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Navigating Change in New York City

Updated: Mar 27

Many clients come to therapy after a recent move to New York City. They are navigating countless changes that come with this transition, like leaving a familiar place and adjusting to a new environment, moving into a new apartment, making new friendships, and transitioning to a new job or finding work. These changes can bring on many different feelings. Moving to a new city can give us a sense of energy and hope for what’s to come. This excitement may also be mixed with a sense of overwhelm and chaos. We all approach these changes in different ways, and for many of us, it’s the sheer amount of change that can leave us feeling stuck, anxious, and uncertain.

A helpful place to start is by acknowledging how you’re feeling. Take a moment to check in with yourself and notice what emotions are coming up for you. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel about change. By noticing how you’re feeling, you can begin to take actionable steps that align with what’s important to you. Here are a few ideas of ways you can cope with the different feelings that come with this big life change.

moving to new york city

Establish a Routine

Creating day-to-day structure can be grounding amid the chaos and uncertainty of a big change. Incorporate time each day to spend doing something that brings you joy and relaxation.  That may look like setting aside time each morning to have a cup of tea and organize your to-do list. It may look like incorporating a midday pick-me-up like a walk outside to energize you to get through the day. It may include dedicating time each evening to spend doing an activity that you enjoy.

Find Connection

It’s natural to not feel immediately connected in a new city. Connection looks different for each of us, and after moving to a new place we may feel disconnected from our environment, our selves, and others. Remind yourself that it takes time, and start by doing something that feels reachable for you right now. This could look like exploring a cool shop or cafe in your neighborhood. It might look like reaching out to an old friend and catching up. It could also look like finding a local class or group connect with others who share a similar hobby or activity you enjoy.

Be Mindful

It’s common to feel pressure to “take advantage” of being in a new city. This can leave us feeling like we aren’t doing enough or question if we should do things differently. Spend time reflecting on where that pressure may be coming from. It might be a signal to step back and really acknowledge yourself for making this move. It can be a moment to recognize what you are already doing day-to-day and be mindful of the efforts you’re already making to care for yourself. It could be a chance to reflect on what’s important to you right now and commit to doing things that align with your values.

Celebrate Your Efforts

Know that adjusting to this transition is a process and takes time. Reflect on how this time of change can be an opportunity to lean into your resilience. Shifting your perspective can encourage you to embrace these challenges and celebrate the efforts you’re making to navigate change in a new city, one day at a time! 

By: Madison Bischof

Mental Health Counseling Intern

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