Why it's scary: Adjusting to a new house and finding schools, doctors, and stores—not to mention friends—is time-consuming, but it's the emotional tumult of a move that's the real stressor. "We don't realize just how much of our identity is tied up in where we live," says Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., a relocation expert from Seattle and author of Making the Big Move (New Harbinger).
How to deal: Look at the move as an adventure requiring research. "Wherever you go, ask strangers to tell you what they love about the area to get clues about where you can start putting down your own roots," says Goodwin. Several years ago, Rebecca Bell Sorensen had to move unexpectedly from New York to Minneapolis when her husband took a new job. By pushing herself to talk to people, Rebecca quickly learned what the city had to offer. "The 'discovery' attitude definitely worked for me," she says.
Instant sanity-saver: Take a short-term class instead of committing to a particular social group, and don't try to become immediate best friends with everyone you meet. Each day, look for little sources of simple comfort, like a bakery that makes the same kind of croissants you loved back home or a hobby you enjoy in your spare time.