Happiness

7 Tips to help Adjust to Life a New City

Good morning!! Man, this blog has been neglected. I wrote the text purple TWO months ago and haven’t come back to it since. Since moving to Charlotte, things have felt pretty hectic. Despite being here two months, this past week was the first week that has felt a little “normal.” I think I expected the adjustment to be easier since I really wanted to move to Charlotte and had for a while, and it wasn’t that far from Winston-Salem. But it’s been kind of rough. And that’s hard to admit since I very much like to think that I change and adventures. But it’s been really lonely and disorienting. I always tell myself it takes 6 months to get your groove in a new job, so it probably takes a year to adjust to a new city…so while I definitely think I’m still adjusting and will be for a while, a few things that I’ve been focusing on have really helped.

And I’m so happy that I waited to share this post because I have better tips to share now that I’m actually feeling adjusted to life in Charlotte after being here almost 4 months, and I’m much happier. Plus, the reason my blog has been so neglected is that life has been so full of great things in Charlotte; my time has been filled with fun outings and less time for blogging. I’ve made some good friends, I’m loving the city and just feeling really grateful for how great life is.

This post is long but I hope you find it useful if you’re considering moving or recently moved!

1. Follow your old routine

When I first moved, my workout schedule and eating habits were allll over the board. I was staying up late, waking up late after hitting snooze for an hour, missing the gym, and then working out at night, eating late, working almost every night, and just feeling like I had no time in my day to get anything done or, more importantly, for some down time or time to go out and do some things to meet friends!

So, I started to make a concerted effort to get in bed at my “normal pre-move” time and wake up to work out in the morning. I walked Maizey right after work and then made dinner, which is the routine I followed in Winston. And I’ve tried to not work at night unless I really, really needed to. Getting back on my normal routine has made life feel much more manageable and I feel like myself again. And it also left more time in the evening so I could …. (See #3)

2. Say “yes”

I have been SO lucky that I had a small group of built-in acquaintances because of the blog and multiple blog readers have reached out. I can be borderline introverted (no one who knows me in real life believes it, but it’s true), so it can be hard for me to say yes to things where I don’t know people or don’t have a friend to go with. But I’ve forced myself to say yes when invited to things because I’m seriously so lucky that I got invited out so quickly since moving here and of course, I’ve had an awesome time whenever I’ve said yes.

One reader, Jeannette (who is just about the loveliest and warm-hearted person I’ve ever met), invited me to a Charlotte Running Club event where she was able to connect me to some other runners who run at my pace. I’ve been running with Paula on a fairly regular basis, who is an incredible runner, and just a really fun, happy person in general, and I never would have met her if I hadn’t said yes when Jeannette invited me out. (Side note: Paula is serious running inspiration – definitely check out her blog. I mean, just check out her race times…um yeah.)

Another blog reader, Hilary, emailed me to invite me out for coffee right after I moved here. Turns out we both work at the same company and have a million things in common. She has been an incredible friend and made me feel like I have a “person” I can turn to in the city.

My coworkers have also been great. I’m so lucky that I LOVE my job and have great coworkers and really enjoy hanging out with them. Many of them have invited me to dinner and weekend happenings. It’s so great when your coworkers can be friends too.

3. Be proactive and make plans

Now that I have a group a friends, I’ve been the one reaching out and asking people to go do things. I just organized a book club (which we all know will also be a wine club) and when I see something that intrigues me, I immediately see if Hilary wants to go. It’s great when one of your friends is also a “say yes” friend.

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4. Focus on the things you miss and seek them out

I’ve tried to think of the things I miss most about Winston and tried to find them or recreate them in Charlotte: my old running route, my daily trips to Krankies Coffee, my neighbors, my friends, the sense of community and seeing people I know almost everywhere. So I made an effort to discover those here:

  • Running friends – plenty of options for group runs in a bigger city!
  • Pretty neighborhoods – oh man, there are some gorgeous places in Charlotte. I want to buy allthehouses in Elizabeth.
  • Great running routes – running with others has helped with this! I love running Plaza Midwood, the Country Club area, Dilworth and Elizabeth. I also had a friend invite me out for a trail run at the White Water Center which was really fun!
  • A sense of community – I’ve made an effort to stop and talk to people in my neighborhood when I’m out walking Maizey and that’s helped a lot.
  • Pure Barre – that was an instant dose of familiarity!

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And, when all else fails, visit your old town and let yourself love it. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to visit Winston a lot for happenings with friends and to see a guy I’ve been dating (OF COURSE I MEET A GUY IN WINSTON-SALEM RIGHT AFTER I DECIDE TO MOVE. OF COURSE. I even tried my hardest not to go out with him…hahaha. I’m glad my friends insisted.)

5. Focus on the new things your city offers that the old one didn’t.

Charlotte always has something going on; I find there are too many things I want to do and not enough time! Group runs, so many great breweries, so much good coffee, live music, professional sports, so many great running routes. And FOOD people. ALL THE GOOD FOOD.

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Finding locals who are in the know are great for finding out about all the great things your city offers. Charlotte Agenda is AWESOME for this. Seriously obsessed. AND, I finally got to meet Katie at a Charlotte Agenda event after like, 5 years, of “knowing” each other through blogging but never actually meeting!

