After death and divorce, what’s the third most stressful life event you can experience? According to some surveys, it’s moving. And while divorce and death certainly carry a whole lot more emotional weight than moving, all three events have one common thread: they all involve pivotal, transitional moments in your life.
Your home is central to your sense of stability. It’s the place where you and your family take refuge from the rest of the world; the place where you’ve created your strongest and fondest memories. No matter how much you’re looking forward to your new location, the thought of digging up your roots and packing up your memories can turn your emotional world upside down.
So yes, the practical realities of packing and moving can be very stressful — and you’ll find lots of advice (including ours) about how to deal with that kind of pressure. But the hidden stress of moving is the inner chaos and emotional turbulence that moving can trigger. And no amount of organizing can prepare you for the feelings of grief and insecurity that can accompany a big move. There are, however, a few ways you can help yourself and your family to relieve the hidden stress of moving:
Take your time
The time you spend packing up your home is your opportunity to relive memories, let go of the past and say goodbye. Don’t get so caught up in the whirlwind of scheduling, checklists and timelines that you forget to process your feelings.
Spend an evening with the family boxing up treasured photos while you relive experiences together, take a few final walks through the neighborhood, or have a goodbye party for friends and family you’re going to miss. A casual get-together is also a great chance to ask your closest friends for some last-minute help!
Allow feelings of sadness
Listen carefully to what you’re telling yourself and your family — are you constantly emphasizing the excitement of the new? While it’s okay to encourage a spirit of positivity by saying things like “We have so much to look forward to!” or “I can’t wait to start meeting new friends!” it’s also important to acknowledge the special people and things you’re leaving behind.
If you have children, help them express their feelings about the move, and work through any fear and grief they may be experiencing. Talk to your friends and family honestly about your own feelings, too. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little sad and a little apprehensive about your move. Once you and your children have brought your feelings into the light of day, it will become much easier to move past them and feel truly excited and optimistic about the future.
Moving to a new home can be a financial, physical and emotional challenge. To keep you and your family as stress-free as possible, don’t pack those emotions up and bring them to your new home! Acknowledge them, release them, and enter your new home — and new life — with a fresher, lighter perspective.