Moving to a new home offers some exciting possibilities. You get to put your personal mark on a different space. You have the opportunity to build connections with a new community. It can also be the hallmark of a fresh start after a significant change in your life. Whether you’re moving across town or to another state, it can be a journey that signals the start of something great.
Still, this isn’t to say the process is easy. Indeed, a recent study found that 64% of those polled considered a recent move to be the most stressful activity they’ve ever experienced. This is certainly understandable. After all, you’ll often need to juggle a range of different activities throughout the moving process. There can also be some financial outlay involved. Not to mention that your reason for moving might be wrapped up with some intense emotions. It is, therefore, important to ensure you’re mindful of your psychological and emotional wellness at this time.
We’re going to explore a handful of activities you can use to help maintain your mental health during the moving process.
One of the most stressful aspects of a move is the sheer level of chaos surrounding the process. There’s always a lot of activity and you’re likely to be dealing with several tasks at once. Particularly on the day of the move itself, the risk of potentially dropping the ball and sending the process into disarray can be a source of anxiety. Often, your best way to maintain your mental health here is to organize your activities so that you feel more in control.
It may seem like another daunting task, but formalizing this organization process can be a vital tool. In the weeks leading up to your moving date, create a moving checklist that outlines all the activities to be completed. This should include elements like scheduling time off of work, looking for movers, and selling unwanted items. Wherever possible, organize this list into time periods that take into account both official and self-imposed deadlines. This type of action gives you full visibility of the key components of your move and gives you time to ensure you haven’t missed anything important.
Alongside a checklist, it’s also wise to adopt some organizational tools. Invest in a physical folder you can keep all the essential documents you’ll need during the moving process. This includes rental contracts, insurance documents, and even a floor plan of your new place identifying where boxes and furniture should go. Create 2 versions of this last so you have a copy to give to your moving company. It’s also wise to keep items like driver’s licenses, medical insurance documents, and passports in this folder. This prevents them from getting lost in the chaos of the move.
If it helps, create an hour-to-hour schedule for yourself for the moving day. This can give you a sense of structure that can help you feel more grounded. However, it’s important to attend to some self-care throughout your move. Highlight moments in your schedule to stop for some mindfulness or meditation practice. Take 30 minutes to do your yoga routine. Don’t overlook how important being kind to yourself is during these stressful situations.
Identify Your Support Network
Having a strong network of people around you can help you to manage your mental wellness at particularly stressful times. This applies during a move, too. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need a team of friends to keep you company during the whole process. Just having one or two key figures you can reach out to can be an invaluable resource.
It’s important to check in with members of your support network before the moving date itself. Let them know how you’re feeling surrounding the process and the kind of help you feel could be useful. This helps you to mutually agree on a plan moving forward. This may involve having a person there with you during the tasks you find the most psychologically taxing, like dealing with paperwork or traveling long distances. It could involve having someone call you to just talk a few times throughout your move. It can even be helpful to set up a dedicated group text chat for the purpose of venting throughout the day.
In some instances, you may not feel comfortable talking to your friends or family about the root causes of your stress during the move. There may be some very personal and emotional issues that put additional pressure on you surrounding this change in your life. In this case, it may be helpful to identify an appropriate telemedical counseling service and set up a video call appointment the day before the move and the day after the move. This can help you to talk through any anxieties you have about the process, identify some coping mechanisms for the day, and to decompress after the event.
Prepare Your New Home
In some ways, the most stressful part of moving isn’t the shift itself. There are aspects of arriving in a new home that can be particularly difficult. It can be helpful to take a little time before your moving day to prepare your new place so you can mitigate any potential sources of stress arriving there may cause.
For instance, the last thing you want is to be in a dirty or unhealthy home on your first day. It’s wise to arrange to clean any areas missed by the previous tenants or owners, at least the larger issues. It’s also a vital health consideration to ensure there are no pest issues with the new home before you bring yourself and your belongings in. Perform an inspection for signs of rodents, birds, and bedbugs. Not only can these creatures make areas of your home less sanitary, some may also transmit illnesses. Your advance vigilance also gives you time to consult pest control professionals if necessary. You’ll then be able to move in knowing you have a clean and healthy space.
Another element to prepare is your utility services. Being able to have a long shower or a soak in the tub after you’ve moved in can help you destress. Functioning heating and air conditioning systems can provide you with some immediate comfort. Not to mention that a functioning internet connection means you can chill out with your favorite streaming shows after a long moving day. Arranging these elements to be in place before you arrive means you don’t have the additional stress of these being missing when you most need them.
Moving home is considered to be one of the most stressful activities you can perform. As such, it’s important to establish methods to mitigate any negative mental health effects. Maintaining strict organization can help you feel more in control. Identifying a solid support network means you have people to reach out to during tough times. By taking a little time to prepare your new home, you can ensure it’s a clean and comfortable place for you to decompress at the end of the moving day. Changing homes is rarely pleasant. Nevertheless, adopting these techniques can empower you to have the most positive experience and a fresh start.