Looking After Your Physical and Emotional Health While Moving

Looking After Your Physical and Emotional Health While Moving

While any reputable moving company will make it a priority to minimise your stress throughout a house or flat move (and you can take off even more pressure by using their in-house packing/unpacking and other ancillary services), there’s no surefire way of uprooting yourself and your possessions and moving them somewhere new that comes completely free of tension or worry. Even in the event that you delegate every single task, you might still experience concerns and moments of alarm, some of them just created by your own thoughts. 

And, of course, if you’re taking on some of the figurative and literal heavy-lifting yourself, the opportunities for worry to come your way can increase. And it’s not just the emotional straits of a move that can weigh on you. Moving can be an immensely physically taxing undertaking, from the moment you start filling up cardboard boxes. Fail to take the right precautions when heaving a sofa and you could cause yourself long-lasting injury. 

The next best thing to completely banishing stress and the risk of injury is to mitigate them. Sensible self-care before, during and after a move will make a huge difference to the state you’re in when it’s all over. With the right guidance in place, there’s no reason why you can’t have a wonderful, auspicious first day in your new home and set the perfect tone for all the happy years to come.

How Does Moving House Affect You Emotionally?

According to research published in Metro last year, one in five couples split when moving house, so it’s safe to say that the old adage about moving being almost as stressful as bereavement and divorce holds some water. The same research also found that during a move, 70 per cent of couples experience conflict and argument. Stress, tensions, marital disharmony… clearly, a move that isn’t handled optimally can be disastrous. That out-of-control feeling can leave even the most level-headed among us gasping for breath. And that’s before you take into account that sometimes the very causes of the move are stressful; not everyone is upsizing or moving to their dream home. Some are moving because of a family death, or because a relation needs help, or because a marriage has ended.

Moving Anxiety Symptoms

In the worst circumstances, a move can bring on anxiety (so much to plan, so little time; what if it all goes wrong?; are you making the right choice?), depression (leaving behind old friendships and networks, fond familiar places, large parts of your personal history) and fear (stepping into the unknown). There are potentially perilous impacts to your finances and there’s so much to do, it can be hard to visualise yourself getting to the other side of it all. Everything from your breathing to your sleep can be negatively impacted. 

Physical Impact of Moving

The emotional toll alone can be tough, but what about your body? There’s no doubt that physical fatigue can be part of the picture and that this will be exacerbated if you’re also contending with sleep deprivation. Then there’s the mistakes people can make when lifting heavy items. If this isn’t done sensibly, the potential consequences include back injury, pulled muscles and also damage to extremities, whether that’s cuts, grazes and bruises on the hands and fingers or a sprained ankle. You could also become so caught up in how busy you are, that staying hydrated falls by the wayside and diet devolves into nothing but coffee, carbs and sugar, compounding the exhaustion cycle. 

Ways To Look After Yourself During a Move

To minimise the emotional impact of a move, the best approach is to allow more time than you need so that, further on, you can take breaks at regular intervals, such as when you feel overwhelmed or tired. If you’re someone who gets overly drawn into social media platforms, then doing whatever you can to take that off the menu during your move will also pay dividends. Replacing the time you spend online with, for example, an exercise class, will diminish your stress in a pronounced enough way that you’ll feel the benefit straight away. Other steps you can take to keep yourself on an even keel during your move include: getting outside, whether that’s for walks in nature or a run; making a conscious effort to keep your sleep optimal, declining late nights out until the move is over; learning to ask for help, if it’s not something you’re already good at (remember that a lot of people like helping their friends/family, so it’s never as big an ask as you might think); delegating some of the tougher parts of the move to your removals company (e.g. packing/unpacking); breathing exercises. Lastly, try viewing your stress from a mindfulness perspective – allowing it to happen and observing it from one remove, rather than struggling with it or denying it. 

To keep yourself going physically during your house move, start with eating healthily (there will be psychological benefits to that, too) and drinking sufficient water. If you’ve taken on any of the most physical work entailed by moving, then apprise yourself of how to do it safely. If you’re middle-aged or older, put on knee-protecting pads and braces, bend at the knees before attempting to lift boxes/chairs etc, protect your hands from cuts and abrasions with gloves and minimise the likelihood of accidents by always clearing a path before you move a heavy item out of the house – you do not want to be stepping over obstacles while carrying an armchair. 

Relocation Anxiety

Lest anyone tell you that this is all a fuss about nothing and that all one needs for a move is a stoical, pull-your-socks-up attitudes, it’s worth bearing in mind that relocation anxiety is a widely recognised affliction. Moving, when not undertaken with the right precautions, can lead to depression, anxiety and difficulty adjusting. People whose moves don’t go well can end up feeling withdrawn, unmotivated and burned out. However, the steps we’ve outlined above can ensure that your move is a positive experience.

Feeling Unsettled After Moving House?

And what about when the move is over? Sometimes, this can actually be when all the feelings catch up with you. This is when to apply a post-move regimen which can include: setting up a new daily routine; reinvesting yourself in a hobby you didn’t have time for during the move; getting to know your new area in a proactive and engaged way; deliberately spending time with friends/family; picking a DIY task that your new home needs and setting about it. 

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