Loneliness NZ


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Relocated and lonely

Psychologists put moving – even within the same neighbourhood – pretty high up on the stress scales… all that packing, rationalising what gets thrown out, the seemingly endless cleaning and the sorting out of logisitics of stopping and starting utilities and move trucks. All that before you start settling again! 

So relocating elsewhere in New Zealand where you no longer have any of your familiar surroundings – your gym, your favourite shops – is often even more stressful. We are happy for those of you where the stress is not the decision of the move itself– after all you might be very excited to start that great new job that you still can’t believe you got, or to move closer to your family that you have missed for years; or you have so much emotional baggage you carefully plan on leaving behind.  And we feel for you when your move itself has more or less been forced upon you – and we imagine you feel much more trepidation going to your new place: your health has deteriorated so you have to move into the retirement village; there is no university in your small remote town; or you are accompanying family moving for their job.

The reality is even those of you that went to your newly relocated place feeling very positive, life sometimes just doesn’t work out how we planned it…and you simply have not been able to settle. We genuinely have empathy for you if you feel you no longer have friends and family to turn to… where you have struggled to establish new friendships even after putting in effort… our heart goes to you when instead of feeling more at home, your loneliness starts increasing!

So if you are one of the many New Zealanders who feels lonely as a result of relocating, or you know of someone who feels loneliness from this, then read on. In fact even if you suspect others might be lonely, and they stoically say they aren’t, it’s worth understanding relocation and loneliness better.

Scratching the surface of being lonely

Just as you might find it hard to understand how people who have never moved elsewhere in New Zealand might be lonely, it’s also hard for them to really grasp how very lonely you might be: what it’s like:

Feeling self-conscious

....always sitting alone.

Any conversation is limited

...all superficial, no-one shows deeper interest.

Doubting your decision to move

... with a lot of negativity swirling in your head.

Becoming anxious

... you don’t want your family to know how lonely you feel.

Coming to an empty space

... with no-one to greet your arrival.

Being relocated within NZ gives rise to many challenges with regard to feeling lonely...

… and in addition to these, you undoubtedly identify with many of the same loneliness problems that aren’t related to moving your life to another place in New Zealand.

Prevalence of loneliness

If you have relocated within NZ, you are not alone.  Every year over 60,000 New Zealanders relocate across regions.  Many of those are in their late teens or early twenties taking up education, employment and life opportunities.  And many more are nearing retirement and moving for family, friends, financial-gain and lifetstyle.

In addition to those moving inter-region, there are another 240,000 New Zealanders who each year relocate within their region. Whilst they are less at risk of being lonely than those moving inter-region, they may still feel lonely following the move.

Bar chart of New Zealanders internal migration 2008-2013

Exposing loneliness

Feeling socially isolated occurs when people, like you, are not connected into their communities in a meaningful way.  Society, other people and we ourselves unwittingly contribute to loneliness. To name a few, loneliness resulting from being relocated within NZ might be exacerbated when:-
  • You left for emotional reasons and you realise those same emotions have followed you.
  • Colleagues at work don’t socialise together much during work and never after work.
  • The people who live around you are not neighbourly – everyone seems too busy.
  • You live alone, and it’s the first time you have to look after the household chores completely by yourself.
  • Your new life has none of the previous routine that you are used to.
  • When you change the type of lifestyle you are used to as well as place – moving rural to city, or city to remote area.

These are very real issues for you;
and some are not quick fixes! So despite these challenges it’s vital you actively find ways to ensure that you – and those around you – are emotionally healthy.

Exhibiting signs of being lonely

Solitude is very important for people to reflect and to come to grips with their situation. Being lonely for short periods is also not necessarily unhealthy. What we are considering is the type of loneliness which is prolonged and might be damaging to an individual’s health and wellbeing. Some people talk about their loneliness; other’s don’t; some might not recognise that they are actually suffering from loneliness.

When people are already lonely, having people around you that you aren’t able to connect with on a deeper level, might even make your loneliness worse.

Research has shown that when socially isolated people aren’t getting enough regular human contact that can create problems with their family members and people who they do end up talking to.

This manifests behaviour such as:
  • Spending much of the weekend travelling back to your former comfortable life, at the expense of making a new life where you live and work.
  • Becoming sad even when great things happen because you have no one to share them with.
  • Focusing on the negative so it often seems as if too many things are going wrong at the same time.
  • Feeling jealous when you see on social media all the fun your former friends are having without you.
  • Increasing the amount of binge drinking at home alone.
  • Working non-stop and letting your new job or university study take over your life completely.

These are just the surface of the ways you might be showing signs of being lonely… and that you could recognise in others.
So where to from here?

Conquering loneliness

We appreciate…

you all have a unique story.

How long you have been lonely;  What you believe causes your particular loneliness; and what you have already tried to alleviate the loneliness.

To get to the heart of your loneliness we would like to get to know you!

Your personality, your eccentricities, and your values are all part of what makes you feel your loneliness more than some others.

Your next step

We appreciate the trust you would place in us to talk openly and frankly – so we promise no judgements – genuine empathy, respect and confidentiality.

Then when we have understood you better, we can help you move forward. Help you form better connections with your spread out communities, with your friends and your families…wherever they are in the world.

If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started addressing your loneliness:

People feel lonely for many reasons. To learn more about other dislocated and lonely categories, select one of the coloured boxes below, or scroll down the “I’m feeling lonely” menu.

Loneliness NZ square I'm feeling lonely logo

With our help you can conquer your loneliness by taking better care of your inner self.

And we can conquer loneliness in New Zealand by better understanding and accepting each other.

So when you are ready…click here.

We look forward to hearing your view of the world!

Stats NZ (2013), “Internal migration update (2013 Census).” View the data.