A secure attachment creates wellbeing, so it’s essential you bond with your new home. To create the right attitude for moving, psychologists recommend we “move towards” a location. That means avoiding too many adverse comparisons with your current home, such as the distance to walk to shops, the size of your property or availability of outside space. This can create negative feelings.
Instead, seek out things that remind you of home in your new place. It could be finding places that enable you to maintain your running habit or a local café that provides the type of coffee you’re used to drinking.
The quicker you can settle into a new place, the better, so always prioritise unpacking, whether your move is for the short or long term. Here are a few more tips to create an attachment to your new home:
1. Explore your surroundings
Finding out more about your new home will help create a sense of attachment. Exploring can be particularly helpful if you’re in unfamiliar surroundings and are finding things difficult. One expatriate describes moving to a new mountain area and feeling strange; getting out and having positive experiences in new surroundings helped.
2. Accept invitations to connect with local people
Saying ‘yes’ to invitations is part of “moving towards”. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will help you to get to know local people and build a new support network.
3. Find out about the local culture
Immersing yourself in the local culture will help you build a connection to a place. It is an important part of planting roots in your new home. You are not a tourist; this is your new home. You may discover things about the new places that resonate. Another expatriate describes feeling disconnected until they discovered the local artisans who were doing basket weaving. As an artist herself, it made her feel more at home.
4. Creating the right mindset
Accept that there will be culture shock and find ways of coping with it. Some companies offer support such as mindfulness sessions, which may help you tune in to how you are reacting to things and to become more accepting. Where this support is on offer, take advantage.
5. Creating community connections
The smallest, so-called micro-connections can help you feel like a local rather than a tourist. One way of doing this is to seek out people who are familiar in your new life. It could be as simple as finding a familiar face in the grocery store to say ‘hello’, or someone who regularly catches your train if you’re commuting to work. The smallest connections can grow into fulfilling friendships so always be open to meeting new people when settling in.
Want more relocation tips? Read on.