So, you did it – you moved halfway across the state (or across the country, or across the world) and now you find yourself in your new home and… feel completely out of place. Everything is new, and unfamiliar, and confusing, and scary and you have no idea how to get your life back on track. Adjusting to your new surroundings, however, may not be as difficult and daunting as it seems at first. All you need to do is get out there and get to know your new world. You may like what you find!
While there is no guaranteed formula for a quick and easy adjustment after moving, an open mind, a positive attitude and a bit of initiative will take you a long way towards adapting to your new environment, making new friends, and feeling like you belong. Here are some ideas you may want to try out when moving to a new city:
Know what to expect
Learn as much as you can about your new environment well in advance. Research your new city and gather useful information that will not only help you settle in faster and easier, but will also give you something to look forward to (like visiting that famous art gallery or spending a day on the beautiful beach – whatever your new city has to offer).
So, check out township sites, join local forums on the Web, follow local blogs, etc. and find out about the weather in your new area, the economic situation and social structure in the region, the biggest cultural and sports events that take place in your new city, the best shopping centers, entertainment locales and recreation options to be found in the vicinity, and so on.
The more you know, the better prepared you will be and the smoother your transition will go.
Make your home your haven
First things first – before you can go out and face the trials of the brave new world around you, you need to feel safe and comfortable in your own home. So, your very first step to adjusting to your new surroundings is to make your new place feel like home.
Unpack all your practical household items, all your beautiful decorations, all your cherished personal possessions and every single trifle you brought with you from your previous life and turn your new home into the charming, cozy, welcoming sanctuary you have always wanted it to be. Once you start feeling “in place” in your own home, finding your rightful place in your new community will be much easier.
Creating a set daily routine (working, exercising, shopping, preparing home-made meals, enjoying some personal time, etc.) will also help you settle in sooner and easier. You will feel secure in your day-to-day life and will be able to accept your new lifestyle and adapt to your new environment without too much of an effort.
Get to know the people around you
If you are the new person on the block, don’t just sit around waiting for someone to welcome you – let go of your doubts and fears and take the initiative:
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors – shake hands with the people next door and set a friendly, cheerful mood that will encourage light-hearted conversations and interesting discussions about the community life and the peculiarities of your new surroundings;
- Throw a housewarming party – invite your new neighbors and colleagues over to a simple, relaxing party that will allow you to have some fun and get to know each other a bit better;
- Ask your new colleagues and neighbors for help and advice whenever you need it – reminding people that you don’t know your way around may elicit much more empathy and support than you have expected;
- Take every opportunity for social interaction you have – whether it’s a party, a game, a concert, a work outing, or a happy hour at the local bar, accept any chance you get to hang out with your new acquaintances and build your new social network;
- Visit local hot spots (lively shopping centers, popular bars and restaurants, etc.), community buildings (libraries, churches, recreation centers, and others) and public spaces (parks and entertainment venues) to meet people from the neighborhood and feel as one of them;
- Be approachable – eat out in public, walk around the neighborhood, and spend some time outside to make yourself available and get a realistic idea of the community life in your new area;
- Get involved in the community life – attend local events (festivals, concerts, sports games, etc.), engage in community services, volunteer at local nonprofit organizations, and make every effort to take an active part in the community life. This way, you will meet a lot of like-minded people, will become aware of the current social issues, and will get a sense of belongingness and commitment.
SEE ALSO: How to make friends in a new city
Be kind and friendly with everyone and rest assured that people will reflect your positive attitude and will welcome you as a valuable member of the community.
Explore your new surroundings
The best way to adjust to a new city is to get to know it like the palm of your hand – to learn your way around the vast labyrinth of streets and buildings, to know the location of every important place in the area, to be aware of all the local landmarks and sites of interest, etc.
SEE ALSO: Key places to locate in your new city
When you get truly familiar with your new surroundings, you will not only be able to finish your everyday tasks faster and easier, but will also start feeling safe and comfortable in your new world.
SEE ALSO: What to do after moving to a new state
Exploring your new city will help you expand your horizons and ensure your peace of mind. You will feel more confident, more at ease, and better prepared to face the challenges your new life presents you with. Besides, the “exploration process” will put you in touch with many different people and will offer a variety of exciting new experiences.
Be open to new experiences
Your new world is going to be full of countless new opportunities, new adventures, and new possibilities. So, instead of grieving for your old life, you’d better take charge of the change and enjoy what your new city has to offer:
- Take part in the social events and projects aimed at your new community;
- Take up a new hobby – something popular in your new surroundings;
- Pursue whatever outdoor activities are available in your new area;
- Participate in the cultural life of your new city – attend concerts and sports games, show up at festivals and art openings, join museum tours, etc.;
- Sign up for art classes (or cooking classes, or dancing classes, or language classes) – anything that will allow you to learn something new, acquire new skills or improve your existing ones.
Let your natural curiosity, your passion for creativity and innovation and your adventurous spirit be your guides in your new world – you will be pleasantly surprised by what you discover!
Do what you have always enjoyed doing
Think about all the activities you enjoyed doing in your old surroundings and look for opportunities to do the same things in your new area. Whether it’s playing tennis or listening to live music in a cozy family restaurant, these familiar pastimes will bring you much comfort and great pleasure.
Also, think about where you received most of your social support – was it a professional group, a hobby club, or a religious organization that you were involved with? Make sure you become a part of such a community once again.
You will not only enjoy a favorite activity in a pleasant and relaxing environment, but will also have the opportunity to meet people who have much in common with you. Some of them will most certainly become good friends of yours.
Stay in touch with your old life
New friends are silver, but old ones are gold, you know. So, make sure you maintain your relationships and never lose touch with the people who matter to you, regardless of the distance. Moving to a new place doesn’t mean that you have to sever the bonds with your old life and your old friends. In our high-tech age, it’s easy enough to stay connected and feel close to the ones you hold dear even when they are far away.
Of course, you will never be able to rely on your old buddies the way you did before, simply because they won’t be there and won’t face the same challenges as you will. However, being able to share your anxieties, your hopes, your achievements and your failures with a supportive and loving friend will help you understand and accept your new environment much more easily than you’ve expected.
Accept change and appreciate differences
Last but not least – you will be able to adapt to your new environment only when you accept it for what it is. Your new city may not be perfect, but when you look at its positive aspects and its own charming peculiarities, you may easily grow to love it. Do not focus on what your new life lacks and do not compare it to your old one all the time – just acknowledge the various advantages of your new surroundings and learn to appreciate the differences as they will broaden your horizon and help you grow as a person.
What matters the most is to step into your new life without fears or regrets and stay true to yourself. Soon enough, you will feel right at home in your new city.