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How to Deal with “Relocation” Anxiety

By Jane Kennard September 07, 2023 Mindset

Are you considering relocating or are you in the process of relocating to downsize or be near family or let go of a house that has become unmanageable? Perhaps, due to health challenges, you are moving to an assisted living facility or retirement community. It can be a stressful, anxiety provoking time.

You may be leaving a home you have had for many years, friends and familiar things behind. Things may feel uncertain. You may be filled with anxiety and worry. This article will help you stay calm and get through the process.

I Went Through a Recent Relocation Myself

I left the moderate climate of central Ohio, where I had lived for 37 years, and moved to over 90-degree blazing hot sunshine. I’m now in Dallas, Texas with a sizzling summer nipping at my heels! This is NOT where a Canadian born woman should be!

The relocation was our decision. My daughter and her family, including my two grandsons, were reason enough to move just down the street from them in the Dallas area.

Despite family being a stone’s throw away, a new house and furniture and being an anxiety coach myself, I was empty emotionally and exhausted. Unpacking was a hurried frenzy. Feeling lost and sad, I frequently fought back tears, lost sleep, and doubted the move. What was I thinking!? Would I ever find myself again?

Come to find out, I was not alone. Relocating is a common experience for many post-retirement and aging adults. I’ve met several such folks here in Texas. Being close to family seems a shared underlying motivation. Other reasons include downsizing, preferring a different (warmer?) climate, being closer to medical facilities, or any number of changing needs that come with aging.

I was surprised to learn that there’s a name for the stress and anxiety of relocating. “Relocation Stress Syndrome” or “Transfer Trauma” is prevalent among seniors being uprooted from homes they have lived in for a long time (Companions for Seniors, 2021).

Any way you look at it, transitions like this are stressful and difficult. So, how can we manage this emotional experience with more calm and less anxiety and worry?

Here are 3 steps to take to stay calm and reduce your anxiety during relocation or any life event.

Identify the Source of Anxiety

Try thinking like an archeologist. Dig into the barriers and fears prompting tension. Get honest with yourself. This takes courage and commitment. What’s the worst thing that could happen in this situation? How true are these imagined outcomes, really? What sparks anxiety for you? Getting to root causes of worry will begin the process of releasing panic and dread.

Bring Chaotic Thoughts Down to “Zero”

After unearthing your worst fears, you are ready to make a change that will alter your life in worry-free ways. Throw out the anxious, obsessive, worrisome thoughts and welcome fresh positive thoughts. This will involve releasing self-judgment. Explore and practice various strategies and tools to create new ways of thinking that ease and transform anxiety.

Design a Plan to Combat Anxious Thinking and Become Stress Free

Developing a strategy for practicing anxiety-free functioning on a daily basis is critical. Create new routines for unwinding and recharging. Put a plan in place to calm yourself when challenges or stressful surprises pop up. When worry escalates, you will have a way to cope with it.

These 3 steps can help get you on the road to anxiety free living. You can do it! You can learn how to manage overwhelming stress and shift towards a life happening BY you instead of a life happening TO you. I invite you to try it.

Anxiety-free living is possible even in the middle of a giant relocation experience or anything else that life throws at you. If you are going through a time of anxiety due to relocation or anything else, you can find support right here.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you planning a move or some other serious life transition? How well are you coping with the anxiety? What has helped you overcome anxious emotions?

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I have relocated 3 times in my life. The first was from Scotland to London in the early 80s and where I met my husband. We decided to get out of London and moved to Scotland in 2004 to start a small company.

In my mid 50s I found myself relocating to Switzerland due to my husband’s work and the plan was to sell up and buy a small house in Switzerland. Unfortunately this couldn’t happen as our house suffered structural damage during a very bad winter almost 8 years ago, an issue ourselves and a number of other owners are still dealing with encompassing major investigations and court costs. To say this has been stressful whilst living overseas has been an understatement.

We return to Scotland on retirement in the next 2 or 3 years as Switzerland will be too expensive, but will relocate again as we don’t want to live in a house that has caused so much grief for us. We had a house in London that was flooded and had not expected to face another problem with a house, I guess it’s just bad luck all round.


We are thinking of moving to a smaller and safer community away from big city but also friends and community of 40 years. I worry about hubby’s poor health and that I will be left alone in a new place.


I am in the same situation as you. My husband and I are relocating to a warmer climate as we are sick of Colorado winters and high price of living! He is in bad health and Dr says he needs to be at a lower altitude for his breathing problems. I have the gut feeling he wont make it for very long but I am up to the challenge to pursue new friendships at local senior center and fellowship at a local church. Just keep telling myself (yourself) to stay positive, optimistic and things will fall into place all for the better. Good luck to you…


having just gone thru this act of relocating and dealing with the’s nice to know it has a name..that helps identify the feelings…and while the article was supportive, it really didn’t give direct help in overcoming angst..we all suffer from PtSD after covid..moving hasn’t helped…one needs more definitive ideas…

Carol Somasundaram

I loved this article and thought a few years away, it helped me start a conversation with myself about an eventual move to a senior community!
Thank you🥂👍🏼🤗

Catherine L

Gosh, this post sure resonates with me. I am a widow, 76 and in good health, but I have no children and no family. This makes relocation trauma doubly stressful and frightening for me. I don’t do well with change. I also do not drive strange places because of my driving phobia, especially on expressways, and my income is several thousand dollars above the poverty level so I am not eligible for much government financial support I’d otherwise receive. I don’t want to be alone in 10 years, so I am thinking about online dating. Gulp.
PS Everyone should watch the PBS documentary, “Aging in the US“. I learned some very important information I’d not previously considered. Gulp!


I’d suggest that you find local groups/clubs/activity centres for seniors before on-line dating.

The Author

Jane Kennard PhD, CPC is a Canadian born anxiety coach whose desire is to help women become anxiety free. Her purpose is to support women struggling with anxiety, overwhelm and worry learn how to live anxiety free. Find out more about her “Blueprint for Anxiety Immunity” Program and sign up for a free consultation at

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