Recently I decided to come visit my parents in Dallas, TX for two months before the start of my masters program. Moving to a completely new city has been exciting and really scary. I don’t know anyone here except for my parents so the days have been long and lonely. I’ve been battling with crippling anxiety as I simultaneously try to maintain long-distance friendships, a long-distance relationship, and meet new friends.
Here are some tips I have found to be incredibly useful during my stay.
1. Get Out of the House
While I love staying home alone, being locked up with no social activity for an extended period of time is a one way ticket to depression for me. It is absolutely okay to go to the same places regularly just to get some human interaction. I found that it is so refreshing to go to a nearby coffee shop to get coffee say hi to the baristas in the morning. It is absolutely okay to show your face every single day just to buy a coffee and say hello. It’s also a really nice way to get out and do some work in the morning.
2. Make Some Goals
It’s so easy for all your free time to go into Netflix, and playing Zelda. Trust me, I’ve learned it first-hand. Use your free time to learn a new skill, get a hobby, learn to cook, or read some of that forever growing TBR pile. It will help add some structure to your day and give you something to look forward to in your free time. Also, hobbies are a great way to meet a new, local community of people who are interested in the same things you are. Independent bookstores (and recently Barnes and Noble) often have their own book clubs, full of bookworms who would, most likely, be more than willing to talk about your latest read.
3. Try Online Friend-Making Apps
This is either hit or miss, but surprisingly a lot of people are in the same situation. Making friends as an adult is very hard. Use your intuition and take all the precautions you would when online dating (i.e. let someone know where you are, when, and with who). Other than that, the internet is a great way to connect to people who are also having a hard time making friends. I’ve been using BumbleBFF and have had some friend dates. While some will likely not lead to friendships, it’s a good way to get out and meet someone new. Especially if, like me, you have trouble going up to new people in real life and saying a simple “Hello.”
4. Have a Routine
This has been the hardest to implement, but perhaps the most helpful change I’ve made. It has helped motivate me to get out of bed in the morning and use my time wisely. This is especially helpful if you work from home, or are on break from school.
I, personally, have to have some sort of structure in my day. Having freely structured days has been nice, but has also produced a lot of anxiety. I feel like I am being unproductive and the time is just slipping away. Starting my day by hydrating, cleaning the house, then immediately heading out to get some work done gives me something to do the minute I wake up, which prevents me from staying in bed for an extra hour.
Keeping a daily planner has also helped tremendously. Make a daily to-do list to keep track of where your time is going. Don’t forget you can also use it as a place to write and check-in mentally and make sure you are doing okay.
5. Take Yourself Out On Dates
This is so important. Want to go see a movie? Go see it. Want to try a new restaurant? Treat yourself to some food. Most likely, no one will judge you for going alone. It’s important to get to know your new neighborhood and take some time to yourself outside of your home. Even if it’s as simple as a trip to the bookstore after work.
6. Make Sure You Are Taking Care of Yourself
Make sure you are sleeping, eating, and hydrating well. Especially if you live alone. If this starts to be hard, make sure to reach out to someone for help. Moving is a challenging process, but it is also a time to get to know yourself. Make sure you are taking care of your body, mind, and spirit throughout this new chapter.