Just moved to a new city? A new neighborhood? Or are you planning to make a major move a few months down the road? You’re not alone. Each year, about 15 percent of Americans move to a new location.
If you’ve just moved, or are about to move, to a new city or neighborhood, you’re in plenty of company. There are plenty of reasons to look for a move – a new job, an educational opportunity or personal reasons – but getting acclimated to a new place you’ve moved to can be a stressful and challenging experience. In fact, according to some medical experts, moving to an unfamiliar place can be one of life’s most stressful events.
With the right advice, though, you’ll be able to transition to your new place and form social connections without being overwhelmed by stress.
- Become a regular at a local cafe. If you want to go where everybody knows your name, all you have to do is visit enough to become a “regular.” Come in with a book or computer, order your drink of choice and stay a while. Don’t be afraid to be gregarious, chatting with the baristas and saying hello to other regulars. In time, you’ll become a fixture in the establishment.
- Say ‘yes’ to work/school events. For the more introverted among us, after a full workday an extra event might sound like a lot of extra time and effort. If you just say yes to a few of these, however, you’ll have a great opportunity to make some new connections and potentially form some new friendships.
- Join a Meetup group. If you want to meet people, specifically those who share your interests or hobbies, find and join a MeetUp group relevant to you. Whatever your interests are – cooking, hiking, theater, Star Trek, tech, photography, crafts, writing, or dogs – you’re sure to find a group that shares common interests in your new home.
- Invite a friend or relative to visit. On the evenings or weekends, it can be difficult to muster up the effort to explore your new area without someone to help drive events. If a friend or relative from out of town comes to visit, however, you’ll have a reason to research your area’s attractions and explore them with your visitor in order to show them a good time. If you schedule an itinerary and scope out extra locations before they arrive, you’ll have even more experience in your surrounding community
- Ask, ask, ask. People are naturally welcoming and friendly in most areas. No matter where you move, there will more than likely be a few welcoming souls who want to help make you feel at home in your new surroundings. Don’t hesitate to ask your neighbors, co-workers or that barista for advice on the best restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops and other top spots in your neighborhood. They’ll be sure to give you some good recommendations, and might even invite you out!
- Navigate your new neighborhood. Explore your city with your car and public transit, if available. By finding your way around naturally, you’ll be less stressed when you have an appointment in a new part of town. Find the best destinations in the city and get familiar with them, as well as highly rated local spots.
- Volunteer. You might feel isolated in your new community, but you don’t have to! Volunteer at local charity organizations and meet new people. You’ll be able to meet like-minded people around you and you’ll feel better from the feeling of giving. Trust us.
- Get a dog! For animal lovers who don’t have a pet, it’s time to consider taking the leap into ownership. Dogs give you a reason to get moving outside on walks and in parks, and you’ll be able to meet fellow like-minded people. Of course, only take this route if you’re ready to commit to a pet for the long haul.
Adjusting to new surroundings is stressful, and it takes time to feel at home. Don’t pressure yourself to feel completely comfortable quickly, as you could find yourself boxed in socially. Enjoy the experience of exploring new places, destinations and friends and you’ll truly be able to call a place your new home.