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#AskAthena: I've Moved to a New City for a Fresh Start but Feel like It Was a Mistake. Help!

‘I’ve tried to be positive. HELP! What can I do?’

Our self-help columnist Athena Laz works with women worldwide, helping them to reclaim their lives. This week, she answers: I’ve Moved to a New City for a Fresh Start but Feel like It Was a Mistake. Help!

Q:

Hey Athena! I just moved to a new city, which was one of my biggest goals (something that I didn’t think I could do). But now I’m worried and scared about finding a job. I’m starting to feel like it was a mistake. It’s a new place. I don’t know anybody. I don’t know places to go and it’s scary doing things (or going out) on my own.

I wanted a fresh start but now I’m feeling like it’s going to be the same in the new city as it was in the old one (even with work).  I’ve tried to be positive. HELP! What can I do? – Michelle

A:

Dear Michelle,

You’ve braved going on a new adventure and crossed off a major goal through leaping into the unknown of moving to a new city! That said, moving cities is a huge undertaking and so it is absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed, scared and insecure.  The main thing that I would recommend would be speaking to a therapist during your process of adjustment. You don’t have to feel alone during this time. If that is not possible for you, then try and work on your perspective.  Ever heard the saying, ‘wherever you go, there you are’? Well, that’s because your perception is the filter through which you experience everything.  If this new place is starting to feel like the old one, then you need to look at how you are perceiving things.  So let’s work on your perspective.

 As I read your question, three main focus areas pop up

  1. Stepping out of your routine
  2. Feeling alone
  3. Finding work

Let’s reframe these three focus areas:

  1. What do you love to do and what attracted you to this new city in the first place? Write a list of what you want to do and experience. Now, think of how you incorporate that into your life in ways that make you feel emotionally safe. So if you don’t like eating out alone, maybe grabbing a coffee is a less overwhelming option.  Being alone is only a barrier if you allow it to be one.
  2. In order to meet people and connect, you will need to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Can you think of ways to do this? This is really a process of trusting that you can handle yourself and that the process can be an enjoyable one. This also doesn’t need to be a massive leap. Maybe it’s as simple as introducing yourself to your neighbours. You’ll have to think about what’s best for you.  Lean into supporting yourself through bite-sized, manageable steps that you map out for yourself.
  3. If you are replaying a pattern related to finding and keeping work, it may be rooted in something deeper than this Q&A can offer. My recommendation is to work with a licensed professional who can help you to see what your underlying commitment may be. (You can also read this).

Lastly in any period of adjustment it is helpful to take action in ways that can help you to feel better in the immediacy, like having a having a stress-free morning routine and actively practicing more self-care.

Take care,

Athena Laz

You can follow Athena on Instagram here and see more of her work at Athenalaz.com.  You can also receive her free video course, designed to help you develop positive self-talk.   If you have a question for Athena, e-mail  her here.

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