Psychological Effects of Moving Frequently

December 3, 2021Moving Tips
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

How does moving a lot affect a person? If you’re someone who moves often, chances are that you already know the answer to this question. But if you are preparing for relocation or just got a job that will require frequent moves (such as the military), you’re probably wondering about the psychological effects of moving frequently. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Don’t Neglect All the Benefits of Relocation

Before we move on to all the potentially negative emotional effects of moving often, let’s not forget about all the benefits and great reasons to move. For example, you may have just landed a better job with a higher salary. Or maybe all that house hunting has finally paid off, and you managed to buy your dream home. Or perhaps you’re relocating for love and will get the chance to be closer to your significant other. So why is moving good for mental health? Because a change for the better, although stressful, is bound to improve your quality of life.

Even if none of the reasons listed above are why you’re relocating, there will still be many benefits you’ll get to enjoy. Just think about all the friends you will meet, places you’ll visit, or local specialties you’ll try. You might even get to know yourself better and grow as a person.

A woman happy after getting car shipping services
Getting a better job or a bigger place will have positive effects on your psyche

Frequent Relocation May Have Negative Consequences on Your Psyche

Unfortunately, despite all the positive changes a relocation can bring into your life, the process itself is inevitably difficult – seriously, a stress-free move is as rare as a unicorn. This is because organizing a move involves a long list of tasks. From choosing a relocation company and figuring out which services to book to gathering (and applying) packing tips and, when the time comes, preparing for movers and the big day.

Needless to say, some circumstances can further complicate the whole thing – for instance, if you’re relocating with pets, are planning to move last-minute, or are about to move with kids. Now imagine having to do all that over and over again, never being able to put down roots, form long-term relationships with others, or get used to the new environment. All of it would inevitably have certain consequences on anyone’s mental health. But what exactly are these consequences and how can you prevent them? Let’s take a look.


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Adapting to Changes Is Always Difficult

The biggest challenge of relocation and usually the main culprit behind anxiety about a move is the simple fact that humans are not always great at adapting to changes. And this gets even more difficult as we age and become set in our ways. Sure, we all yearn for freedom and new experiences, but our subconscious minds also see these as potential threats. For this reason, a relocation to a new city can often result in issues such as adjustment insomnia or even depression after a move.

Luckily, according to Psychology Today, there are ways to train your mind to adapt to changes more easily. Here are some of the most useful tips:

  • Reach out to others. Making friends in a new city might be difficult, but it will do you good in the long run.
  • Don’t resist new things. One of the biggest mistakes after a move you can make is digging your heels in and resisting anything different from what you’re used to.
  • Express your feelings. Talking about how the whole ordeal is making you feel is important for mental health. If necessary, consider finding a therapist.
  • Stay positive. It may sound like the biggest cliche, but focusing on the positive side of things is one of the best ways to survive this period.

Your Relationships Might Suffer

It is often difficult for adults to meet new people. But if your life is just a long line of moves, keeping in touch with the friends you already have will be a challenge, too. Sure, there are apps you can use to have video calls, and visiting each other might be an option, but the truth is – life can get busy and people often fall out of touch with one another. In other words, you will have to put conscious effort into keeping in touch with long-distance friends. And if you need a few tips on how to do that, check out the video below.

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What Psychological Effects of Moving Frequently Do Kids Feel?

Is moving around too much bad for kids? If you’re not planning to move to another state alone but actually have children that will accompany you, you will need to consider the psychology of relocation for their sake, too. Sure, figuring out how to move safely, especially if you’re relocating during coronavirus, will be on the top of your list of priorities, and that’s understandable. But don’t forget that children are just little people, and everything that affects you, affects them, too. So if you’re wondering – Can moving a lot cause trauma in kids, the answer is yes – unless you prevent it on time.

Moving to a New Place Is Not Much Easier for Them

It is a commonly known fact that kids adapt to life changes and befriend others more easily than adults. But that doesn’t mean that relocating often won’t affect them. The exact way how they respond to such stressors depends on many factors, including their age, social skills and habits, their understanding of what is going on exactly, and so on. For some children, frequent relocation will be an opportunity to become more sociable and independent. For others, it will push them to become shy and scared of unfamiliar people and experiences.

The important thing to do as a parent is to openly talk to them – explain why they have to say goodbye to their peers again and ensure they understand that you are there to support them no matter what. And most importantly, a crucial thing to do after the move is to observe their behavior. If you notice changes for the worse, such as more aggression, pent-up anger, or overreaction to minor inconveniences, that is a surefire sign your child needs help coping with such a significant life change.

A girl stressed over having to move cross-country
Your child can start feeling lonely and isolated due to frequent moves

Making New Friends Is the Best Cure for Relocation Depression

Whether we’re talking about adults or kids, the best cure for dealing with the effects of frequent relocation is to embrace these changes, put yourself out there, and mingle with others. Sure, these friendships might only be temporary, but that doesn’t make them any less valuable or important. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Get Out There

We don’t have to tell you that you’ll never meet anyone if you don’t leave the house. So the first task to tackle after the move to a new home is to consciously put yourself in social situations. Find something you like – sign up for a class, join a club, volunteer, or attend events. Simply being around people will significantly increase your odds of meeting others.

Turn to the Virtual World

If you’re worried about being near crowds during the coronavirus pandemic, we can’t blame you. Luckily, you can always turn to social media to find like-minded people who live in your area. Needless to say, when the time finally comes to meet them in person, your top priority is to be safe – you never truly know who’s on the other side of the screen.

Networking Is Not Only for Professional Purposes

Do any of your existing friends know anyone in the area you just moved to? If so, ask them to introduce you. Having a mutual friend can be an excellent conversation starter. Plus, you get to skip having to comb through a bunch of strangers you’re not really clicking with.

Turning Acquaintances Into Friends

Think about the people you run into often but whose names you might not even know. What about that neighbor who always waves and says hi? Or how about your coworkers? Maybe the parents of your kid’s classmates? Don’t be afraid to reach out to them – they’ll likely be receptive, and you have nothing to lose anyway.

Becoming Proficient in Relocations Will Lower Your Stress Levels

Adjustment is a big factor in the stress you feel every time you move, but it’s not the only one. Another thing that likely influences your moods and emotions is the relocation process itself. Luckily for you, practice makes perfect, and since you move often, you’re bound to become a pro eventually.

Knowing exactly what to expect and how to deal with all the move-related tasks is sure to make the process much easier. So the next time you start preparing for a move, come up with an extensive relocation to-do list. It should contain every single task, no matter how big or small, from checking if the relocation company you chose is legitimate to deciding what to get rid of. If you’re planning on booking car shipping services (be it an open trailer or the more costly enclosed auto transport), don’t forget to prepare the car for shipping, too.

Having such a list will do two things – firstly, it will make the process of organizing everything quicker and more straightforward. And secondly, a visual representation of the progress you’re making as you check off one task after the other will do wonders in calming your nerves.

Exploring Your Surroundings Will Help You Feel at Home

Regardless of where you’re going, with your lifestyle, it is unlikely you’ll stay in one place for long. It might be a couple of months or a year, but either way, you’ll have to pack your bags and move again soon enough. However, don’t let that discourage you from getting to know your next temporary home.

Allow yourself to be a tourist – visit all the nearby attractions, attend events, check out museums and art galleries. Research the area’s restaurants, bars, and theaters. Sure, you won’t stay here forever, but you can still use the time you have to the fullest.

The Walters Art Museum in Amsterdam
Be a tourist and go sightseeing to get to know the area

Taking Care of Yourself Should Be a Top Priority

Regardless of the kind of person you are or how used you are to frequent moves, going through such a complex process over and over again is bound to affect you to some degree – such is the psychology of relocation. For that reason, it is important to remember to put yourself first – if your mental health is suffering, all the opportunities in the world won’t be enough to make up for it. Don’t refrain from reaching out to a therapist if you feel the need to talk to a professional. And if relocating so much becomes unbearable, consider introducing some crucial lifestyle changes and putting down roots for once.

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