Relocation stress is real, even if you are headed to your dream job. After all, your whole life is being turned upside down.
According to experts, the stress can be mild or severe, and could include aches in the back, head or stomach, high blood pressure, or increased susceptibility to infection or disease. Some people become irritable or impatient, while others are moody or depressed, and could be experiencing nightmares, bouts of crying or panic attacks.
There are two main ways to fight stress:
- Gain control over the move.
- Take care of yourself.
TRC Global Mobility offers 16 tips today – eight to gain control and eight for your well-being – that can make your move a little less stressful.
Gaining control over the move:
- Buy a notebook with a pocket for receipts. Your smartphone is indispensable, but when you’re relocating, lists are your friends. We advise writing everything down in a notebook that goes wherever you go, so when you think of something, you can immediately write it down. Make separate pages for each category, for example, appointments, phone numbers, addresses, or anything else that needs your attention before, during and after the move. Save the last page of your notebook for a to-do list that you will add to going backward. Once a task is done, cross it off. That alone will bring a sense of accomplishment.
- Color code your boxes. Some relocation policies include household goods packing services and some don’t. If you are packing yourself, buy assorted rolls of colored Duct Tape to match the number of rooms you have. For example, use pink for your daughter’s bedroom and all her boxes will have a strip of pink Duct Tape. When you get to your new home you can easily see the room in which each box belongs. And be sure to include the color legend in your notebook – right on one of the inside covers.
- Parse possessions. This is the perfect opportunity to rid yourself of extra baggage – clothes you haven’t worn for years or household items or furniture you no longer need. Either donate to charity or have a yard sale. If you have children, have them go through their possessions as well, and give them the yard sale proceeds from their items. It’s amazing how often children will gladly sell a toy for money they can use to buy things to fill their new rooms.
- Plan ahead. Do as much as possible before your move for an easier transition, including researching possible doctors and dentists. You don’t want to arrive at your new home with a raging sinus infection or broken tooth with no idea where to turn.
- Prioritize. This is where your list comes in handy. Knock off the most important tasks first, and work down the list. You might find that some of your to-dos can be done once you are settled in your home. We all love to multi-task, but in the case of a move, consider working on one task at a time.
- Saying goodbye. Be sure to connect with people before your move. It is also important to visit the places you have most enjoyed, such as a restaurant, park or museum.
- For children. Set up play dates with their closest friends, and ask them if there is any place they would like to go before the move.
- Friendship books. Buy a book for each of your children, to record pictures of their home, their rooms, their favorite places and their best pals. For older children, friends can write goodbyes in the book next to their pictures.
Taking care of yourself:
- Breathe. Sounds simple enough, but many of us forget to really breathe, especially when we are stressed. When you find your body tensing, stop and take a really deep breath. In fact, take a few deep breaths. And then get back to work.
- Keep physical. We’re not talking about packing boxes. Set time aside, at least 20 minutes three times a week, for some type of physical activity to let off steam: running, walking, aerobics class or gardening.
- Don’t ignore feelings. If you or a family member is having a hard time accepting the move, talk to a professional before you leave – and if needed after you are settled. Simply expressing your apprehensions often can go a long way toward acceptance.
- Express your emotions. If you feel like crying, let the tears flow. In fact, if you need to cry watch a sappy movie or listen to a song that tugs at your heart. If you are angry, talk to someone. Emotions need attention.
- Take breaks. Turn off the phone, computer and lights and sit quietly for a short time or read. This is also a great time to practice that breathing you should be doing!
- Keep routines. Get your normal amount of sleep and eat as you always do. It’s tempting to order pizza or pick up fast food when you are busy with a move, but consider breaking out your crock pot or using an outdoor grill for a fast meal. If you go to the gym, don’t stop. Routines will keep your life on an even keel. The same advice applies to kids: Their activities should remain constant until the move.
- Avoid negatives. If you are thinking – or saying – anything negative about the move, reframe the thought into a positive. Often, it might seem impossible, so make a game out of it.
- Laugh a lot. Tell jokes, keep a smile on your face, and watch some comedy shows on TV.
Consider making this relocation a time to incorporate positive behaviors into your daily routine – routines that can follow you to your new home. And once moved, give yourself time to readjust to your new life.
And don’t forget to breathe!