How to Stay Sane During a Stressful Move

Stressful Move

For most of us, moving isn’t fun. It’s a pain, and an unfortunate necessity if we want to experience a new city or embrace a new job. You’ll have to deal with organizing and packing your possessions. You might have to worry about selling your old home. And you’ll have to coordinate the logistics of getting to your new city in a reasonable timeframe. On top of that, your new city won’t have the friends or family you were used to in your old town.

So how can you keep your sanity during such a stressful time?

Plan as Far in Advance as Possible

Try to plan as much as your move as you can, as far in advance as possible. For example, if you know you’re going to be moving in three months, start scheduling to-do items across those three months, and start packing unnecessary things now. This will give you a sense of control over your situation, but more importantly, will give you more time to handle stressful events as they come up. You won’t feel the pressing need to pack things quickly if you’ve been packing gradually over the course of weeks, and you won’t sweat it when there’s a change to your schedule—since you’ll have plenty of time to recover.

Establish a Relaxing Home Area as Soon as Possible

Most people do their best de-stressing when they have a relaxing home environment to come home to. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set up that home environment as early as possible in your move. You can use to find the best providers of utilities and services so you can get everything you need, and set up at least one room of your house (like a living room) to be comfortable and relaxing. That way, you’ll have a sense of “home” even if the rest of your house isn’t set up yet.

Maintain Your Routine

As much as possible, try to maintain your routine. Routines give us a sense of consistency and familiarity throughout the day, keep us productive, and make us feel less stressed. If you’re used to getting up early every morning for a job, keep that pattern going. If you usually meditate for half an hour after work, keep doing it. That way, you won’t feel as disrupted, and you’ll give yourself more opportunities to relieve stress. If you don’t have a routine that translates well during the moving process, consider establishing a new one.

Outsource, Delegate, or Call in Favors

Moving is far more stressful when you take it upon yourself to do everything—but you don’t have to. It’s going to be far less worrisome if you allow yourself to outsource, delegate, and call in favors to lighten your load. For example, you can hire a moving company, or rely on a spouse or family member to handle some of the responsibilities. Your capacity to do this will depend both on your budget and the availability of your social circles, but it’s usually worth the investment (or calling in the favors).

Make Sleep a Priority

Don’t underestimate the vicious cycle that stress and sleep can create, and how that can impact your health. If you’re not getting enough sleep, everything will seem even more stressful, and that increased stress will make it more difficult to sleep, resulting in further losses of productivity and mood. Make sleep a priority, and try to create a consistent environment where you can get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night during the move.

Find New Points of Consistency

One of the hardest parts of moving to a new area is abandoning all the points of consistency you had in your old city. Your friends won’t live close to you anymore, your favorite movie theater is now inaccessible, and you don’t have a bar or restaurant that provides you with a familiar, comfortable atmosphere.

Therefore, one of the best things you can do for yourself in a new city is to find some new points of consistency to establish. Find a restaurant, gym, theater, or other social location to frequent and establish a new routine with it. In a matter of days, it will start to become more familiar to you, and you may get to know the other people who frequent it. And thanks to the mere exposure effect, the more time you spend in and around it, the more you’ll come to like it.

Moving is going to be stressful no matter how much you try to mitigate that stress (or pretend it isn’t there). But you can gain and retain control over your own mental health, and hasten your comfort in your new area with these simple coping strategies.

Image Credits: Stressful Move from Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock