Before we moved last weekend, I thought that I had the art of finding happiness in a new place down to a science, which involved one thing:
Getting involved + right now = happiness
Going away to college followed by moving to Washington, D.C., were two of the biggest turning points in my life before our recent move from Arlington, Va., to Augusta, Ga. In order to prepare for this move, I found myself referencing how I handled both of those life changes, which started out as rough and turned out to be very successful, and thinking about how to apply them to this move. When I went away to college, I joined the campus newspaper right away, got a job at the library, and not only found the fitness center but also used it (!). When I moved to Washington, D.C., to start my career, I joined a gym and a kickball team.
I’m quickly learning that the process of not only preparing to move but building a life in a new place becomes more complicated the older we get. It must be because we put our roots down a little deeper as we acquire more things and more people in our lives. My lovely mother-in-law warned me last week that this is the last time that Nate’s and my life will fit in a few box trucks.
This is why I’m sharing not just one but 8 tips for kicking homesickness.
1. One word: unpack.
Bring some order to your living space, and make it look and feel like yours. You’ll see, in step five, why this should happen early on.
My home office is oddly my favorite space so far.
2. Stop calling your old home “home.”
I’m all about speaking things into existence. Here’s something that I’m going to speak into existence right now: Next time I move, the number of tips for getting settled in a new place won’t increase eightfold.
3. Get dressed, and go out in public where people are.
I’m really working hard to embrace the simplicity that is living in this region of the country and this city. However, y’all can’t deny the positive effects of putting on some makeup and real clothing.
4. Think of three of your favorite things from your old location. Find or create them in your new location.
Before I found enjoyment in running, I used to love my evening strolls in Arlington, Va. Nate and I strolled the Augusta Riverwalk at the end of our first full day here, last Sunday. I also met up with a running group Monday evening and jogged here. It’s no Mount Vernon Trail, but it’ll certainly do!
- Gym with Les Mills and/or barre classes – check
- Nail salon that does gel manicures – check
- Friends – in progress
Alternatively, think of what you weren’t able to have at your old location that you’ve always wanted. For us, it was a grill for making quick, easy, healthy dinners – check.
5. Take care of yourself. Eat well and exercise. There are proven positive effects of healthy eating on mental health (source: me over the past two years). If you’re like me and like your at-home exercise routines like the 21 Day Fix, you can now use all of that space to exercise instead of tripping over the Aggro Crag that is the pile of boxes in your living room.
6. Let people help you. Instead of pushing people away, draw them in.
I know that I need Nate in different ways from how I needed him when we lived in Arlington, Va. Not only is he:
- A mastermind at understanding how everything under the sun works, including being able to tell me from hundreds of miles away what button I pressed on the new remote control that turned off the cable box;
- An expert bug killer; and
- A budding mower of the lawn (and so many other things).
But he’s also a pair of open arms to embrace me when a palmetto bug (a.k.a. cockroach) scurries right past me across the garage floor.
7. Visualize what your future could look like in your new location. Dream big in regard to “what,” but be realistic in regard to “when.”
I may not live in the center of cause-related work anymore, but I still want to change the world. And I will, but it won’t happen overnight.
Short term (now/within the next month): I want to continue to help people to meet their health and fitness goals.
Intermediate (six months): I want to have a few acquaintances.
Long term (a year or more): I want to build a strong network of friends, buy a house in Evans, Ga., just north of Augusta within the next year or two and raise kids there.
8. Look for the good in things.
There are green trees and green grass and even better green curry (with chicken, mild).
In other news, I got a good mani-pedi Wednesday performed by a woman who has the same name my nail technician in Arlington – not at “home” but in Arlington.
I’d love to hear your strategy for kicking homesickness.