How To Cope With Moving
Moving homes is a fact of life. It's now common to move to a new town, city, or even province several times in your life. However, this doesn’t make the transition any easier. Uprooting your life, or even just changing homes, is disruptive and stressful whatever your age and situation.
Learning how to cope with moving can help. By eliminating the anxiety, you can regain the sense of adventure and feel the excitement of a new start.
Why Moving Can Be Stressful
Before you can learn to cope with moving, you need to understand why the experience is so stressful. There are several possible reasons; those that apply to you will depend on your reason for moving, your personality, and other factors:
Worries - When moving away from friends and family, it is reasonable to feel worried. You may also have fears about whether you’ll enjoy your new life, make connections in your new community, and feel comfortable in your new home. Worries can also relate to the short term, such as concerns about the moving process itself.
Exhaustion - Sorting out many aspects of the move yourself can become tiring. Plus, there’s the physical labour of packing your possessions into boxes, shifting furniture around the house, and loading the van. Add to this a number of tedious tasks, from cancelling and setting up utilities to handling paperwork, and your exhaustion only increases.
Doubts - You may wonder if you made the right decision about moving. You may question whether you should have stayed in your current home or neighbourhood or if you should have chosen a different location.
Disruption - Moving is going to change your daily routine, and add a number of tasks to your day. The moving process can take weeks, and most people still need to work and get the kids to school at the same time.
How to Cope with Moving Stress
Once you’ve identified the reasons causing your stress, you can develop a strategies to combat the problem. Here are a few tips:
Start looking forward to the move
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about moving. Some may be obvious, others less immediately so.
Dedicate a few hours to the task of finding out as much as possible about your new location, researching online, checking out maps, and talking to people who know the area.
Make a list of places you want to visit, from tourist spots to restaurants you’d like to try and events happening soon after you arrive.
If you’re concerned about making new friends, start planning how you can meet new people. Find out if there are any groups involved in your favourite hobbies, sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to try, and ask people you know for contacts.
You’ll be less likely to be stressed if you give yourself enough time to carry out all the important tasks related to your move. Create a list of everything you need to do, assign a time period, and leave nothing to the last minute.
Download the BigSteelBox Printable Moving To Do List
You should start the planning stage at least eight weeks before your move — or even further in advance if your move is likely to be complicated or you’re the type of person who struggles to stay organized. Planning early will help you cope if anything unexpected happens.
Remember to include in your plan enjoyable activities, such as throwing a farewell party and visiting all your favourite places before you leave. You should also schedule plenty of time to relax and to say goodbye to individual friends and talk about how you’ll stay in touch.
Try to fit all the aspects of your plan into your regular routine — this will ensure you stay healthy and get sufficient rest.
If you’re moving to your new home alone, reach out to someone for support. Find a friend or family member who has experience moving and ask for advice to simplify the process. If you need to drive a long distance, see if anyone is available to make the journey with you. Instead of a lonely journey, you’ll have a fun road trip.
If you’re moving with your family or a partner, give everyone the chance to adjust. Understand that each person will cope with the move differently and may need space to be alone at times. To avoid the move feeling like a constant chore, take a break from packing and unpacking by going on an outing with the kids or scheduling a date night.
Make plans to see friends and family
Moving is particularly challenging if you normally see your friends and relatives on a daily basis or if you are moving far away. Instead of worrying about how you’ll maintain your friendships, make plans to either return to your old neighbourhood or for loved ones to visit you. Set dates on a calendar to encourage everyone to keep their word.
Turn your house into a home
Create a comfortable setting that feels like home in your new house. Along with the essentials, start by unpacking a few belongings that add a familiar touch, such as framed photos and your most prized possessions. You may want to unpack the rest of your items over the next few days or take your time transitioning over a matter of weeks. Do whatever feels right for you.
Returning to your routine as soon as possible will help you become settled faster. You can also use the opportunity to improve your lifestyle and develop better habits, such as eating healthier meals and exercising regularly. However, you should avoid going overboard, as this will make the move more difficult.
How to Cope with Moving Due to a Life Change
There are several reasons why you may want or need to move. Some people move for a change of scenery or new opportunities. In other cases, families need to move due to divorce, death, financial difficulties, or job relocation. In these cases, there is added emotional stress along with the sense of a lack of choice. The following tips are aimed at how to cope with moving in these situations.
Think carefully about possessions
Typical moving advice is to start by throwing out your clutter — any objects you rarely use or no longer need. However, with extra emotions, it is more difficult to know what you’re ready to surrender and what possessions you’d better keep. Make smart decisions and hold on to anything you’re not yet ready to throw out. If you have items with painful reminders or strong memories, you may like to put them into storage for the time being rather than bring them to your new home.
Ask for help
It is extra important to seek out support if you are moving during a difficult time. Just placing your belongings in boxes can be emotionally strenuous. Ask a friend for help with the task, talk about your feelings, or just get out of the house to spend time on anything unrelated to the move. If you’re moving with kids, see if they can stay with friends or find a babysitter for the occasional evening.
If you’re finding it particularly difficult and don’t know how to cope with moving, talk to someone you trust, such as a close friend or therapist. Discuss your anxieties, your hopes, your fears, and the reasons that led to the move, as all these may be contributing to your stress.
While the whole process may feel daunting, breaking it down into smaller achievable tasks can make you feel better. Even something as simple as crossing an item off your list can give you a sense of accomplishment and ease your tension.
How to Cope with Moving During the Holidays
Although it may be preferable to transition to a new home over the summer while the kids are out of school, sometimes it is beyond your control to decide.
The sale of your home may have taken longer than planned or you may need to move for an unexpected reason. In either case, this can result in a move during the holidays.
As the holiday season is a time you normally spend with family or friends, a move at this time of year can be extra taxing. You may be unable to participate in traditions, you may miss out on regular events, or you may just feel lonely. You also have the challenge of moving during in-climate weather, and trying to find help.
Here are a few ideas on how to cope with moving and enjoy the holidays.
Decorate your new house
Make decorations a priority when packing and unpacking your belongings. Depending on the reason for your move, you may like to decorate your home as you always do for the holidays, in a way that reminds you of your childhood, or to create new traditions to match your new life.
Throw a party
Bring holiday cheer to your new home by holding a small gathering or even a full party, if you feel ready. If you’re too far away for most of your friends to visit, consider hosting an ‘orphan’ party, inviting other people in the same situation as you — those who have recently moved to the area or are otherwise far from relatives.
If you’re not much of a socialite, spend quality time in your new home either alone or with the family members who moved with you. Watch festive movies, prepare a delicious meal, play games, listen to music, and do anything else that allows you to escape and relax.
Explore the area
Some of the best things about the holiday season are all the activities and events. Even taking a walk or drive to admire others’ decorations is fun — and a great way to get to know your new neighbourhood.
Stay in touch with loved ones
The holidays give you an excuse to be sentimental. Call or email friends and relatives to reminisce or mail them gifts to let them know you’re thinking of them even though you’re far away.
How to Cope with Moving for Kids
Moving is often much harder on kids than adults. For one thing, kids have no choice in the matter and may feel powerless in the face of such a big change in life.
If they’ve never moved before, kids are likely to have additional worries about how they will adapt to a new school, leaving their friends behind. There are a few ways to make the process easier for kids:
Involve them in the process
Whatever your kids’ ages, they can be involved in the move in some way. For instance, kids can help you pack their belongings into boxes. This is especially useful for very young children who may need reassurance that their favourite toys are coming with them. Older kids can learn the importance of getting rid of stuff they no longer use — you can even make this enjoyable by allowing your kids to help you with a garage sale.
If possible, take your kids to visit their new home, neighbourhood, and school. Inspire enthusiasm about the move by planning together how you will decorate the house — look at paint charts for walls and start talking about how you will arrange furniture.
Keep lines of communication open by encouraging your kids to ask any questions they may have and by listening to their worries. Try to be patient and reassure your children — even though you may be excited, they may not share your feelings.
Bear in mind that some kids may prefer to talk to a parent one-on-one, whereas others may appreciate the chance for a discussion with the whole family. Should the latter be the case, hold family meetings both to talk about feelings and to spend time together, perhaps by combining the event with a meal or games night.
Look up sports and activities
If your children are active in any organized activities search out similar programs in your new area. You can look up different websites with your kids and choose the programs they want to sign up for together. This will help them get excited about their new home and give them the opportunity to meet new friends after you arrive.
Stay in touch with friends
It is important that your kids know from the start that moving by no means signifies leaving friends behind. Give your kids the chance to say goodbye to all their friends, through a goodbye party or several small gatherings for different friendship groups. If possible, invite old friends to visit your new home. If this is unfeasible, help kids stay in touch over phone, email, and other means.
Another great way to help kids remember their friends and old home is through a scrapbook. Before you leave, gather photos, notes, and other mementos.
Include some treats
Reward your kids for their good behaviour during the difficult process of moving home. Treats can be simple, such as pizza and ice cream for dinner, or bigger, like a last visit to a special place. You may like to include the entire family and say goodbye to a different spot every week or you may prefer to spend time with each child individually.
Meet your neighbours
Although it is always a good idea to introduce yourself to your neighbours, this is extra useful if you have kids. Find out if any other children of around the same ages are living nearby and encourage friendships to develop in a natural setting by inviting neighbours over for a housewarming. For shy children, include some structured activities.
How to Cope with Moving for Teens
Teenagers are likely to react to a move differently than younger kids (No kidding, huh?). They are much more likely to feel angry and frustrated.
It is essential you help your kids manage their feelings and adjust to the changes. These tips on how to cope with moving are aimed at teenagers in junior and senior high.
Teenagers already have stressful lives, and moving home can lead to unhappiness, anxiety, or even depression. The good news is that these feelings are usually temporary — teens tend to feel better once they realize that most of their fears are unfounded. However, it is important to initiate a conversation with your teens, as they may be worried that you’re too busy or stressed yourself to talk. Make sure you acknowledge how they’re feeling, while still coaching them through the process.
Research the community together
Check out maps and research online all the best features of your new community from your kids’ perspectives. Find places your teens can become excited about, perhaps the chance to learn a new hobby they’ve always found interesting. Remember to look for information about your kids’ new schools, including clubs and teams they’ll be able to join.
Keep them busy
Fill every day leading up to the move with both productive tasks (such as helping with packing, the garage sale, and cleaning) and with fun activities. Accept that your teens may want to spend many hours online chatting with friends, but still try to ensure they spend plenty of time out of the house, saying goodbye to places and people in person.
Transporting your belongings to your new house is the most time consuming aspect of moving. When choosing a method, one of the considerations should be what method will be the easiest and least stressful for your family.
Finally, if you think this post could help one of your family members or friends, share it on your favourite social-media channel. You never know whose life you might change!