Editor's Picks General Mental Health

Managing Mental Health When Moving To a New Place

Moving away from home can be challenging for your mental health; however, you have all the strength and tools inside of you to get through.

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In mid-August, I uprooted my life and moved 340 miles away from home for graduate school. Let me be the first to tell you: moving is hard.

This is the first time I’ve ever lived on my own outside of college, so this is a whole new adventure for me. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried, and I’ve called my mom a lot. But I am adjusting. I am learning how to be in a new city and how to make this place my home.

Since we’re talking about new beginnings at Libero this month, I wanted to share the things I’ve learning that made my new beginning just a bit easier:

1. Feel your feelings.

As soon as my mom got in her car and I went back upstairs to my apartment, I cried. And I cried every night for the next few days. This is okay.


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You may be feeling sad about the place and the people you’ve left behind, anxious about the future, excited about your new life, or a combination of feelings. Whatever emotions you experience after a move are completely valid; don’t let yourself think otherwise. Moving your life somewhere new is hard. It’s okay to have all the feelings about it.


Moving your life somewhere new is hard. It’s okay to have all the feelings about it.


2. Find a support system.

For those of us with mental health difficulties, transitions can be particularly rough (and isolating). Go into this big transition looking for ways to build extra support into your life. Find a therapist, a psychiatrist, a roommate, or a church community,  to support you in your new adventure. Transitions are hard. It’s okay to lean on others for a while.


Transitions are hard. It’s okay to lean on others for a while.


3. Explore, explore, explore!

Staying pent up in your new home is not good for anyone. It may be anxiety-provoking, but get into your new community and get to know the layout. Look for places that can become yours. Check out that coffee shop or the farmers’ market or yoga studio. Become comfortable with the discomfort that comes from going someplace unfamiliar on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask where the best local spots are.


Look for places that can become yours.


4. Make your space your own.

I know unpacking is taxing, but unpack your boxes. Put your favorite pictures on the walls and your coziest blanket on your bed. Unpack your things and claim your space. Really settle into your new home so it becomes yours. And you’ll have the added bonus of being able to find your things without digging through boxes!


Really settle into your new home so it becomes yours.


5. Find little tastes of home.

Go to Starbucks and get your favorite drink. Watch that TV shows you used to watch with your best friend. Cook your mom’s favorite recipe. Do things that are familiar, that remind you of where you came from. Engage your senses in a way that centers you and reminds you of who you are among the newness.


Do things that are familiar, that remind you of where you came from.


6. Make new friends (but keep the old).

Get outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. Join a book club. Go to meetups in your area. Join a small group at church. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Say hi to the girl riding the elevator with you. Go out with your coworkers after work. Find ways to connect with new people and build relationships with them. You may be lucky, as I was, and move somewhere where you already know people who live there. If so, reach out to them and try to rekindle that relationship. Don’t isolate yourself. Push through the anxiety and say Hello!


Get outside your comfort zone and meet new people.


7. Talk to people back home often.

Call your mom or your dad or your brother or your best friend. Don’t pretend that texting them is fine. Make time to talk to or Skype with the important people in your life so they stay important people in your life. Just because you moved somewhere new, doesn’t mean you have to lose contact.


Just because you moved somewhere new, doesn’t mean you have to lose contact.


Sometimes uprooting yourself and your life can be the best adventure of your life.

There’s no doubt this kind of new beginning can be challenging; however, you have all the strength and tools inside of you to get through the difficulties. In the end, it will be a journey you’ll never forget.

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Sarah currently resides in Washington D.C. and is a MA psychology student researching eating disorders and body image. After struggling with her own mental health difficulties, Sarah is a huge advocate for mental health. She believes that recovery and healing are possible for everyone and hopes to help others achieve recovery through her work. In her free time, you can find her watching Netflix, drinking coffee, or studying. Sarah blogs sometimes over at sarahvandeweert.com.

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