5 Ways to Handle the Psychological Effects of Moving

Moving house is a modern day form of torture. If it was any worse, it could be included in the Geneva Convention.

Okay. Perhaps that was a slight embellishment. However, I think it’s fair to say that moving is incredibly stressful, leaving many people clawing at their hair in anxiety and frustration.

But there is a solution. Moving doesn’t have to be mind-bogglingly stressful. And while that might be easier said than done, the key is organization.

Below are five tips to help. They won’t eliminate stress altogether, but they will reduce it.

A little help from my friends

We have all moved at least once and understand how much manpower is required. And we’ve all been in a position during a move where we wished we had a few extra hands on deck. After all, there is truth in the age-old proverb, ‘many hands make light work’.

Swallow your pride and ask a couple of friends or family members for help. You might be surprised at their willingness to assist you, especially if lunch and a few beers are provided.

Chuck the junk

A lot of the stress associated with moving is attributed to the sheer volume of possessions you are trying to shift. Ask yourself a simple question. Do I really need all this stuff? Unless you have a more serious problem and should be appearing on the show ‘Hoarders’, then the answer is a resounding no.

Be decisive and cull anything that you no longer need. It is difficult to let go of your belongings, but if they no longer play a role in your day to day life, then moving them is pointless.

Drag that rusted exercise bike to the curb. I know you had the best intentions back in 2010, but the only thing it is doing now is taking up space.

Be prepared

The scout’s motto can be aptly applied to moving. Moving day can sneak up on you. We tell ourselves, “oh, I’ll start tomorrow”, or “I have plenty of time”, but you can only say that to yourself so many times before the date arrives and you find you are not prepared.

Even if you decide to hire a moving company, you need to start as soon as possible. At least 8 weeks of preparation is needed to have your possessions ready for the big day.

Celebrate or mourn

You form an emotional attachment to the place you call home. It is where you have lived, slept, and formed memories that will remain with you for the rest of your life. When you move, you are changing your life. You might be moving for a number of reasons, some of which may not be pleasant (i.e. divorce), while others could be cause of celebration.

Whatever is motivating you to move, there are emotions attached to the decision. Therefore, it is important to accept that and say goodbye to that part of your life. Celebrate with friends by throwing a party or hosting a dinner. Or mourn over a few somber drinks. There is a reason people hold wakes. They are about letting go.

Treat yourself

This point particularly appeals to me because, like a rat going after a pellet, I feel I should be rewarded for every productive thing I do. While treating yourself with a bucket of Häagen-Dazs after packing a few boxes might seem a little decadent, you shouldn’t feel too guilty about this sweet indulgence, because it is helping to maintain your mental well-being.

We tend to overdo it when moving without realizing it. We eat poorly, have disrupted sleeping patterns, and generally feel exhausted because we’re also trying to balance work, social obligations, and family on top.

Make sure you take the occasional breather when packing. Go see a film or spend time with friends. Even a leisurely walk can be rejuvenating. Packing won’t be going anywhere. Ensure your sanity doesn’t go anywhere as well by treating yourself.

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