I shared recently about my plan to move from Philadelphia to Denver next month. It’s something I’ve been contemplating and talking about for close to 2 years. But that doesn’t make it any easier. When I first moved to Philadelphia, fresh out of college, the first year was tough. I was in a new place with no friends and no connections. Over the first year, I met some wonderful people, found a great job, and a place to call home. But it all took time.

I’m anxious about having to start that process all over again in a new city. I believe I’m most happy when I have deep, meaningful relationships in my life, but those just take time. Seasons need to pass, memories need to be made, favorite spots to eat and drink need to be discovered. Laying the foundation can sometimes leave me feeling lost, and as I prepare to deal with a total upheaval of my life as I know it, I’ve been talking with my therapist on how to process this. I’ve learned a few things about myself along the way, and I’d love to share and hear what you think, and how you’ve dealt with big life changes.

Don’t set yourself up with the mindset that things are going to go horribly wrong.

I consider myself a realist. So when I think of moving to a new city, I remember what it was like when I was new to Philadelphia. It was tough and lonely at times. But going into an experience already expecting a certain outcome inevitably sets you up for that outcome even if it’s one you don’t want. Have an open mind and think positively.

You’re a different person now than before.

That means change will look different, you’ll handle it differently, and process it differently.

Leave space for the chance that things might be easier than you think.

Don’t confuse being a realist with reality. There’s a chance that this move could be exactly what I need. I’ll never be the eternal optimist, but instead of focusing on the (potential) negative, leave room for the positive.

Make plans and a schedule.

I always feel better when I have a game plan. Planning for days to spend time by myself, getting to know my new city, as well as times to invest in relationships and friendships. Having a rhythm to my day, my schedule, my life, gives me a sense of comfort.

Identify what type of loneliness you feel and enact strategies to help you cope.

I got this tip from this post by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve always been semi-fascinated by loneliness and it’s important to realize what you’re struggling in order to make the situation better.

Realize this is only a season in time.

Just like my first year in Philadelphia passed and resulted in a wonderful life here in Philly, so will the first year in Denver pass. In a way, I’m more looking forward to my second and third year in Denver when I’ll have a life established with friendships and connections.

Research is comforting.

As I’m gearing up for the big move, I’ve done a lot of research on the internet about how to move across the state, how to create a home in a foreign place, how to create community, and how to cope with the loss that comes with leaving everything you know behind. Hearing other people’s strategies and experience has been a huge comfort to me.

How do you deal with big life changes?