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How To Overcome Loneliness When Moving To A Brand New Place

Written by: Hannah Brents, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Moving to a brand new city can be an overwhelming transition. From the process of leaving to the feeling of belonging and all the steps in between, forming habits makes the feeling of loneliness less difficult.


Process of leaving


Anticipatory anxiety. You know the feeling. You are preparing for an upcoming move, and you are faced with an overwhelming list of ‘to-dos’. You don’t know where to start, let alone how you will tackle the small details. The thought of the logistics makes you feel panicked, overwhelmed, and forgetful. The process of prolonged preparation causes heightened stress levels, anxiety, and panic before the move even begins! These feelings tend to force procrastination, putting you even more behind and starting the cycle all over.

To minimize the weight of anticipatory anxiety or trick your mind into getting started on that ever-growing to-do list, identify the small items first and complete your tasks in order of smallest to largest, least effort to the most effort, quick to time-consuming, however, you want to break it down. It's essential to break down our goals into smaller segments to develop and maintain habits, giving us the feeling of accomplishment sooner. We get a burst of dopamine, feel good about it, and feel encouraged to keep going.


It's not uncommon to also feel a wide range of emotions as you go through the process of leaving. From feelings of guilt, grief, and sadness to the excitement, adventure, and new beginnings, moving can be a life-changing transition. Whatever the reason behind your leaving is, know that this journey you are about to begin may lead you to a deeper understanding of the world around you, and you may lead you to start to see developments in yourself that are critical to our mental wellbeing.


We have seen the hardship and benefit of the leaving process, not only through our religious, and historical text but also throughout history. We have repeatedly seen groups of people experiencing large transitions to find a greater meaning or achieve a particular goal.


Arriving is a Fixed Point in Time

You left and the hard part over, right? Wrong, now you are facing with arriving. You may feel disorientated, feeling in a new place you don't recognize, nobody recognizes you, you don't have any sense of connection, you may feel lost and flustered and you may feel like these emotions will last forever. This is called emotional permanence. It's easy to fall into the dread that you won't ever fit in or feel settled again, but you will adapt and begin to develop a sense of belonging in your new community. This is a transitionary period in your overall process. Be patient with yourself during this phase.


Even if it doesn't happen immediately, arriving is a fixed point in time. It's a moment. It happened. We have arrived. So, the strangeness of arrival is that it's happening right now. It's a feeling of "I am here, but not yet settled" and so we have this fixed point in time where we're physically located somewhere, but it is not a good reflection of how we feel or how we see ourselves. It's not a good reflection of how we understand our values or life because it's just a fixed moment. It's important to remember that this is simply a sense of the now.


Settling Into Your Physical Space


Settling is part of the transition process that we often don’t give enough credit to or overlook entirely. Arguably, settling is the most important part of the journey. It is the stage at which you begin to reconstruct yourselves, whether intentionally or unintentionally. You may start to ask yourself, “Who am I, here? What is important to me at this moment? What do I want to be a part of?” Only you can answer these questions, and once answered, they may be the beginning of you feeling settled.


It’s important to be patient with yourself as you begin to settle in your physical space. This step takes a lot of time and attention; it takes introspection into ourselves and understanding what is important to us in how we see ourselves in our physical space. Most people are familiar with the concept of your outer space being reflective of who we are inside. As you begin to settle, the feelings of anxiety that were caused by the leaving and arriving process begin to calm. Still, we don’t necessarily feel settled or satisfied with our outer physical space yet. It will take time to find your favorite coffee shop, the gym you feel safe at, or even the artwork to fill your new space, but, you will always adapt.


Belonging


As you dive deeper into settling, you will inevitably enter the belonging phase. Belonging happens when we have an identification of self with the world around us. It is when we identify ourselves with who we see ourselves to be. It is our self-perception. We develop a self-identification that promotes feelings of seeing yourself being in a world that feels like you. We identify ourselves in the world around us and begin to feel like part of the community. It’s the feeling of looking around and identifying with your physical space. You have created your living space in a way that you love and in a way that makes you feel whatever way you want to feel when you come home.

As you begin to develop feelings of belonging, you create community ties. It's safe to say that we are all looking for a sense of community but, its up to you to determine to what degree of community you are looking for. We want to develop community ties because it creates a feeling of a strong connection to where we are and who is in the world around us. When we have strong community ties, we oftentimes feel a greater sense of meaning and purpose.


There is a Now and Not Yet


If you are going through this or any transition process, remember there is a now and not yet. That old saying ‘this too shall pass’ applies here. You will start to settle, and you will start to create a sense of belonging. Give yourself the time to adjust, and you will create the right space and community for you to feel your most connected and well-presented self.


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Hannah Brents, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Hannah Brents is a LICSW with a virtual therapy practice in Massachusetts. Many of Hannah’s adult clients come to her to address anxiety, trauma, life transitions, existential questioning, and relational difficulties. As Theology Therapist, Hannah serves as a resource for anyone looking to connect ‒ to yourselves, to others, to the divine and the natural world). She holds an extensive background in Theological Studies, allowing her to combine meditation, yoga, and clinical expertise to encourage deeper connectedness of the whole person as a means of healing and coping with suffering.

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