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  • Writer's pictureNorma Davila, Ph.D., CPRW, CPCC, SHRM-SC

Wellbeing in Relocation


What comes to mind when you think about relocation? Do you think about well-being?

Change, exploration, beginnings, opportunities, logistics, uncertainty, and challenges are some of the responses typically associated with a relocation experience. Some families are positive and enthusiastic about the relocation, while others are more focused on how they will adapt to their new communities. Even though each family’s response to relocation is different, all of them have in common that everything that they do throughout the process contributes to their well-being.

Let’s look at family well-being within the context of relocation.

Logistical components usually become a full-time endeavor for accompanying family members while the employee is immersed in onboarding to assume the new role, adapt to the new workplace, and become part of the new team. Finding answers to questions about housing, services, schools, childcare, eldercare, healthcare, pet services, faith-based organizations, and transportation, among many others, consumes considerable time and energy, especially when the relocation entails major cultural and language shifts. Therefore, accompanying family members often postpone focusing on their careers and taking care of their own personal needs until all these logistical aspects of the relocation are under control. In this context, their well-being often becomes a secondary priority.

REA’s work brings to the forefront the role of accompanying family members by focusing on their well-being. REA coaches bring a holistic perspective on how the interdependent components of well-being, namely, emotional, occupational, physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental, impact each family member’s experience and, subsequently, on the relocation’s success.

Let’s dive deeper into each one of these components.

  • Emotional | All family members can experience combinations of excitement, optimism, curiosity, exhilaration, enthusiasm, happiness, surprise, fear of the unknown, sadness, anger, anxiety, confusion, and frustration during relocation.

  • Occupational | The careers of accompanying family members are often redefined. Some may continue their previous career paths after a short break, others may decide to do something different, and still, others may leave the workforce.

  • Physical | All family members derive a sense of security from becoming familiar with their neighborhoods, housing arrangements, transportation, and entertainment venues. The arrival of possessions brings something familiar to an unfamiliar experience.

  • Social | The family’s integration into the new community counteracts a sense of isolation resulting from a lack of relationships. Joining professional associations, community organizations, and events for people with similar interests facilitate that integration.

  • Spiritual | Accompanying family members define the principles and values that give meaning to their lives. Faith-based organizations, meditation practices, religious communities, and places of worship are examples of resources to address those principles and values.

  • Intellectual | Remaining open to new experiences and ideas is important throughout the relocation. Lectures, book clubs, field trips, short courses, continuing education, and additional degrees provide opportunities to stimulate thinking in new ways.

  • Financial | The cost of living in the new community influences the entire family’s expectations about immediate and future lifestyle decisions.

  • Environmental | Spending time outdoors in contact with nature is a way for accompanying family members to relieve stress. Contributing to conserving resources is another way to become more invested in the community.

REA coaches are ready to work with family members to address these components to maintain continuity in the family’s experience as soon as the relocation process starts. With access to a global network of experts in transitions, they customize the information they provide to clients to meet their individual needs along the way. We will discuss what they do to address these components in greater detail in the next blog of this series.

REA’s coaches specialize in assisting professionals and their families in addressing these issues. You don’t need to navigate your family’s relocation alone -- we’re here to help! Check out REA Flex Coaching services and REA's website to help you get a jumpstart on your path to a successful relocation!

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