Getting Settled and Connected in Your New Neighborhood

You’ve arrived, unpacked and begun to settle into your new home. Perhaps many of your arrangements have been made – schools have been selected for your kids, your new house or apartment is set up – but that doesn’t quite make it home…yet.

How long it takes to feel at “home” depends a lot on your circumstances. If you have relatives in the area, a company ” work family,” or memories of time spent nearby as a child, you’ll probably have a comforting sense of familiarity, even if you’ve just arrived. Or perhaps you feel a bit lost – knowing few, if any, people in your new town.

Relocating is stressful, and part of that has less to do with the boxes and arrangements than with the new relationships you’ll need to make, and, well, that feeling of ” home” that only time can deliver. So be patient, but be active in getting yourself out there and connected with others.

Is there a way to “fertilize the soil” a bit and get those “taproots” growing? Consider these tips:

  • Regularly do something new: Push yourself slightly beyond your basic comfort level. Coach yourself each week to do something you wouldn’t naturally do. This may be as simple as deciding to walk your dog every morning in a park crowded with pet owners instead of along lonely streets.
  • Volunteer: Community service and volunteerism may be one of the best ways to create meaningful new ties. Find opportunities through local volunteer organizations, community centers, work, churches, schools and nonprofit organizations, to name a few.
  • Join a club: Salsa dancing, rock climbing, chess? You name it. Join a club you are interested in. Immediately resume one or two activities you did before moving. You’ll immediately meet people with common interests.
  • Find a common-interest support network: If you have kids, look for a ” young families” group. A health condition? Try a local hospital for weekly support groups. Religious or faith traditions? Start looking for a new church or spiritual center.
  • Call someone new: If you have a friend who knows someone in your new town, call and connect with the friend of your friend and make a date to go for coffee. Invite someone over for tea.
  • Explore: Buy a map and start exploring. Or just get on a bus and let yourself be driven around. Exploring a new place is fun and you’ll start developing your favorite haunts – a true sign of home.
  • Start a new hobby: This is a great time to start something totally new. Always wanted to take a cooking class? Go for it. Take advantage of the new adventures and possibilities. You’ll meet friends with common interests along the way.

And a final note on relocating: the psychological aspects of moving to a new place are often underestimated. Allow yourself the slack to acknowledge and deal with your emotions. Give yourself time to adapt to your new community and to make and build connections and friendships.