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A Fresh Start in a New City: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Thanks to Chelsea Lamb for her research!

As humans, we're programmed to be constantly on the move. Our ancestors lived a nomadic lifestyle, always looking for bigger and better places to live in. But moving isn't just about a better quality of life. A fresh start in new environs can be the breath of fresh air you need after experiencing a significant life hurdle. Whether it's loss, grief, depression, addiction, or boredom - a big move can be the ticket to move on from stagnant waters.

Here, Dr. Carl Forkner walks you through the basics of starting over.

Identifying Your New City

Business Insider reports that over 11% of Americans moved cities in 2021 - and 80% said the move was worth it. While it can feel like taking a shot in the dark, identifying your new city doesn't need to be complicated. Let's take a look at some of the main factors you should be considering when making your decision:

Weather: It may seem trivial, but weather impacts our daily life to the most intrinsic level. Zeroing down on temperature will also help you identify which states might work for you and which ones are a no-go.

Cost of living: Housing costs are ever-increasing nationwide, but there are still a few spots with reasonable rental prices. For example, studio apartments in Tempe, AZ, start at $450 a month, while two bedrooms go for $700. Ultimately, you're going to want to look for a place with excellent conditions but with a lower price point. Moving to a smaller city will be a perfect option for those wishing to have many job opportunities available while paying less for goods and services.

Social and cultural life: Moving to a smaller city also opens up great socializing opportunities, which help build a much-needed community. For example, if you move to a town like Tempe, AZ, you'll have plenty more chances to meet new people and open yourself up to new experiences, as opposed to a sprawling metropolis.

Once you start identifying the factors important to you, you'll be able to find your dream city or town. From there, it's all about finding your dream home.

Zeroing In on Your New Home

Your home is your sanctuary, the one place you can feel relaxed and happy after a long day's work. But you're likely wary of paying a bomb for your pad. To approximate how much you can expect to pay each month, again, visit sites like and set filters like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, and square footage. You'll then be able to find properties that work for you and move from there, rather than wasting time on incompatible units. If you're still unsure about investing in a property, renting an apartment or house can be a great choice until you get your bearings.

Establishing Yourself in Your New Community

Center for Cities reports that over 67% of participants polled in a survey revealed that community is the most significant factor in the quality of life. Which makes sense because human beings are social creatures, right? To integrate yourself into the community, go to as many local events as you can. Find a farmers market, go to that book club, sign up for that volunteering drive - after all, who says making friends needs to be scary! Not only will the right community around you nourish you, but you'll also find your mind slowly easing off the complicated stuff.

2021 has been a year of change and adaptation. We've undergone a worldwide pandemic, rampant climate change, and a shift to a more remote, individualistic lifestyle. But as the year draws to a close, it's time to move on to greener pastures - both mentally and physically. While moving to a new city might be one of the hardest things to do: you can do it. After all, you've survived worse.


Having the proper support through this new transition will be everything. Dr. Carl Forkner has years of experience helping individuals like yourself through difficult life experiences. For resources and counseling on suicide prevention and dementia, and aging, be sure to call Dr. Forkner at 623-226-7543 today!


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