Healthy Habits When Moving to a New City

Sometimes relocating is necessary. Whether it’s starting a new job, beginning college, or for personal reasons, moving a few hours to a new city, or even across the country, happens to a lot of people, at least once in their lives.

Uprooting your life can also be stressful — before, during and after the move. You’ll pack all your belongings, leave your friends and family behind, and look for necessities such as housing, employment and a new social group. You may be physically and mentally exhausted for days, even weeks, as you adjust to your new surroundings. This can often lead to putting personal health on the backburner. Additionally, the stress of the move combined with poor habits can lead people to rely on unhealthy substances and develop a drug or alcohol addiction.

If you are making a big move, there are some things to keep in mind to preserve your physical and mental wellness in the immediate aftermath of your move.

Exercise Regularly

This isn’t limited to joining a gym, although that is one option people may choose. Other possibilities include:

  • Yoga
  • A specialized fitness center
  • Jogging
  • Hiking

Once a person decides whichever exercise option is the one most suitable for them, they should then place their physical health at the top of their list of priorities once they move to a new city. Moving regular exercise down their list can delay it further and further, until the neglectful routine is set and joining a gym becomes an afterthought or is completely forgotten.

Additionally, exercise provides an escape from the constant stresses of unpacking, organizing and learning new street names and neighborhoods. Moving brings a lot of stress and de-stressing through exercise can allow people to feel better while also providing a chance to meet people and form new relationships.

Eat Well

Falling into the fast-food trap is so easy after moving to a new city and not knowing where to find healthy options. People also don’t have groceries stocked up in the kitchen and the task of shopping might seem overwhelming as the moving boxes stay packed.

Bekins, a moving company, has a page dedicated to healthy habits during a move. It says, “There’s nothing wrong with ordering a pizza every once in a while, especially if you do so after a long day of packing, cleaning, and preparing for the move. But if you make unhealthy eating a habit during your move, you’ll have less energy and might suffer from other side effects. … Eating well will help you keep up your energy, keep your body in shape, and keep your immune system strong.”

Often people don’t feel motivated to eat well during stressful times because it might not be an obvious priority to remove that stress. Making a concerted effort to eat healthily will do wonders for a person’s healthy foundation in a new city.

Be Socially Active

Making new relationships — either through work, school or other ways — is extremely important to maintaining mental health after moving to a new city. This could be in a number of ways:

  • Accepting invites out with colleagues
  • Joining a recreational sports league or fitness club
  • Attending social meetup groups
  • Talking to anyone you can just to strike up conversations and possibly discover some shared interests

Keeping to yourself could do more harm than good, especially during a long period of time. Loneliness could set in, which sometimes leads to people suffering from depression. Building a social life early can maintain mental health and provide a foundation for a work-life or school-life balance.

Stay in Touch with Family Members and Old Friends

Even if you said goodbye, stay in contact with your loved ones. They’ll be happy to hear you’re doing well in your new area, and this type of positive interaction can affect your mental well-being. The last thing you want to do is leave them worried about you — and with no communication, that can happen.

An article in Psychology Today stated that everyone should remain in contact with friends and family after moving away. “Social support is related to psychological well-being,” the article states, “meaning that the more a person feels he has friends and family who are there for him, the less likely (she or) he is to feel depressed and anxious.”

For people who are in a new city, possibly all by themselves, friends and family have many avenues for communication in the 21st century. If you do your part to keep the door open — even through text message, a telephone call, or an online video chat — you’ll likely notice that your friends and family are happy to hear from you, which can bring you a similar, positive feeling. They can also feel more at ease about your move, which can result in family and friends being less overbearing and putting less pressure on you.