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What is Relocation Stress Syndrome? And how do you deal with it?

18th August 2023

Moving to a new place can be an exciting adventure with endless possibilities, but it can also bring its fair share of challenges. Whether you are moving alone, with your family, friends, or a partner, you may face the challenge of Relocation Stress Syndrome.

This blog will identify the symptoms of RSS, offering advice, tips and insights on how to deal with it. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or embarking on your first journey, keep reading to find out how to adjust smoothly to your new home.

What is Relocation Stress Syndrome?

Relocation Stress Syndrome, or Culture Shock or Adjustment Stress, is the feeling you may experience when moving to a new and unfamiliar environment. It’s fairly common to have these feelings, especially if you are moving by yourself.

Relocation stress syndrome typically occurs in phases. To begin with, you may have feelings of excitement and anticipation before the move. However, as you start facing the challenges of adapting to the new environment, you may enter a phase where the realities of the different cultures and lifestyles become apparent. Over time, with perseverance and adjustment, you can reach a phase of acceptance and adaptation, becoming more comfortable and integrating into the new culture. Relocation Stress Syndrome can last a couple of months or longer, or you may not experience it at all.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of relocation stress syndrome can vary from person to person, but they often include:

1. Feelings of homesickness and nostalgia for the familiar environment.
2. Anxiety, restlessness, and feeling overwhelmed by the new surroundings.
3. Difficulty in adapting to the local language and communication barriers.
4. Loneliness and a sense of social isolation due to being away from friends and family.
5. Irritability, mood swings, and emotional instability.
6. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns.
7. Loss of motivation and interest in activities previously enjoyed.
8. Confusion and frustration in understanding and navigating the new culture’s customs and social norms.
9. Physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues.

How can you deal with it?

There are several ways you can manage and overcome relocation stress. Here are our top 10 tips to try:

Acknowledge your Feelings

Recognise that feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or homesick is a normal response to a significant life change. Allow yourself to experience these emotions, and don’t try to suppress them; you could make it more difficult for yourself to settle down otherwise.

Seek Support

Contact local support networks, expatriate communities, or fellow expats who can understand and relate to your experiences. They can provide guidance, practical advice, and emotional support during the transition.

Maintain a Routine

Establish a daily routine with familiar activities and tasks. A routine can provide a sense of stability and control amidst the changes. Stick to regular mealtimes, exercise, and sleep schedules to promote a sense of normalcy.

Explore your New Surroundings

Take the time to explore your new city or town. Visit local landmarks, parks, museums, and markets. Engaging in activities that interest you can help you develop a connection to your new environment.

Learn the Language

If the local language differs from your own, consider taking language classes or using language learning apps. Learning the language can enhance your ability to communicate, integrate into the local community, and feel more confident in your surroundings.

Embrace the Culture

Immerse yourself in the local culture and customs. Attend cultural events, festivals, and try local cuisine. Being open-minded and willing to learn about and adapt; a new culture can foster a sense of belonging and facilitate social integration.

Stay Conntected with loved ones

Maintain regular communication with family and friends back home. Use video calls, social media, or messaging apps to stay connected. Sharing your experiences and feelings with loved ones can provide comfort and support during adjustment.

Take Care of Yourself

Prioritise self-care to reduce stress. Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies you enjoy. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest.

Set Realistic Expectations

Understand that adapting to a new environment takes time. Be patient and avoid putting pressure on yourself to feel wholly adjusted immediately. Celebrate small victories and progress along the way.

Seek Professional Help if Necessary

If relocation stress symptoms persist or significantly impact your daily life, seek professional help. A counsellor or therapist experienced in cross-cultural issues can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies tailored to your situation.


Remember, it’s normal to experience stress and adjustment when moving abroad. By actively engaging in these coping strategies and maintaining a positive mindset, you can navigate the challenges of relocation stress syndrome and gradually embrace your new life in a foreign country.

If you are looking to move abroad, you can contact us today on 01638 515 335, or fill out our contact form.