It’s been reported that the stress of moving ranks among the most stressful life events. But with our transient society, real estate adventures and frequent career changes, moving is an inevitable fact of life. I can certainly attest to that!
My husband and I had moved over 15 times in our first 20 years of marriage due to graduate student housing challenges, pastoral positions throughout New England and then a career in house flipping. I’ve often joked that the scenes of sawdust that we lived through have attributed to my mental fuzziness. Sometimes, I don’t remember exactly how many times we’ve moved. But I have to say, in all honesty, that I have learned to live with and live through these frequent moves – and even enjoy them at times.
Something Old, Something New
One reason why many people find moving stressful is because of the newness of everything once you get to your new location. Suddenly, you’re missing your next door neighbor you had coffee with, your favorite butcher or your car mechanic who was so trustworthy. You’re without friends to meet for a walk, and your kids are feeling nervous about their new school. Moving brings our subconscious need for security and consistency to the surface of our conscious emotions.
But newness doesn’t have to conjure up scenes of fear and rejection. There are plenty of good things to discover in your new home and in a new community. Beyond getting unpacked and set up in your new place, you’ll want to concentrate on not just getting through this move, but actually learning to embrace the experience.
Home Sweet Home
It’s often the little things we do that can bring us a sense of peace and comfort. When moving into your new home, immediately place your special objects in visible places. If you have a favorite painting, a hand-knitted throw, your grandmother’s apron that you always wear when you cook, or a leather journal you love to write in, pack these important “visual comforts” aside and bring them with you personally on moving day. You’ll want to establish the feel of “home sweet home” on your first day there, and the visual placement of these touches of beauty and comfort can help you do just that.
Stay In Touch
You’ll obviously be staying in touch with friends and relatives you may have left behind by phone, Skype and email. But more than staying in touch with these loved ones, stay in touch with how you are feeling. Recognize that the feeling of newness can be a little disconcerting and uncomfortable. Treat yourself and your family with extra grace during the move.
Recognize that everyone can be feeling a little out of sorts. Encourage discussion of what you’re feeling. When we learn to speak kindly to ourselves, we learn to do it even more with those we care about.
There probably were favorite restaurants, bookstores and places of entertainment that you loved frequenting in your former town. Now, it’s time to discover the new treasures your new town has to offer. Maybe it’s a special coffeehouse that the locals rave about, or a majestic mountain that outdoor enthusiasts tell you that you’ve got to climb! Wherever you have moved to, there are special places to discover and a treasure chest of new experiences waiting for you. This attitude of looking forward to positive experiences will help you cherish your past and embrace your new home, your new neighborhood, your new world.
Moving doesn’t have to stress you out. In fact, it may just bring you in to a new wonderful phase of your journey in this life.
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