While moving to a new city or state can be exciting, it can come with stress, too. Regardless of the reason—whether you’re a military family or have a job that constantly relocates you—packing up and moving very frequently can be overwhelming for adults and children alike.
Frequent moves can affect you mentally and emotionally. How will your family react to the big change? Are the effects only short-term, or are there long-term repercussions as well? Read on to learn more about the psychological effects of moving frequently.
Psychological effects of moving frequently as a child?
As stated by Arlington movers, one of the biggest impacts of frequent moves on children is the obstacle it creates for building and maintaining friendships. In early development stages and throughout our adult life, making connections and feeling like we’re part of a community plays a very important role in our well-being and happiness levels.
Kids who are introverts, have anxiety, or struggle with instability are hit the hardest with frequent moves. A moving situation is also stressful for the parents. For example, if they are in the middle of a divorce or job loss, the effects only intensify with a move. Children pick up stress and other negative emotions more than most people realize.
Psychological effects of moving frequently on adults?
Moving too frequently has similar effects on adults as it does on children, but the results can escalate to more serious impacts later in life. Adults are more adaptable to moving later in life. Still, people who grew up moving a lot have increased feelings of loneliness and violence and a higher risk of substance abuse, suicide, and even death at an early age.
A study done in Denmark analyzed data from 1.4 million people showed that people who moved more frequently during early adolescence were most likely to have adverse health outcomes later in life. With every move, the potential for physiological issues rises.
Recurrent moves can also result in detachment issues with both personal relationships and possessions. Psychologists have concluded that people who move very frequently tend to view their stuff and their connections to people as more disposable.
Tips for adjusting to a new home
While there isn’t a lot you can do about your past if you moved a lot as a child, here are ways to embrace your new area of residence and combat the negative effects of frequent moves.
Stay open to new experiences
Get out and explore your new surroundings. The worst thing to do when moving to a new city—especially if you’re on your own—is to stay home and close yourself off to new places. It will be much more difficult to make friends, find new hobbies, or feel like you are part of a community if you don’t stay open to new experiences.
Keep in mind that when moving with a family, you should find activities for your children to make them feel at home. By visiting parks and kid-friendly museums, you’ll not only meet other parents, but you’ll give your kids a chance to experience new things as well.
Accept your new city for what it is and embrace your new home rather than dwell on its aspects you can’t change. You can explore local gyms, grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and hobbies you enjoy—like rock climbing or go to the movies.
Unpack your belongings
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything happening after a move. Immediately unpacking will reduce your stress level tremendously and help you feel more at home in your new place.
Start by taking out the personal items that make you feel most secure so you can get more comfortable as you see them every day. Once you see your pictures on the wall, clothes hanging in your closet, and you’re able to enjoy a nice nap on your comfy couch, your house will start to feel like a home. Once you feel at home in your new place, the rest of the adjustment process gets easier.
Stay in touch with long-distance friends
Arguably one of the hardest parts about a move is leaving your nearby friends and family. As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to keep in communication and see each other but keep in mind that your friends will always be your friends—no matter how far apart you may be.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or lonely in your new town, talk to your closest friends and family. Hearing a familiar voice can be calming and helpful after a big move.
If it gets difficult to find a time that works for both you and your friend, put it on their calendar. You can schedule regular check-ins on whatever schedule works for you both, whether that is 30 minutes a week or FaceTime dates for an hour on the weekend.
When you’re all settled at your new place and used to the routine of your new life, try to find the time and budget to visit friends and family at least twice a year.
Establish a routine
Once you are unpacked and start to get your bearings in your new town, it’s important to keep a solid routine to establish a new normal for your life.
If you have to travel to an office for work, figure out how long that takes you. Will you be commuting via train, car, or bike? It would help if you also thought about what days you’ll go grocery shopping, workout, or try something new.
Planning out the first few days of your new routine will help lower the stress levels of starting a new job in a new place. After your weekday routine starts to fall into place, plan for your weekends! You can make a list of new places you’d like to try for breakfast, what parks to visit when the weather is nice, or map out your bar crawl.
Try making new friends
It’s important to find friends in your new location to establish a connection to your new city. Just like your friends back at home, it’s important to have someone you can tell all of your problems to relieve stress.
Check out places that interest you by yourself. This is one of your best chances to meet new people with similar interests. Those places can be rock climbing gyms, fitness classes, parks, bars, or museums. As weird as it sounds to do any of these things by yourself, it’s your best chance at making a new pal.
In this day and age, you also have the help of the internet to make friends. Various apps are designed to help form friendships. By joining sites like these, you’ll find that you are not alone in the hunt for company.
Combatting the psychological effects of moving frequently
While moving frequently affects everyone differently, there are ways to combat the negative effects.
Making your new place feel like home, making new friends, and building a routine are important ways to make the moving transition easier. The number one thing to remember throughout the whole process is: stay positive!