Moving house is known to be an incredibly stressful experience. The organisational and emotional strain of uprooting your life can easily begin to take its toll, and the unfamiliarity of a new home can leave you feeling unsettled. Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of charity Anxiety UK believes that “The lack of order, the uncertainty and upheaval that surrounds a move can trigger underlying mental health conditions such as anxiety, OCD and depression.”
Obviously, how distressing someone finds a move depends on their circumstance. But the micro-stresses of relocating can build up, regardless of why you’ve chosen or needed to relocate. Dealing with solicitors, arranging a mortgage, packing, unpacking, registering with a new doctor, setting up contracts – when you’re planning a move, the arrangements can feel endless.
But, thank god, they’re not. There will be a point when you’re all signed off, all unpacked and totally ready to just settle into your new home. Until then, there are some coping methods that you can use during your move to make the process more bearable.
Give yourself as much time as possible
Like anything, moving house is less stressful if you plan in advance. In their guide to making moving easier AnyVan estimate that, unless forced to leave in a hurry, you’ll have anywhere from 4-8 weeks to organise your move. Whilst some tasks, like packing the essentials, will have to wait till the last minute, others can be seen to as early as possible.
These might include procuring packing materials (boxes of various sizes, tape, sticker labels, coloured markers and bubble-wrap), gradually boxing up the items that you don’t use on a daily basis, arranging a removal service and notifying important contacts of your new address.
It’s good to remember that certain appointments, like getting your internet installed, can take weeks, even months to arrange. This kind of task is best ticked off before moving has commenced, that way, it’s one less thing to think about and you won’t have to spend weeks without wifi.
Stay balanced: have some downtime
When you’re moving house, it can feel like there’s always something you should be doing. But giving in to this relentless pressure is not going to help alleviate any ‘moving anxiety’ symptoms you might be struggling with. Whilst burying your head in the sand and completely ignoring your to-do list is questionable advice, you’ll certainly need to take a break sometimes.
After all, research suggests that daily hassles are more closely correlated with illness than life events. If your life’s becoming dominated by chores, it’s important to take some time to relax. No matter how busy you are, try to do something nice each day. Whether that’s a brisk walk, a coffee with a friend or watching a film, it’ll do you good in the long run.
When you’ve moved into your new place, it can be tempting to try and make everything perfect straight away. But these things take time. If you can’t unpack everything on day one, week one, or even month one, there’s no need to panic. Eventually the boxes will get emptied, the furniture will be arranged and the paintings will be hung. But if, on the first night, you’re balancing fish and chips on your knee whilst sitting on a pile of cardboard, try to remember all the hurdles you’ve already jumped, and how few there are still to go.
Remember, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed
Nobody manages to move house without feeling a little besieged. So it’s important to remember that moving-related stress and new home fears are incredibly normal.
Eliciting the help of friends and family will mean you don’t feel like you’re handling it all on your own. Especially if you’ve got dependents to account for – maybe you’re moving with kids or an elderly relative – you can end up having to take on the load of two or three people, all on your own.
Then, there are always professionals available on hand to help and we strongly recommend you start looking into outside help as soon as possible, so that you have all the assistance you need sorted before the big move. For example, businesses such as an Oxford man and van company can be the answer for you, as they offer various vehicle sizes to help the process of moving house less of a struggle and more of a hassle-free and smooth experience.
Anyone offering a helping hand should be taken up on it. If no one’s offered, it’s completely reasonable to ask for help. Most people will have gone through a move or three themselves, and will be able to sympathise with the stress involved. Whether you beg your friend to bring you round some tape, tea and sympathy, or ask your burly neighbour to help you shift the box full of books – moving is often a collective effort.
However much planning you do and however much help you enlist, moving is never a walk in the park. But as long as you keep the end in sight, cut yourself some slack, and don’t leave it all till the last minute, it’ll be possible to move house with your sanity intact.