I wrote this a while ago upon request for transition advice, but never shared more widely. Perhaps this is useful to someone out there today.
1. Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. Sleep a lot, as much as you can, especially for the first 6 months, but ESPECIALLY for the first week, month, 3 months. During sleep, a lot of integration happened for me. The move had been desired for almost a year, in the works for 6 months, and planned for 6 weeks once I got a job offer. Still, things of this magnitude are experienced as life rushing at you, and I'd be really curious to meet anyone who has experienced this differently. So, once I was on the other side, I kept dreaming of the those last few months for the next few months - that is where I paused to notice my feelings and interactions with various people close to me in the process of the move. Hidden feelings emerged. I had time now to absorb them.
2. Ground your spirit. For me, that meant continuing a Thursday night practice of being in my faith community. Even though it was a new place, having a structure to rely on was so helpful. I listened to shabads (powerful, peaceful, spiritual songs), cooked langar and made chai prasad (blessings in the form of food), and marked out an hour to sit, with my Self, with God. Whoever you are and whatever your spirit-grounding practices are, nurture that on at least a weekly basis. Transition is not just a moment in time, we are talking about transitioning a life. So continuing practices that make up that life are what help to ease the transition.
3. Energize your body. I don't usually like to separate the spirit and body because well-being is a Wholeness issue, but, I think of this one as multiple strategies for maximum benefit. With the support and motivation of a friend, I started doing yoga every morning. I mean, from never having had a physical movement routine or gym membership in my whole life, I started doing yoga every single morning. In 21 days, I was amazed at myself, and could already feel my body getting stronger and energy flowing through it. I heard somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit. A year later, I'm still doing it. This practice has become a fundamental part of the new me.
4. Embrace not-knowing as an opportunity to wake up. In a life routine, we get used to where things are how we do things - where the coffee mugs are kept, the commute to work, the view from your window. When you move out of state, you probably purged a lot, and will start fresh in a new place to live. You have to re-learn how to make coffee in this kitchen. Walk each step slowly with a new awareness. No autopiloting possible. You have to pay attention. And you can distinctly notice all that you don't know. It really slowed me down in a wide-eyed way, that I appreciated.
5. Prioritize, and take one step at a time. One day, one week, one month, one quarter. Prioritize what you want to focus on building first - physical home space, work / new job, community, exercise, cooking. Figure out what you absolutely need now, what you cannot do without, and focus on that. For me, in the first quarter that was apartment-hunting, settling into the new job, and a weekly spiritual practice. That took up all my available time and energy. Sometimes I managed to eat dinner with a friend, or go to a movie, or sleep enough. Twice I even ventured out dancing.
6. Balance what you need to do with what you want to do. Hopefully there is some overlap already, but try to maximize the efficiency to joy ratio of the situation. Energy is fixed and so is time. Time is the same everyday, and yet it is a fluid magical creature. You cannot do everything, and I tended to focus too much on what I needed to do. So I really struggled. In order to have peace, sometimes you need to surrender the struggle. In hindsight, I wished I slept and rested more and watched more movies.
7. Accept what is and let go of what you want/thought it would be. Accept the fact that you will not and cannot be settled in a fixed amount of time decided by you. I tried that, but the Universe has other plans. What I needed to learn to slow down. What I also learned and have grown so much from is the understanding that all things happen at the perfect time. Life is tastier at the ripest moments. Practice patience.
8. Do something significant to mark this time and direction of your desired transformation. Get a tattoo, write your self a letter, take a picture and frame it... something that is tangible for you to see/touch. I was walking in the East Village one day, and had been looking for a ring for a long time. I hadn't found quite the right one, but that day, it found me. Bold blue in silver metal. I bargained the seller down from $10 to $8 on the basis of shared ethnic identity and speaking the same language. That ring reminds of that day, when I was still new in NYC, and new to my newly becoming self, and was finding my feet while on the go.
9. Call a friend. I still remember spending hours laying in bed chatting with a friend on the phone, because my body was on a different time zone / life zone. It was surprising to me at times, who I was thinking of, or who thought of me and called. And we'd get to experience a long-distance hangout that we didn't get enough of before the move, or it was a new friendship forming as I was leaving.
10. Know that you'll be lonely, and it's necessary. It's very isolating to move to a new city, even if you have friends there. You still have to form a community, and get into a life flow where you feel a sense of belonging and have a circuit of social events to attend. It's lonely. But remember why you moved - you're brave and bold and wanted to go after a new life, and in your deep inner self, you knew it would change you and your life needed that for its next season. The aloneness is where the change and opening is happening. Seeds of desire are being planted for the new life, aches are being felt and rubbed out of the old life, and being with yourself is an important part of all that. Try not to resist or hate it :) Try to appreciate it as the down time before you find your busy, happening groove. This is not just about a new city, it's a new life, and a new you. Make friends with your new self. Best advice I got here - Read "Letters to a Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke. This is how I learned to love my solitude, for the first time.