Relocating For Residency: How A Mindset Shift Can Make All The Difference

Relocating for residency can be an exciting and transformative time for physician families. It can also be challenging and overwhelming as you leave behind your family, friends, and community to start a new chapter. The changes that come with this new chapter can be stressful and induce anxiety and sadness. Sometimes, though, a slight change in perspective might help turn it all around. Here are some ways you can do just that.

Reframe Your Thoughts

First, it’s essential to understand the power of our thoughts. The way we think about things can have a profound impact on our emotional and mental state and even impact the outcome of a situation. For example, if you view a situation as a threat, your body may react with a fight or flight response, causing anxiety and stress. However, if you see it as a challenge or an opportunity for growth, you can approach it with a more positive attitude, reducing stress levels.

When it comes to relocating for residency, it can be easy to focus on all the things you’re leaving behind. Instead, try to reframe your mindset and approach relocating for residency more positively. Try to focus on what you’re gaining and think about all the new experiences and opportunities you may not have otherwise. You might have the opportunity to meet new people, explore new places, and experience a whole new way of life! 

The thoughts we make up in our heads are usually way worse than how things actually turn out. Those negative thoughts can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies because they can influence your actions and your behavior. All of this can lead to outcomes that match your negative expectations. Since this is what we’re trying to avoid, it’s important not to dwell on negative thoughts.

Yes, we’ve heard of ‘toxic positivity’. Some argue that toxic positivity can be harmful, as it can invalidate people’s feelings and make them feel guilty for experiencing negative emotions. 

Positivity is not about denying or suppressing negative emotions. It’s about choosing to focus on the good in a situation and looking for solutions instead of dwelling on the negative. Positivity can help us maintain hope, overcome challenges, and feel motivated, even when faced with adversity. 

Toxicity, on the other hand, is harmful and destructive. It involves ignoring or invalidating feelings, imposing beliefs onto others, or using positivity as a way to shame or blame others for not being positive enough. 

It’s crucial to remember that positivity does not mean we should ignore our negative emotions. It’s essential to acknowledge and process our feelings about relocating for residency, even if they’re difficult or uncomfortable. However, once we’ve acknowledged those emotions, we can choose to focus on the positive aspects of a situation, instead of dwelling on the negative.

Make A Plan

Making plans and looking forward to something can have a significant impact on our mindset. When we have something to look forward to, it gives us a sense of purpose and motivation. It can help us get through challenging or monotonous tasks by reminding us there is something enjoyable or exciting coming up in the future. 

If you’re feeling down about your move, make a bucket list of things to look forward to at your new location. Research fun things to do, join local Facebook groups, find friends through The MedCommons free friending app, or put a getaway weekend or family visits on your calendar. Doing this will give you a boost of positivity and energy. 

What else does making plans do? It can help us feel more in control of our lives. When we’re faced with something we don’t want to do, like moving for residency, it can be easy to feel like we’re at the mercy of our circumstances. Making plans and actively choosing something to look forward to helps us take charge of our own happiness and well-being. It helps shift our mindset from one of helplessness to one of agency, giving us a sense of empowerment and control.

Moreover, the anticipation of the event can be just as enjoyable as the event itself! Think about the last time you planned a fun vacation. Research has shown that the excitement and anticipation leading up to an event can bring us more happiness than the event itself. By making plans, we’re not only improving our mindset in the present, but we’re also setting ourselves up for a boost of happiness in the future.  

It’s A Phase

Another way to get past your negative emotions (once you’ve acknowledged them!), is to remember this change isn’t permanent. Think of this phase in your life as just another chapter in your book. You’re turning the page and starting a new section. That’s all. Relocating for residency is just a part of your story and, although it may feel overwhelming at the moment, it will eventually come to an end. Keeping this in mind can help you stay focused on the present and enjoy the experiences as they come.

Residency can be both challenging and exciting for physician families. As you look toward it, it’s important to recognize the power of your thoughts and how they can impact your emotional and mental state. By reframing your mindset and focusing on the positive aspects of the relocating, you can approach it with a more positive attitude, reduce your stress levels, and maybe even make this experience an unforgettable one…in a good way! 

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  • Elizabeth Landry

    Elizabeth is a Physician family advocate, Certified Life Coach for Physician Wives, EM wife of 20+ years, mother, and founder of The MedCommons – a marriage between her tech/business dev background and passion for helping physician families.

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