How to deal with the stress of moving

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Moving house is both physically and emotionally challenging and regardless of how organised you think you are, it's stressful. Here are some tips on how to remove the stress.

There’s a lot more to moving home than filling a couple of cardboard boxes with your belongings. One of aspects that's often overlooked is the psychological effect of uprooting yourself, your family and your furniture and moving into a new home.

Moving house is both physically and emotionally challenging and regardless of how organised you think you are, it's stressful. Part of the stress is linked to the fact that moving involves change which in turn can cause anxiety for those who are used to a certain routine. Think about it - moving doesn't simply mean you are swapping one roof over your head for another, it often involves finding new schools for the children, sourcing a new GP and dentist as well as familiarising yourself with totally new surroundings.

Psychologists say that the uncertainty of a move can trigger a variety of mental health conditions - including depression - which can affect the entire family. And children, who have to leave their friends and change schools, are not exempt. No one would deliberately choose to cause their family trauma, but moving across the country is going to impact on everyone in the home in some way or another.

Knowing what to expect and preparing for it well in advance will go a long way towards helping everyone cope better with the move.

Things like booking the removal van, ensuring that your telephone lines (including ADSL) have been transferred and working out what furniture will go where in the new home will help to keep stress under control.

Take time off work, even if you are only moving a short distance away. Trying to pack boxes, transfer essential services and deal with the 101 things that invariably crop up at the last minute while still attempting to keep up with a hectic work schedule is going to cause unnecessary stress. Enlist as much help as possible during this time. Find someone to watch the children while you pack up their rooms (little ones often don't understand why their beloved toys have to go into a box and can become quite difficult).

Try and embrace the change and focus on the positives as opposed to only looking at the negatives and hassles the move will invariably bring. Make a point of remembering why you are moving and what you have to look forward to in your new home.

Even if you've taken leave, make time for an occasional break. If you can, meet up with friends for coffee, or watch a movie. Yes we know moving is hectic and there will be loads to do, but you’ll probably end up getting more done if you pace yourself properly.

Remember to look after yourself before, during and after the move by getting enough sleep and eating well.

If things do seem to be getting out of hand and you find yourself feeling as if you are losing control, find a quiet spot and try some simple breathing exercises. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of five and then slowly exhale for five. Practice doing this for five minutes or so. This will help clear your mind and make you feel calmer.

It's important to remember that it's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed or at least extremely stressed during a move. Don't be too harsh on yourself. Moving is regarded as one of life's major stressful events so understand that there may well be sleepless nights involved.

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