nerve-wracking part of the whole experience. With so many different apartments, neighborhoods, prices and sizes, picking a new home can be extraordinarily confusing.

Solution 2: Prioritize

Make sure you know what your priorities are when choosing a new home. You should be able to rank factors like price range, distance from work and type of neighborhood in order to narrow your search. Once you have identified what is most important to you, begin looking for places with those characteristics.

Challenge 3: Too Many Options

When you move to a new city, you will be confronted with many new and exciting options. Many people feel overwhelmed by the choices and feel like they need to sample everything once before they can make a decision as to which is the best. This can cause a lot of stress, as trying everything once before making an educated decision can be a long process.

Solution 3: Establish “Go-To”s Early

Back in your old city, you knew exactly where to go for a dozen eggs or to get your work clothes dry-cleaned. In your new city, these small errands can loom large, especially if there are many options. To help you in the transition process, pick go-to places for your errands at random and frequent them. This will help you build a small community, a home base, and will give you a sense of security that is much needed in the first months of a relocation.

Challenge 4: Establishing a New Group of Friends

Making new friends is always a daunting challenge and it is an integral part of settling into a new city. You may worry about whether you will like your new co-workers or whether you will be able to find like-minded people in your neighborhood. The angst that comes with uprooting yourself from the comforts of home can be intensified by the fact that your support system (your friends and family) did not travel with you.

Solution 4: Be Proactive

One way to be proactive is to play the host; invite people to a house-warming party, and they will reciprocate by including you in their events. Another way to be proactive is to utilize social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to learn about events and organizations in your area that will allow you to meet people with common interests. You may also want to use social media to connect with friends of your friends. Many times a mutual friend in your new city will become a full-fledged friend in time.

And one last general solution:

Remain optimistic! Even if the suggestions outlined above don’t immediately work for you, you must remain optimistic. These things take time, and you are not the first person to confront the challenges of relocation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and — above all — maintain a positive outlook. Although it may be tough, you will get through it!

How do you cope up with relocation? Share your tips below.


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This post is written by Erica Moss. Erica is the social media outreach coordinator for the Master of Science in Nursing program at Georgetown University, which has one of the nation’s leading FNP programs. Outside of work, Erica is an avid dog lover who loves photography and meeting new people.


  1. Dave Barden on the 11th January

    Great advice, Erica! I’m moving Feb. 1, and I think the worst part I’m feeling is the loss of support system, especially friends. I feel like I will become a hermit and not do anything.

    I really appreciate your post, thanks!!

  2. Michael on the 12th January

    Another personal tip: have a great playlist 🙂 it’s easier to see the bright side of relocation with inspiring music

  3. Roland Helby on the 14th January

    Hi , thanks for such a nice article. I would like to add to solution 1- get 3 to 4 quotes from moving companies in your city and discuss with them, make comparison. That would help you to find the right moving company for you.
    removals and storage Brisbane

  4. Mimi on the 17th January

    “cope up”? What the… On a non editorial note, it is indeed a glass half full situation. There’s loads to discover. Lots of new things and new people. The old stuff is still there and you can still visit what used to be home. Be a pioneer in your old life. Don’t be boring. Spend a little more than you normally do on food just to stop you getting stressed out when you’re low on blood sugar ie don’t walk an extra 2kms to find somewhere “normal” to eat. Try new things and stop being boring and predictable. You’ve just moved to a new life – keep the revolution alive!

  5. Kymberly Fergusson on the 17th January

    After moving countries twice in two years, I found my biggest hurdle was the (unknown) languages. If you are moving to somewhere without knowing the language, sign up for classes, or search for a good tutor (in person or skype), and study a little each day. Not knowing the language makes even the little things seem overwhelming (what can of tuna to buy, which milk to buy). Focus on language that you need every day (food terms, transport and directions, asking for help, … ), and contact your embassy, an international club, or even for groups on LinkedIn – they may have resources to help the initial shock of a new culture and new language.

  6. Christie on the 20th January

    When moving to a new place, real estate TV shows can also offer professional advice. Especially Urban Suburban and House Hunters have helped me a good deal. I find accommodating myself to new people and new situations.a much tougher task. Hold on, Erica, time will reveal fruits of your efforts!

  7. Katie on the 29th August

    I can help with the making new friends part! I give advice about this all the time!

    You can volunteer for an organization in your community to meet your new neighbors, get a part time job, or use FriendMatch, which is a new website for making new friends from your area or around the world.

    Friends Make a new house feel like a new home!!

  8. Sarah Lawson on the 25th June

    Hey Erica!

    All very useful tips! Let me just say that I enjoyed reading this a lot!

    But I have to say that my favorite tip of all is be optimistic. Relocating and finding new jobs can be very hard, especially if you lack a strong support system at your new city. It might take a bit of time for someone to adjust in a new setting, but as long as he or she keeps busy, it won’t be so bad after all.

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