Sunday, 16 October 2011

Coping with loneliness after a relocation

Certainly most people I have spoken with about the impact of relocating have felt lonely until they connect with their new community. Some commonalities are self soothing by comfort eating and comfort wine drinking. Even when we know these things are not good for us long term, it is hard to resist the pull of an immediate fix when you are in the midst of a situation where you fell you have little control.

For several months after we relocated to Calgary I volunteered to foster dogs. When I told a friend via phone that I was fostering, I hear a quick intake of breath on the other end and I quickly piped up to reassure her I was fostering dogs, not children, while I was in a vulnerable emotional state!

Below is one of the foster dogs we had for about four months. Because she had some health issues she was not quickly adopted. Poor little thing arrived in Calgary from Mexico when it was freezing cold, what an adjustment. Think she felt as lost as the rest of us.

We called her GG (for good girl). She came with the name Princess but had no affinity for it and it was not at all suited to this little dog who proved to be a spunky survivor. Despite us falling in love with her, we could see she was not lively enough for a family with small children. I am happy to report she was adopted by the perfect lady who travels with GG in her motor home and took her to live on Vancouver Island- not Mexico weather, but warmer winters than here.

Fostering the dogs helped me feel useful and of course provided great companionship. What other things have you done to help you adjust to a new city after relocating? I'd love to hear.


  1. What a great way to cope with loneliness after moving and making a difference at the same time. I think when we help others, we end up feeling better ourselves. I'm hoping to volunteer walking dogs at the Humane Society in Munich. I also find joining clubs from the beginning a good way to meet people and give myself a sense of purpose. I love, where you can search for clubs around the world.

  2. GG looks so sweet! What a wonderful way to ad some joy to your home.

  3. What a great way to cope with the loneliness of moving to a new place. Dogs give such unconditional love! I have just read a great book called "Walk a hound, lose a pound" and in it they talk about some of the other benefits (besides getting fit and losing weight. People see dog owners in a very different light and are more likely to come up and start talking with you b/c they think dog owners are friendlier, etc. It has certainly been the case since we've had a dog - we walk him at our local mall (it is designed like a town centre where you walk outside for most of the mall).

  4. It is true that others will stop and chat with you about the dog. It was also helpful for the kids who of course had no friends at first.