Why is Moving So Stressful?
Whether you’re moving to a new place in the same city or relocating across the country, you’re likely to feel a mix of stress and emotions as you pack your boxes. But why?
Multiple factors can contribute to moving stress. Here’s a short list of common factors that many families grapple with throughout their moving experience.
- Disruption to the daily routine
- Attachment to an old home
- Change and uncertainty about moving to a new place
- Financial costs associated with moving
- Logistics and coordinating important details
- Time commitments required to pack and move
- Physical exhaustion from packing
- And more
It’s no secret that moving can be a major drain on physical and mental health, which is why reducing your stress during a move is so important. But how do you even know when it’s time to destress?
How to Tell if You’re Stressed Out from Moving
While you might feel excited about your new place, anxiety and stress can quickly overwhelm those positive feelings.
This stress can also have a lot of effects on your body, including:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
- Change in appetite
- Teeth grinding
- Change in sex drive
- Feeling dizzy
- Irritability or anger
- Feeling nervous
- Lack of energy
- Feeling as though you could cry
Most of these have multiple causes, but if you’re suddenly feeling a few of these symptoms while packing up your home, you may be suffering from moving stress.
Tips for the Planning Phase
There are ways that you can destress during each of the moving phases. Let’s take a look at some things you can do as soon as you know a move is coming.
1. Destress with a Research Session
If you’re moving to a new area, you may feel anxious about the location. You can put that anxiety to rest by using tools like Neighborhood Scout to research the neighborhood where you’ll be moving. This will give you information about your new area’s public transport, schools, crime rates, and characteristics.
You can also use Walk Score to find out if your new area is walkable or if you’ll need transport to get around. This is also a great resource to find apartments or places to rent if you haven’t already.
It’s also fun to look up your favorite stores and restaurants to see if there are any locations near your new home. Having a good idea of what to expect in your new area will help to alleviate some of the worry and anxiety you’re feeling.
2. Plan Ahead to Alleviate Future Stress
As soon as you know where you’re moving, there are a few things you can do immediately to give yourself a little more breathing room prior to your relocation date.
Save yourself from future stress by clearing these necessary to-dos before you even start packing:
- Forward your mail. Set this up with the mail service in advance and specify the date you want it to start.
- Update your address. Make a list of who you need to notify about your change of address and contact them.
- Set up or transfer your utilities. Schedule a date to get your services set up or transferred before you arrive in your new residence.
- Make a moving budget. Add up all expected moving expenses and leave a buffer for anything unexpected.
- Make a timeline with a moving checklist. This way you will know what you have to do and when.
Clearing some things off your moving to-do list will give you a little boost of satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment.
3. Recruit Assistance
When it comes to a move, there’s a lot to do but not necessarily a lot of time to do it. Asking for help can take some of the pressure off your shoulders.
Friends & Family
There are plenty of ways friends and family members can help beyond just carrying heavy furniture. They can help you declutter, organize, pack, or even just keep you entertained while you work. They can also watch your pets or kids while you’re working. Sometimes just having a friendly face around can help ease some of the stress you’re feeling.
If you’re moving locally and you don’t have any friends or family to help, you may also want to consider hiring someone to watch your kids or pets during the move. This keeps them safely out of the way and makes the whole process a little less hectic.
Professional Moving Company
Hiring professional movers is probably one of the most significant ways to reduce the stress of moving, especially if you’re moving at the last minute.
Moving companies offer a variety of services, not just full-service moves. Even if you’re driving the truck yourself, you can still hire moving services to load and unload your moving truck or pack and unpack your possessions.
4. Prepare Your Kids & Help Them Cope
You’re not the only one dealing with a roller coaster of emotions during a move. Your kids are also likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed. According to the AACAP, moving can cause children to become more dependent or depressed.
Here are a couple of quick tips you can use to help them cope:
- Tell your child that you’re moving as early as possible. Not only does this give them time to process the change, but it also allows them to get used to the idea.
- Talk about the new area and show them pictures or take them to visit, so they start to become familiar with it.
- Include your child in the moving process as much as possible. Let them pick out paint for their new room and help pack their belongings.
- Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible to cope with the new environment.
Moving can be very hard on kids, especially if you don’t move often or they’ve grown attached to their school and friends. Keeping them informed and involved will help them get excited about the new adventure and reduce their stress levels.
5. Destress Your Pets
Pets will also be full of stress during a move. They like routines and predictability just as much as children do. They’re also not the easiest to travel with, so long-distance moves can be particularly tricky.
To combat your pet’s stress, here are a few tips:
- If you’re going to be using a carrier to transport them, get them used to it ahead of time.
- If you need to stop overnight, check Pets Welcome for pet-friendly hotels and places to stay on the way.
- Use a service like Pet Relocation to ship your animal to your new city, state, or country.
- Keep your pets secluded in a room while you’re packing and during the loading and unloading process.
