What Is Relocation Depression or Relocation Stress Syndrome and How to Deal With It?

Written by: Rajasree Biswas – M. Sc (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : March 09, 2023

Relocation Stress Syndrome, often known as “transfer trauma,” occurs when a person moves from one region to another. It can cause a loss in emotional and physical well-being in senior persons, which can lead to serious health concerns and even death. Depression, psychological anguish, and avoidance of social activities can all be brought on by it. We think of car accidents, seeing violence, or being assaulted when we think about trauma which leads to depression. People are often surprised to hear that these syndromes exist.

Some people are more vulnerable to transfer stress, also known as Relocation Stress Syndrome. Those who have mobility issues or trouble moving about on their own, for example. Individuals living alone can become accustomed to their surroundings and follow a pattern. Feelings might range from minor discomfort to feeling uncomfortable and even becoming physically ill.

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Chapter 1:

Relocation Depression

Relocation depression is, as the name implies, a sensation of intense and persistent melancholy which can last for months to years. It is caused by moving, which can be local or long distance.

Others may find it depressing to leave home we love – or possibly the only one we have ever known. Every relationship you’ve made, every landmark you’ve become close to, they all can feel like they’re slipping away in the breeze. For most people, bitter goodbyes are an unavoidable part of life, which could explain why relocating hurts so much. Natural calamities such as hurricanes, floods, and wildfires can sometimes trigger Relocation Stress Syndrome. Residents at protracted care communities have recently been experiencing increased stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as state and federal regulations that curtailed visitation and increased the risk of closure.

Uncertainty Phobia
An underlining uncertainty can be at the root of many relocation depression symptoms. You have acquired a familiarity with whatever you call home that is unique to that location. You know your way around, have a map of your friends, your favorite hangouts, and have most probably found a haven for when you’re down. When you depart this location for a new one, you will have to start over from the beginning, which can be terrible. We become so accustomed to (and often reliant on) our habits anything which threatens to interrupt them causes us anxiety. Some of us are lucky enough to be blessed with an adaptable, adventurous spirit, which is fantastic! Those who are more hesitant about moving are likely to feel disoriented, bewildered, and unsure about what lies ahead. Other signs and symptoms of transitory trauma are:
  • Hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Fearfulness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Agitation/ Aggression
  • Lack of enthusiasm for enjoyable activities
  • Loss of sex interest
  • You’re having trouble concentrating
What Else Can Cause This?
Weight loss, sleep disturbances, and eating problems are all possible side effects. To cope with the stress of moving to the new city, some people abuse alcohol and narcotics. Relocation depression has been described as a lack of control, the end of the an era, or even a lack of confidence by those who have gone through it. Seniors are especially vulnerable since they have generally spent a large portion of their lives in one location and are much more likely to force to move due to necessity rather than choice.

One strategy for dealing with relocation is to view it as a task to overcome. It’s actually a good indicator that you’re sad about leaving since it shows you’ve grown into love with the city you’re travelling from. New opportunities, on the other hand, it is something to be excited about! We live in a beautiful planet, and you are lucky enough to have the chance to see it for yourself. Not everyone has the opportunity to go on the journey you were just about to take.

Assuming the Absence of Form
Because of our incredible ability to adapt, people are at the top of the chain on this planet. Growth and change are inherent in sustaining life it. You have no notion who you can be or how much you can become unless you love what you’re like. This big task will build confidence in yourself like none you’ve ever experienced if you play your cards well. Moving to a new location, no matter where you’re heading, will undoubtedly provide you with new obstacles. It’s possible that you’ll have to adjust to the new environment or culture. During this time, you’ll most likely be trying a new career, meeting new people, as well as visiting places that never expected to visit. You’ll look in a mirror at the end and see a changed person than one who showed up.

Chapter 2:

How Do You Get Rid of Moving Depression?

Fortunately, there are a number of things one can do to transform a stressful situation into a pleasant one. Whether you’re a student leaving the nest for first time, a worker starting a new job or moving to a new city, or a family embarking on their next great adventure, read on to learn more about why you could be depressed as a result of your relocation and what one can do about it. Moving to the new location is stressful, and when combined with missing family members, it can have a negative impact on mental health. Once you are away from home, it may be hard to pinpoint cause of your overpowering melancholy. The following elements, on the other hand, can help to clarify the reason of relocation depression.
Making New Connections
The fact that you won’t be around the person you care about is sometimes the most difficult part of relocating. Some of you may be bringing family members along, while others may be venturing out on your own. In either case, you’ll be entrusted with contacting new people and making new acquaintances once you get at your location. This is the most difficult aspect of moving for many people. You might be concerned about being sociable or blending in with your new neighbors, students, or coworkers.

Chapter 3:

How to Deal With It?

It’s tempting to see oneself from a bad perspective, especially if you’re already unhappy as a result of this major and maybe overwhelming adjustment. However, once you’ve surmounted this obstacle and found a new group of friends in your new location, you’ll be glad you did.
Don’t Be in a Hurry
When a move is hasty or coerced, the sadness that follows is amplified. Give it your best shot to prepare ahead of time if you can. If you’ve already arrived at the new place and are having difficulty, you can still bide your time. Don’t rush through unpacking, making new acquaintances, or getting a great many things done. Putting undue stress on oneself will only exacerbate your relocation sadness. Also, if you observe indicators of relocation sadness in yourself, don’t rush to get better. Allow yourself some time to relax and enjoy the benefits of treatment. You’ve already made it half way.
Embrace Optimism
In any stressful scenario, maintaining a cheerful attitude can be difficult. It’s 10 times more difficult when you’re coping with depression. Try and write in a journal or diary first thing in the morning. This easy activity can help you focus on the positive rather than the negative. Also, take a look at these additional positive thinking techniques.
Create a Support System
Isolation typically exacerbates chronic depression. “How can I develop a support network when I’m in a completely new place where I don’t know anyone?” you might wonder. Getting around outside, finding local support networks, maintaining contact with friends, and getting professional assistance are all viable possibilities. Having only one person to lean on at this trying time can make all the difference. There are also several resource centers in the new surroundings that can assist with acclimatization.
Take up New Hobbies
You might also try engaging in personal interests, such as going for a walk, cycling, or going sightseeing in the new surroundings to help expand your mind to its possibilities. You might also start exercising and going to the gym, and who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new people along the way. Visit a nearby library, museum, or art studio. Isolation might exacerbate your symptoms, so don’t just stay in your house. Eat well since what you put into your body affects not just your look but also your mental condition. Stop using chemicals as a coping mechanism. They will just exacerbate your tremendous melancholy and increase your fear and guilt. If you’re having trouble doing so, consider obtaining professional help.

Chapter 4:


Moving to a new location opens you endless opportunities and gives you a fresh start in life, but relocation melancholy may prevent you from seeing the transition through that lens. So, if you’re sad about moving, there’s no shame in asking for help when things get too hard to handle. Shifting away from your safe haven is one of the most difficult things you can do, and the individuals you surround oneself with is the key to getting you through your fears and uncertainties and into a place where you feel more at ease.

"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount