How To Cope When Moving Away From Friends and Family

How To Cope When Moving Away From Friends and Family

Moving away from friends and family can be a difficult and lonely experience. Maintaining long-distance relationships might seem like a big hurdle. The effort can feel even more overwhelming when adjusting to all the other changes associated with a move. Here are some helpful tips on how to cope with these challenges.


Technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with someone far away. Learn to use the tools you have available to keep previous relationships intact. Set aside time to call, text, or video chat with your loved ones. Even a few seconds to pass along a funny meme or TikTok can spark a smile. Pick up a postcard from your new location and jot a message while you’re out. If you have a quiet afternoon, try writing an old-fashioned letter or email. There are plenty of ways to maintain established connections with those you’ve left behind. The only limit is your creativity!

Long-distance relationships can feel different from in-person interactions. The transition from face-to-face conversations to phone calls can be difficult, especially when you’re the one moving. The change can be even harder when you don’t know anyone in your new area. That’s why it’s important to have emotional support available to you during a move.

If you’re exhausted at the end of a busy day, talking to a close friend or family member will help you feel less alone in a new environment. Maintaining these connections can be an essential foundation as you build new relationships. We can’t promise it will be easy, but try to keep in touch.


Building new connections takes time and energy, two things you may not have in excess after a move. Find ways to put yourself in situations where you can easily meet new people with similar interests. Some suggestions for how to do this include:

  • Join a local gym or recreation center.
  • Take a small gift to your new neighbors and introduce yourself.
  • Go with coworkers to lunch or after-work activities.
  • Sign up for PTA or other parent groups at your child’s school.
  • Search for a neighborhood Facebook group you can join.

Being intentional and active in making new relationships can be tiring. As you make new friends and begin to feel at home in a new community, the payoff can be rewarding.


It is common to experience sadness, loneliness, anxiety, or depression after moving to a new area. One of the best ways to cope when you feel particularly low is by boosting the “feel-good” chemicals in your body. Dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin are all chemicals your brain releases that can boost your mood. Some of the activities that can help bring joy and peace on a sad day include:

  • Going for a walk or some other type of exercise.
  • Eating a delicious meal.
  • Spending time with your pet.
  • Taking a shower or bath.
  • Listening to music.
  • Watching a comforting TV show/movie
  • Getting a comforting physical touch, like a hug or holding hands.
  • Accomplishing a goal or trying something new.

Just because you moved somewhere new doesn’t mean you can’t do the things that make you happy. Make a list of activities that bring you joy. If you find yourself struggling with loneliness or missing loved ones, choose an activity to boost those happy chemicals. Often, when you feel low, it can be hard to get motivated to do anything. Making a list ahead of time may help you follow through when you most need it. If you need a little extra motivation, make it a game. Take your list and some scissors. Cut out each activity into strips of paper and put those strips into a jar. You can pull a strip out at random when you need a boost.


Coping skills are helpful, especially during a time of transition. Sometimes, however, they’re not enough on their own. Many people who experience a significant life change experience something called adjustment disorder. Some common symptoms of adjustment disorder are:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, or not enjoying things you used to enjoy.
  • Frequent crying.
  • Worrying or feeling anxious, nervous, jittery, or stressed out.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Difficulty functioning in daily activities
  • Withdrawing from social support systems.
  • Avoiding important things such as going to work or paying bills.
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help. Reach out to your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist. Licensed therapists have the training to help you with issues like adjustment disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Having a difficult time after moving away from friends and family is not uncommon. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone. There are several resources and techniques available. Find helpful resources that will teach you how to get through hard times. Use technology to stay in touch and begin building new relationships. Lastly, don’t forget to lean on those coping skills when needed.