We all know that moving home is one of the most stressful life events we can encounter, ranking not far behind other big live events like critical illness and divorce. Whilst stress is largely unavoidable, there are steps you can take to maintain your wellbeing throughout the moving process. Read on for our top tips on how to maintain your wellbeing and reduce stress when moving home.
Moving home will generally lead to at least a temporary change to your usual routine, and that alone is enough to cause stress. Add to this the fact you’re likely to be juggling additional admin tasks, making lots of decisions and dealing with all the practical aspects of moving, which all means you’re likely to have far less free time. Stress relieving leisure activities like working out at the gym or meeting up with friends will probably fall by the wayside and could leave you feeling even more stressed out!
You’re likely to need to spend far more time on administrative tasks, doing things like chasing your solicitor, finding documents, thinking ahead to the furniture and services you’ll need to get set up in your new property…the list can feel daunting and never-ending and it’s likely to rob you of your free time for many weeks.
When you’re working constantly and have little time for yourself, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and to burn out. Regardless of how much needs doing though, it’s counterproductive not to give yourself a break from it now and again.
Common causes of stress when moving home
- Financial costs and worries about those costs spiralling
- Uncertainty, for example not having a firm completion date
- Delays and other problems during the sale and purchase process
- Having too much to do and feeling overwhelmed
- The fear of change and wondering how you’ll settle into your new home
- Underestimating the emotional impact of moving home
Some signs of stress to look out for
- Feeling anxious more of the time
- Tension in your body which can lead to you experiencing things like more headaches, aches and pains
- Having a short temper and snapping more than usual
- A general and pervasive angry feeling
- Trouble sleeping (Insomnia)
- Changes to eating habits e.g. binge eating, cravings etc.
- Drinking more alcohol than usual
- Tummy upsets and other digestive problems like indigestion
- Feeling more emotional or tearful than usual
So when you recognise that you’re feeling stressed or anxious, what can you do help yourself? This really depends on you as an individual, and what will work for you.
Whilst many people benefit greatly from activities like meditation and yoga, it’s not the type of thing that appeals to everyone, but you might be surprised to learn it’s not all about sitting cross-legged on the floor looking serene and chanting an Om mantra!
Are there practical things you can do to reduce stress, like talking to someone, asking for help, making a plan of what needs doing or even just walking away from it and having a well-deserved break?
Easy active stress reduction techniques that anyone can do
If you feel like your stress levels are at crisis point, it may be worth trying an active stress-reduction exercise. This is something that you can sit and do anywhere and you only need a few minutes for it to provide instantly calming benefits.
Even if you don’t like the idea of meditating, or think it’s a load of old nonsense, utilising some mindfulness techniques will undoubtedly help you in stressful times. So start by slowing down and identifying how you’re feeling, close your eyes, sit somewhere comfy and then stop. Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, take yourself off into a quiet area at work or into a different room at home if you need to.
Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Breathing remains one of the most effective to stress there is, so don’t underestimate the power of slowing your breathing down just for a few cycles of in and out breaths can have. Once you’ve done this, take a moment to think about how your body and head feel. Turn to one first, then the other, and for a few seconds with your eyes closed, breathing deeply, try to further identify where you feel physical tension in your body.
Stress will often manifest itself in our muscles, as a stressed mind generally leads to a tense body. Focus on various body parts, like your jaw, forehead, neck and shoulders as these are all places that will typically tense up when we are feeling stressed. When you find tension in your body, take a deep breath in, and on the out-breath do your best to loosen the tense muscles and let some of that tension ebb away from you. Do this several times, focusing on different areas of tension in your body, or focusing on the same area for several cycles of breath if needed and if time allows.
As well as focusing on how you feel physically, take a moment to sit with your thoughts. If thoughts are making you anxious, be objective about them. If it’s a problem that can be sorted out, or thoughts about things that need doing, get them down on paper. If they are more general feelings of anxiety with no single root and no easy answer, then recognising that worry won’t improve the situation can help you to effectively let go, it’s not easy though and is a technique that can take time to learn.
For other tips on dealing with stress and anxiety, we’ve listed a few resources below.