Moving is one of the more stressful events in life, and it’s easy to deprioritize self-care in the process. You might think, “Who has time for a bubble bath when there are boxes to pack?!” Self-care might not seem important in the moment, but it is crucial in reducing anxiety before, during, and after moving day. It is the act of intentionally looking out for your own well-being. Self-care does not need to be glamorous, time-consuming, or break the bank. It can be as simple as chatting with a friend, getting out of the house for some fresh air, or taking a nap. To make the process easier, incorporate some of these ideas into your own self-care routine.
Self Care Ideas
- Get active: Getting out of the house and engaging in physical activities can be extremely beneficial for relieving the stress that comes with moving. There are many different activities that you could participate in such as jogging, biking, lifting weights, or yoga. Try to find what works best for you and get moving.
- Keep a journal: Many people enjoy journaling because it helps them think clearly. Journaling is a great resource for planning out the logistics of your move or taking notes on where you want all of your things to go. Writing down your thoughts can help you release pent up emotion and start fresh.
- Get enough sleep: Being overly stressed can cause you to have trouble falling asleep at night. When there is so much to do – and think about – you may lose valuable sleep that your body needs. Sleep helps you recharge physically and mentally, and if you are not sleeping it can affect your mood, energy level and ability to think clearly. Taking the necessary steps to make sure you are getting a good night’s rest is essential to your well-being, and keeping your stress levels down.
- Connect with others: When you are stressed your instinct may be to isolate yourself. Rather than being alone, reach out of friends or family members to chat, or get together. Being with others is a great distraction from all the moving stress. You could also consider asking for assistance with the moving process, as having friends or family around will make moving more efficient and enjoyable.
- Decluttering and organizing: Remember – self-care isn’t always glamorous! Moving can be a hefty task, so setting aside a little extra time each day to tackle the clutter is a great way to care for your future self. Start with common places in your home that extraneous items may collect (closet, desk, storage space, etc). You might use the Marie Kondo method, sorting clothes, books, papers, and miscellaneous items by category. Get rid of your discarded items by holding a garage sale, or donating to a thrift store.
If you start ahead of time, and stick to a routine, you’ll be much less overwhelmed come moving day. Consider using a pre-move checklist to stay organized and avoid procrastination.
- Forward medical records and transfer prescriptions: For long-distance and cross-country moves, you will need to find a new doctor and pharmacy. Talk to your current providers and ask that your medical records and prescriptions be forwarded.
- Examine the floor plan: Knowing the floor plan of your new home beforehand can allow you plan out your decorations, measure your furniture, and help you to visualize how everything will fit into your new space.
- Arrange parking for the moving truck: Moving trucks need a great deal of room to be able to fit near or in front of your home, as well as allow space for movers to load large items into the truck. Make sure the driver will have a secure place to park when moving day comes.
- Schedule painting and repairs: If your new home needs to be painted make arrangements for this prior to moving your belongings into the home. Having this job scheduled ahead of time will help you avoid stress later.
- Request vacation: Moving is not usually a weekend operation. You will most likely need time off to complete the move, so request vacation before life gets chaotic.
- Take inventory. Keeping track of all your belongings is very important. Make lists or take photos of all your possessions to make sure you don’t lose anything. Using a label maker to label your boxes can also be beneficial.
- Shop for a great moving company. The right mover can make all the difference, so compare and contrast moving quotes until you find the best fit for you.
- Start packing. Gather a variety of different size moving boxes and start packing up your possessions. Packing items that are not used often is a great place to start. Once these items are all packed up you can continue to pack more and more in the days leading up to your move.
- Hire a dumpster or schedule disposal. Moving out can generate lots of trash, so make sure you are covered. Contact your local trash hauler and arrange for a special pickup. You may also want to rent a dumpster if you have lots to dispose of.
- Make plans for your valuables. If you have jewelry, artwork or other valuables, make sure they are properly insured, and that the movers know about them.
- Cats and dogs: Make sure your pets will have a safe place to stay while moving. Whether it be leaving your fur babies in a kennel or with a friend or relative. Having a secure place for them to stay will help reduce your stress.
- Confirm everything. No matter how many times you have confirmed your moving day plans, one more confirmation won’t hurt. Knowing everything is in place will ease moving anxiety and cause less stress.
Coping with Relocation Depression
Feeling sad and lonely is common after moving to a new area – so common, in fact, experts have termed it “relocation depression.” If you are in a funk after moving, try these self-care tips:
- Expose yourself to new experiences. Getting out of the house and seeing what your new city has to offer is necessary to overcoming relocation depression. Whether this be attending a concert, going on a hike or visiting a new restaurant, going out can help distract you from the immediate feeling of sadness.
- Make new friends: A great way to mitigate the feeling of loneliness in a new city is to try and make some new friends. Introduce yourself to the people around you, like neighbors and coworkers. Dating apps are a great way to see who’s out there. You may even want to join a club where you can meet people with similar interests to yours.
- Call old friends: Keep in touch with your old friends. You may not see them as often, but don’t forget to keep them updated with your new life in a new city. They would love to hear about your new home and how everything is going. Having someone familiar to talk to can ease your stress and anxiety.
- Try something new. Taking up a new hobby can strengthen your identity and help you find your niche. Try signing up for a dance class, game night, adult sports league, volunteer at your local shelter, etc. There are so many options and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.
Of course, all the self-care in the world can’t replace a medical professional or therapist. If you are in crisis, contact the national crisis hotlines.
Whether you are moving into your first home, embarking on a cross-country move while changing jobs, moving into your dream house or moving into retirement, a little self-care can go a long way. Be kind to yourself. Moving is stressful for many reasons, and self-care isn’t always easy, but this is truly the time you need it most.
Jennifer Karami is a writer at Redfin, a technology-enabled real estate brokerage. Redfin’s mission is to redefine real estate in the customer’s favor.