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5 ways to combat loneliness when relocating
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5 ways to combat loneliness when relocating

Coping with the loneliness of moving to a new city can be hard, but there are ways to make the experience gentler
Loneliness and moving to a new city
Representational image | Canva

Moving to a different city or country from the one you grew up in or are familiar with could be both daunting and exhilarating. The new sights, smells, people, culture, all serve as a reminder that you have left behind what is familiar to you. And somewhere down the line, loneliness creeps in, unchecked, unwanted, uninvited.

Happiest Health explores five things to keep in mind when moving to a new city, and how to get rid of loneliness that comes with it.

Making room for all emotions

Deboshila Bose, counselling psychologist at Fortis Hospital, Kolkata, speaks of the myriad of emotions that come into play when moving to a new city. “While the emotions will vary from person to person, usually, the most common one is excitement, and a bit of fear as well,” she notes. She says it is largely the unknown that leads to fear.

While those moving for studies might find solace in institutional settings, those on job relocation, particularly if they live alone, might feel more uncomfortable with the uncertainty. The initial phase, Bose notes, often involves such feelings of discomfort until the person acclimatises to their new surroundings.

Here, it is important to acknowledge and make room for all the emotions that one may experience. While not all emotions may be positive, it is important to allow the desirable and undesirable emotions to co-exist and to approach the new experience in a level-headed way.

Mental preparation to combat loneliness

While a lot of the fear comes from the uncertainty of the move, mentally preparing for the new life may act as an antidote to it. Bose suggests that learning about the food, culture, customs, and people of the new place beforehand can be immensely helpful in avoiding a culture shock. “If you research a little bit about the place from before, then you will be better prepared to handle the big change once you’re there,” she says. She adds that figuring out where the essentials like hospitals, banks, medical stores are located also helps with mental preparation.

Seeking out social connections

Once we have the basics figured out, it is important to cultivate a sense of belongingness in the new place. This could mean consciously seeking out social connections. Bose suggests that actively engaging in social activities, becoming part of clubs or groups, and attending local events are effective ways to connect with like-minded people. She also highlights that building a social network provides a vital support system and keeps feelings of loneliness at bay. “Seeking out other people who have also moved recently, or moved earlier and coped well with the change can be helpful,” adds Bose.

Cultivating curiosity

It takes an open and curious mind to truly make the best of new culture and people. Bose recommends being flexible and open to different lifestyles, cultures and people when we move to a new town or city. This is how we can accept and appreciate differences, and blend into the new community, she says.

Staying virtually connected

Bose admits that accepting the loneliness that comes with moving to a new city or town is an inherent part of the journey. “It’s also important to reflect on the fact that, inevitably, there might be days where there is no one waiting for you and you will have to turn on the lights in a dark home,” she says. Just be prepared for that, she warns.

However, in times like these, we can lean on their existing social circle virtually. It could take a while before finding the right tribe in the new place, but the old circle can help us through the time, even it is just through virtual calls or messages.

Moving can be challenging, but it can also be thrilling if allow it to be. Because relocating is a blank slate of sort, and it can be quite the new field for u to thrive in.

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