ESCAPE PLAN

The seven talks you can’t avoid

Psychologist Christine Atkins explains the seven most important issues to work through with friends and loved ones, before deciding on a regional move

   PHOTOGRAPHY: KAREN WEBB capturebykaren.com.au

1Will your new community support a range of job options? What would happen if you lost your job?  Being cut off from good friends and family can add to the distress when you lose a job.

2If you are educating children, does it have the educational choices you consider important for children, from kindergarten to secondary school and beyond? Feeling like you’ve taken the needs of the whole family into consideration will support a good adjustment to a new town.

3Distance between the old and new homes – can you easily visit your friends and family if you move and can they easily visit you? Is it affordable to visit whenever you choose? For example, do you have to fly or spend a lot of money on petrol to get there?  Where will you stay if you go back to visit family and friends and you need to stay overnight.  Access to your old home town will ease a sense of loss and help with adjustment to your new community.

4Will your new home have space for friends and family to visit you, for example, a sofa bed in the lounge or a spare room? If you’re not able to accommodate people in your new home, does your new town have accommodation options for visitors like a caravan park, holiday units or Airbnb options? This may not be a game changer, but just something to consider.

5If you have a partner, are you both ‘on board’ about the move? If one partner feels like they’re making a big sacrifice to accommodate the desire of the other, this will make the move more complex.  Moving home is a high stress event and the partner who hasn’t fully committed, will be more emotionally vulnerable than the partner who has been the driver of the move.  Being aware of this and providing more support for the vulnerable partner during the change process will contribute towards a more successful move

6Will your new town give you access to things you already enjoy in your down-time? For example, book clubs, sporting clubs, cinema, art gallery, library, environmental groups, other special interest groups?

7Are there supports for mental and physical wellbeing in your new town? Is there a psychologist or counsellor?  Are there personal trainers, naturopaths, and yoga teachers? These services can be vital to wellbeing and can also be part of a healthy transition to a new town. Making an appointment with a psychologist in the new town, or booking some yoga classes to coincide with your arrival, is likely to greatly facilitate a smooth move.

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