Relocation: stress, adaptation and acceptance

Relocation: stress, adaptation and acceptance

Relocation is a process that many of us undergo during our lives. Sometimes relocation can be related to new professional opportunities, moving to another country, or simply a desire for a fresh start. Despite the potential benefits and opportunities associated with relocation, it can also cause stress and anxiety for people.

Relocation stress is a normal reaction to changes in our lives. We feel comfortable when the routine and environment remain the same. In a new place, we have to start over, make new connections and settle in. This can be difficult, especially for those who don't really like change and prefer stability.

During a move, a person goes through the following stages.

Stage 1. Honeymoon

After moving, migrants experience a brief period of bliss and pleasant excitement, usually lasting about two months. 

During this time:

  • the person gains new experiences and spends savings;
  • the applying country provides assistance and protection;
  • migrants become familiar with the culture and attract the attention of the locals.

Stage 2. Disillusionment

A fleeting sense of euphoria is met with harsh reality:

Immigration is not tourism, the rules of life have changed. There are new and unexplored responsibilities and difficulties in meeting basic needs.Migrants are homesick and feel lonely.

Conflicts may arise within the family due to different levels of acculturation:

  • Moving to another country is a fresh start.
  • Stress, doubt, and alienation can arise within the family because of cultural differences.
  • People may experience interpersonal conflicts, preferring the host culture over their traditional and native identity.

This stage of crisis lasts from six months to a year, after which the third stage begins.

3. The "adjustment" stage

The "adjustment" stage can take years as the person learns to navigate the new system, makes new acquaintances, learns the language and new laws, and searches for his or her place in society. During this period, the migrant may experience anger and frustration, and for many, this stage is so unbearable that they make the difficult decision to return to their home country. 

There are two key coping mechanisms for dealing with the stress of the "adjustment" stage:

  • Problem-focused coping
  • Emotion-focused coping, that is, working with problem conceptualization or emotional regulation.

Stage 4. Assimilation

In this stage, the person chooses one of four paths:

  • Abandoning the original identity for the sake of socialization with the dominant society.
  • Maintaining the original identity by trying to avoid socializing with the dominant society.
  • Becoming marginalized, not retaining one's original culture but not wanting to develop social relations with the dominant society.
  • To integrate into the dominant society, retaining one's identity but developing social relations with one's identity and wanting to develop social relations with the dominant society.

The latter option is considered the most successful way to integrate an individual into a new society.

How to make the process of adaptation easier for yourself?

  1. Do not change yourself. Act in a way that is comfortable for you.
  2. Think less about the past.
  3. Compare dreams and objective reality.
  4. Come up with rituals (actions that make you happy).
  5. Establish a routine and allow yourself to rest.
  6. Pay attention to your feelings.
  7. Expand your social contacts.

We have to adapt to many things, so take this process as an essential part of immigration.