How to Cope With Relocation Depression

Updated on April 25, 2019
Shaunta Grimes profile image

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is the original Ninja Writer.


Relocation Depression Is Real

In November, my family packed up a U-Haul truck and two cars, and we moved from Reno, Nevada to the little town in Northwestern Pennsylvania where my husband grew up.

I have lived in the desert all of my life. I'm a used to 350 or so days of sunshine a year, even in the winter when it is cold and snowy. Pennsylvania in the winter is overcast and dreary in a way that I've never experienced before.

Moving away from my friends and family, my home, the weather I'm used to . . . it all piled up and resulted in a solid case of relocation depression that lasted the whole winter.

What Relocation Depression Looks Like

For me, relocation depression looked like this:

  • I gained fifteen pounds, despite my weight being stable for years. I coped with my depression by eating comfort food and especially sweet treats.
  • I stayed up way too late because I couldn't fall asleep.
  • I had trouble waking up in the morning. Partly because of my insomnia, but also because I'm used to sunshine in the morning and there were weeks on end with such heavy overcast that my brain had trouble registering that it was actually morning.
  • I dove headfirst into work. I've always been something of a workaholic, but this went beyond anything I've experienced before. I started losing myself in work to avoid my heavy homesickness.
  • Since I work from home, I started hiding away from the world. Days would go by where I never left the house.

Getting Better Starts With Understanding There's a Problem

One day, in early spring, my husband asked me what I wanted to do. He was concerned about me spending sometimes 22 or 23 hours a day in our bedroom, buried in my work or sleeping.

I wanted to go home. Back to Nevada. Back to the desert. Back to my life.

But that wasn't an option. Just acknowledging that I wasn't coping well with our move helped me to see that I needed to make some changes to help myself deal with my relocation depression.


See a Professional

My first step was to make a doctor's appointment.

I don't have a history of depression, and even though I felt homesick and sluggish and unhappy--I wasn't having any suicidal ideation or other severe depression symptoms.

My doctor didn't think I needed medication, but he did suggest vitamins D and B12. He also prescribed thirty minutes of exercise a day.


Eat Well and Exercise

I spent the first months after my move eating a lot of heavy, comforting, fatty, sugary food. Homemade macaroni and cheese, grilled sandwiches, cookies, and on and on. I also made a lot of homemade Mexican food to make myself feel better about the lack of Western food I was used to.

My first substantial change, in my quest to feel better, was to start eating less fat and sugar and more fresh food. Just paying more attention and being aware of what I was eating made a huge difference.

I also took my doctor's advice and started going on a thirty-minute walk every day, even when I had to bundle up against the bitter early-spring cold.

These two changes made a huge difference. My weight stabilized and has started to reduce. And I'm considerably happier after spending some time out of doors. My rule is to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day.


Prioritize Sleep Hygiene

My sleep got so off kilter when we moved.

I didn't realize how important the sun was to my sleep/wake pattern until I went months without it. Most mornings this winter were so overcast that it was impossible to see the sun. So instead of waking up with sun filtering through my curtains, I woke up groggy and disoriented much later than I was used to.

As a result of sleeping so late, I stayed up too late, and often had trouble falling asleep at all.

Getting my sleep habits back on track was an important part of combating my Relocation Depression. I started by making myself go to bed half an hour earlier every two or three days until I was back to my regular bedtime.

And I replaced my curtains with lighter sheers that would allow whatever sun there was in the morning to come through.

I also stopped eating a few hours before bed, which kept me from having digestive issues that kept me awake at night.

Meet People

A huge step for me was making myself get out of my house and into my new community.

I work from home and own my own business, so for the first time in my adult life I'd made a big move without school or work as a built-in method for meeting people. I needed to figure out a different way.

For me that looked like finding a church to join, looking for meet-ups of people who shared my hobbies, and overcoming my natural shyness to just say hello to my neighbors.

Questions & Answers

  • Did you check out Meetup in your area?

    I live in a very small town without any co-working spaces. I've actually thought about trying to start one. I'll give Meetup a look.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)