Elaine Bond runs a counselling service in Gedling.
In this month’s column she talks about the best ways to manage stress when moving home…
I’ve not been around for a month or two as I’ve moved to a new house, which is out of Gedling but I think I can still myself a Gedling girl as I’ve only moved to Carlton. But it was really a stressful time and even though only one more box needs unpacking I am still not quite settled and I feel really tired. Have you ever wondered why moving house is one of the most stressful things we can do?
One of the real stresses, especially now during in Covid 19, is the massive change in routine. In previous articles about lockdown I have spoken about the importance of routine to keep us feeling safe and secure despite what is happening. Moving house disrupts all of our routines. When you start the process of selling your home, things have to change, which in my case meant things have to be tidied away from the viewers and working around viewings can disrupt a household much more than we think.
Even when we our lives remain a bit unstable for a while, as we must create new routines, find new places to store things, new routes to work and school and even new schools, gyms and shops. All of this mean our anxiety level is increased for a considerable period.
Moving house creates a level of uncertainty which can last for months and months, will our house sell, will the buyer drop out, will our solicitor ever answer the phone, what about our new house, what does the survey say, will we even be able to exchange on the same day. The list is endless. The whole process is destabilising for us and again this creates stress and anxiety. If we need a high level of security to feel ok, this process can be tortuous.
There are so many unpleasant tasks to be done throughout the process, such as reading endless reports, researching contractors, removal companies, and packing and decluttering. All of these mean we are stressed on top of carrying out our normal day to day work and life.
When we move to our new house, inevitably we feel a loss for our old house, neighbours, and the area. It is really odd as I miss the reassuring noise of the 45 bus outside my window now even though it used to drive me mad. We miss how the oven worked or the boiler and heating system operated because before they were second nature to us. We must re-learn how our house works. We can no longer come home and be on auto pilot after a hard day at work.
All of this causes stress and irritation. Families can become short tempered and snappy with each other. Children can be come scared of the move or teenagers hate the idea as they want to stay close their friends. These are recipes for even more stress due to dealing with the stress!
So, what do we do to make this process as easy as possible? We start with self-care by making sure that throughout this process we get enough sleep, take time out from work and from sorting out the sale/purchase of our house, get fresh air and exercise and prioritise our well-being as much as possible. All if this helps gets the basic in place to deal with the stress.
Moving house is a time to get more mindful as we need time to breath, meditate and chill out. Apps like Calm and Headspace are really useful too. Respite from this process is key for us to survive the process.
Talk to your children in advance and make sure they know what will happen and when.
If anyone offers to help us, we should let them and if they don’t, we need to ask for help. This is not time for us to be independent and self-sufficient.
If we prepare in advance, this can reduce stress on the lead up to moving., Things like mail redirection, changing GPs, broadband, utilities, and council tax can all be done prior to moving. Planning what will go in what room in advance, along with packing in advance, numbering boxes in priority of need and room also helps.
On the day of the move, take a walk or do something positive before you start the move. Make sure the children know where they should be or take them to a babysitter for the day. Take photos of how electronics are assembled, how the wardrobe is disassembled and how to put things back together as you go along.
We need to help any removal companies to pack and unpack our belongings the way we want. Do not be afraid to tell them exactly where thing go and how to stack them. You can in fact, get removals companies who will do all your packing for you, but for a price, of course.
Acceptance is key for us to get through this process, accepting it will be stressful, it will take time and our lives will be disrupted for some time. But always remind ourselves why we are moving, which could be a bigger, better place, a better area, somewhere to call our own or just a new start. The positives are always there if we look for them.
If this is happening for you good luck – you can do this and it’s worth it.