Moving can be a particularly exciting time and often our reasons for moving are very positive. We may be moving to be closer to family, for a new job, to downsize, to upsize, or to relocate to a new area we have had our eye on for years. So why is something that is often exactly what we aimed to do so riddled with stress and anxiety?

If you have moved or are currently in the process of moving and are experiencing an array of conflicting emotions you are not alone. In fact, moving rates right along with divorce, death, job loss, and ongoing illness as one of the most stressful life events.

So Why All the Nail Biting?

Sometimes moves are necessitated by difficult situations such as financial hardship or changes in relationships, and in those instances it’s not hard to understand why a person might experience underlying stress. But often a move is made for very positive reasons or paths that we are excited to be embarking on. So why the mixed emotions?

One of the main reasons why moving can be so mentally stressful is the uncertainty it brings. Most of us feel very comfortable when there is the expectation of predictability. Change can leave us lost and unsure about what the future holds. Our familiar routines are broken and if we are moving into new communities, we are identifying new services and stores and navigating different roads and routes.

The emotional toll of saying goodbye to a place you've called home can be profound as well. The grief and sadness that accompanies leaving behind familiar surroundings, neighbors, and community can be difficult to navigate. This sense of loss is valid and should be acknowledged as a normal part of the moving process. It’s essential to allow yourself to grieve the change and give yourself permission to feel sad.

Another factor that contributes to the mental stress of moving is the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with it. Packing up all your belongings, coordinating logistics, and dealing with the details of moving can be physically and mentally draining. Real estate transactions can be complicated and the race to meet the closing requirements can be exhausting. It's not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and even burned out during this time.

Coping Strategies for Moving Stress

It’s important to mitigate the toll moving can take on your mental well-being, not only because it is a must accomplish task, but because the enjoyment and excitement that there is to be experienced can become overshadowed. Try some of these coping strategies to help maintain your well-being during this transition.

    • Remember the Upside
      Sometimes it is easy to focus on what may be changing or lost, but there are also many gains to be had such as the possibility of meeting new friends, starting a new job, a better location for your lifestyle, or improved affordability. Taking time to make a list of some of the advantages will help you keep them front-of-mind.
    • Avoid Perfectionism
      Another important coping strategy is to avoid perfectionism. Moving is a complex process, and it's unlikely that everything will go perfectly according to plan. Accept that there may be some hiccups along the way and that it's okay. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them. Remember, progress is more important than perfection.
    • Make New Friends but Keep the Old
      Don’t be afraid to give yourself that extra little push to meet new people. There are community groups, gyms, or churches that you may want to visit and eventually join. Hang out at a café, take a walk in the park, or volunteer. Get comfortable with the new neighborhoods by taking a driving tour, be a tourist in your new community.
      Conversely, maintaining your tried-and-true relationships is an important piece of your support system. Reach out to friends and family for support, whether it's through a phone call, video chat, or even meeting up for coffee. Having a strong support network can provide comfort and encouragement during this transitional period.
    • Practice Self-Care
      Be sure to listen to your body and give yourself ample rest and breaks. Take time for yourself and engage in activities that help you relax and unwind. Whether it's taking a walk in nature, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or simply indulging in your favorite hobbies, make self-care a priority. Reach out to friends and family or a trusted therapist for support. By taking care of your physical and mental well-being, you'll be better equipped to handle the stress that comes with moving.

By implementing these coping strategies, you can navigate the stress of moving with greater ease and find a sense of calm amidst the chaos. Remember, it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times, but with these strategies in place, you can manage the stress and move forward confidently into your new home.