One of my favorite topics to coach is place attachment. Place attachment is the connection we have to the place where we live. It’s whether you love where you live, or not. Admittedly, loving where we live can be a challenge, whether we’ve moved recently, been in the same place for 7 years (me!) or your whole life.
I enjoy listening to clients talk about their favorite places, where they used to go before they moved or in other towns: coffee shops, theatres, knitting stores, music festivals, and more. Then, I enthusiastically send them on a mission to explore their area and discover what’s around that’s maybe not the same but similar. When they discover something new and welcoming, I get to hear in their voice or read in a text joy that they discovered a new restaurant, for example, and their plans to go back. And then a wild joy sets in for me.
So, let’s start small. Because this will hopefully bring you joy, too.
If you haven’t moved recently and struggle with loving your place, this is for you, too.
Even if you’re unpacking and overwhelmed, do this anyway. It’s a simple formula.
Carve out time and call it self-care, because it is. Take a break, get out of the chaos, i.e. house, and explore.
Start close to home, if you’d like, near your neighborhood and work your way out towards the center of town. Let’s move beyond running errands and do something that brings you more happiness than Target. Extra bonus points given if can walk or bike.
Next, make a list of 3 to 5 places of interest that you’d like to check out. Which 1 can you visit in the next 3 days? Which 1 or 2 will you visit the following week?
And then, visit each place. While there, pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel comfort and welcome? Is this a place you want to return? If it is then heck yes, go back next week or tomorrow. The more we re-visit the same place, see the same people, the more rooted and connected we begin to feel.
If it isn’t, try another place. The time it takes to find your favorite places and feel acclimated is different for everyone and largely depends on how proactive you’re willing to be.
Being in the in between is a good place to be.
You may be feeling the in between. Attached to your previous place while you’re new place feels very new. Add to that, not knowing anyone yet. Meeting people and establishing friendships takes time. This is a perfect time to connect with yourself, lean into emotions and explore hobbies. Get creative. Try something new.
For suggestions, Relocation Recovery is the online guide that helps you work through your emotions and start loving your place faster. It’s condensed and easy to navigate, affordable and fun.
Melody Warnick, expert on place attachment and author of This Is Where You Belong, and I created Relocation Recovery because moving is hard and feeling calm, joy and rooted where we live is crucial.