Plus, Charlotte simply has more people. I feel like I have more friends in four months in Charlotte than I did for the first year I lived in Winston. It’s easier to make friends in a place where there are simply more people to meet! 🙂

6. Focus on why you moved in the first place

When it seems like everything is awful and you hate the city and you have no friends and blah blah blah, focus on why you moved in the first place. I primarily moved for my job and that has been a GREAT thing to be in Charlotte. I also moved so I could have the experience of living in a bigger city on my own and I had to remind myself that everything I was feeling was fulfilling on that desire. Alllll the emotions and experiences were alllll part of it. ha!

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7. Give yourself some grace

That’s the best tip my close friend Meg (who also happens to be a life coach) gave me. Just give myself some grace. On top of the move, I had some stressful family stuff going on and some stressful stuff with my house and it was just a lot to take in and deal with at once. I had to remember that everything WILL be okay eventually, and sometimes there are intense bursts of stress, but wow, what a quick opportunity to learn and grow a lot in a short period of time. And I had to be patient with myself and not feel like a failure for not feeling like a rock star with the move.

What tips do you have for adjusting to life in a new city? Have you ever struggled with that?

One last thing: huge thank you to my friends and family who had to listen to my somewhat (okay, very) violent diatribes about how much I hated Charlotte for 2+ months and my insistence that I WILL NOT LIKE IT I WON’T I WON’T I WON’T. I’m glad they gave me advice to give it time…they were right. 🙂

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  • Anne
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    First of all, I am so so glad you are adjusting well to Charlotte.as someone who also loves to move and legs change, at the same time it’s definitely never easy and there’s a lot of work!

    Your points about saying yes and being proactive could not be more critical. What I have found is that when you are new, you have to establish that you normally say yes to things otherwise, people who don’t know you very well, think that’s how you always are!

    It’s so important to be the one to do instead of just saying let’s get lunch actually makes the plans. For me that has made all the difference in the world!

  • Sam @ Pursuit of Healthy Happiness
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    Teri,

    These are awesome tips! I moved to Philly nearly two years ago and I didn’t know a soul! (Besides my boyfriend who I live with). These tips are all true for Philly too. While I missed Cleveland, I focused on the things I loved about Philly like the parks, coffee shops, and the fact that it’s such a dog-friendly city. The one tip I would add is to get lost. Drive around without using a GPS, roam the city streets. I found so many gems by doing this!

    Great post and thanks for sharing!

  • Chrissie
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    I love this! I moved to Charlotte without knowing anyone and hated it for a while. It definitely took me a few months to get in my groove and now I love it! I also want to buy all the houses in Elizabeth (I wish I could afford them!)

  • Jeannette
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    I was so excited to hear you had moved to Charlotte. Thank you for your words. You are a very sweet and fun loving friend and I’m so glad you are here!!!

  • Laura
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    I’m so glad you posted this! I’ll be moving to a new city in 2 months and even though I’ll only be there for a year, it will still be an adjustment. I’m a big introvert too, so I’m going to have to remember to say yes! Glad you are loving your new life in Charlotte 🙂

  • Sunn
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    This was kiiiind of an awesome read because I also just moved to CLT alone a few months back. It definitely is an adjustment! And I’ll have to check out Charlotte Agenda 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Oh man, that makes me feel better that you found it an adjustment too! I hope you’re enjoying it here now! The better weather has definitely helped things!

      • Sunny
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        Agreed! The sunshine has been glorious. You’ll have to update on if the book club goes well, I was thinking of trying to put together one too. It seems like a good way to get in some good reads, good vino, and keep meeting new folks. I just read Girl on the Train – totallyyy recommend as a book club pick!

  • Courtney
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    So glad you’re having fun now!! I want to come visit! And for the record, I’ll listen to violent diatribes of yours any day of the week <3

  • Caitlin
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    My little sis is about to move to Charlotte! I am totally sending her this post, thank you!

  • Amanda - RunToTheFinish
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    we are gearing up for yet another move and while it’s exciting, it’s also hard. I work from home and have found it much harder to make the friends than I realized. Or maybe it’s that I enjoy the new people, but definitely still miss those who just knew me for so long that conversation flowed so easily.
    great tips!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Good luck with your move!! Making new friends is really tough even when you work at an office, so I’m sure it’s doubly hard being at home!

  • Jenna
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    I’m so glad you’re loving Charlotte now! And I’m also happy to hear that I’m not the only one who has a hard time after making a big change. Any time I’ve wanted to switch jobs, it’s always so rough in the beginning and I hate it at first, but then it always gets better and ends up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m sure whenever I finally get the opportunity to move, I’ll go through that same awkward stage and hate it at first, but you’re right… you just have to hang in there and give it time. I agree that saying yes to things is a great way to force yourself to experience new things and meet people. I’m also an introvert and totally understand the struggle! 🙂 I loved everything about this post!!

  • Meg
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    This was such a great post. Moving is so hard… even when it’s for exciting things like new job opportunities! I wish I had this post when I was moving to Baltimore so many years ago… but I’m so happy you’re getting in a groove and feeling a little more content in your new city. But I’m also equally happy you have plenty of reasons to come back here to visit. 🙂

  • Jacky
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    I will be moving soon and I think I will try it your way when I am already there and have to adapt. I hope it won’t take long though…