- The ASPCA recommends that you introduce your pets (especially cats!) into your new home slowly. To do this, bring all their necessities to one room and keep your pet sequestered in there for a couple of days or until they seem comfortable.
Pets can feel some of their owners’ emotions, so cutting out some of your own stress will make the transition a smoother process for both of you.
6. Cut Costs to Lower Stress Levels
Moving on a budget can be tricky. If finances are your biggest stressor, there are a few ways you can try to save some money.
Consider some of these options:
- If you have enough time and your schedule is flexible, plan to move during an off-peak time frame.
- Check with friends, family, or stores to see if they have any boxes you can use.
- Get high-quality moving boxes from getmovingboxes.com to ensure that they’ll hold up to the move and your breakables are safe.
- Fill your suitcases, drawers, laundry baskets, decorative baskets, and whatever else you have that could double as a moving box.
- Use linens and towels to wrap breakables rather than buying bubble wrap. You can even put your socks inside wine glasses or mugs to keep them from breaking.
Moving is expensive, but you can reduce your stress by finding ways to save some money along the way.
Tips for the Pre-Move Phase
When you start writing out your to-do list, be sure to lower your stress levels using some of these helpful tips.
7. Prepare Your New House
Moving into a new house is stressful enough without having to worry about where everything should go.
If you have access to your new home before you move in, try to take care of any major renovations or remodeling ahead of time so that you can put all your furniture and possessions in their proper places on moving day.
This might include painting, replacing any flooring or carpet, remodeling key fixtures, or swapping old appliances for new ones. While you’re at it, get room measurements of the new house. This will allow you to plan out your furniture layout to prevent placement issues during the big move.
Having the new house all ready to go should alleviate some of your moving day stress.
8. Pack for Success
Packing is hard work and time-intensive, but that doesn’t mean you should try to save time and just throw everything into boxes as quickly as possible.
To save yourself from moving day headaches, use some of these packing tricks:
- Declutter as much as possible in the months leading up to your move.
- Begin packing in the room or area (like the garage) that you use the least.
- Pack an entire room at a time and you can keep all your supplies near your packing location.
- Organize and label everything as you pack and create a system to keep things organized.
No matter what you do, we recommend creating a go-to box with all your essentials and loading it on the truck last. Offload it first, and you’ll have everything you need to start unpacking quickly.
Tips for the Moving Phase
When the day finally arrives, your stress levels may be off the charts. Here are a few tricks that might help calm you down, so the day goes smoothly.
9. Dealing with Driving Stress
Tensions can get pretty high when you’re on the road, no matter the circumstance.
Add on a long-distance drive in a moving truck full of all your worldly possessions, and you’re really in for a ride.
- Map out your route ahead of time using a GPS or smartphone.
- Use Google Maps to check traffic and weather conditions.
- Keep a safe buffer between your truck and other vehicles.
- Listen to music or an audiobook during the drive.
- Take plenty of breaks to eat, stretch, and rest.
Road rage and travel fatigue are real things, so it’s important to find ways to reduce your stress levels as much as possible while driving.
Tips for After the Move
Unfortunately, the moving process isn’t over once you unload your furniture and boxes from the moving truck. This means that you’re still going to need some help reducing your stress.
10. Unpacking Tips
Unpacking is potentially more frustrating than packing because you’ll have to find a place for everything in an unfamiliar setting.
Here’s how to handle it:
- Unpack your go-to box first. This way, you have all your essentials right where you need them, making it much easier to get to work on the rest.
- Create a rest area next. This could be a bedroom or a cozy corner. Create a small space where you can just sit for a few minutes and recharge when necessary.
- Unpack the kitchen. An unpacked kitchen means homecooked meals, which can be a godsend if you’re already oversaturated with fast food from your time on the road.
- Make the process fun. Jam out to music, enlist help from kids and friends, and take regular breaks.
There’s no rush to get it all done, so take the time you need to unpack at your pace stressing yourself out even more.
But don’t put it off! It’s very easy to procrastinate and find yourself living out of boxes. Unpack a little every day until the unpacking is done.
11. Create a New Beginning
Now that you’re in your new house, it’s time to try to settle in and make it feel like home.
Take the edge off your stress with these helpful suggestions:
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Meeting the people around you can help you relax and clear away some of the uncertainty of moving to a new place.
- Join activities and clubs in the area! It’s a great way to make new friends and get involved in your local community.
- Create a new routine. A steady routine will get you back into the swing of things and alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling about living in a new place.
The sooner you start getting back to regular life, the sooner you’ll be comfortable in your new home.
Get Ready to Start Your New Adventure
Moving is hard work and causes a lot of stress, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it a little easier.
After everything is said and done, you’ll be in your new home and ready to take on this new chapter of your life.
When you’re ready to start planning your move, be check out Your Hometown Mover for more moving tips or professional assistance for your move.