Moving to a new home and/or a new town is a big deal at any age. In fact, one poll in 2020 found that 45% of Americans think that moving is by far the most stressful event in life! It’s no wonder that downsizing out of a long-time home and into a much smaller space can be such a significant life event. If you find yourself lost, overwhelmed, and wondering how to start your transition, you’re not alone! We’ve identified the top stress-triggers when you’re moving, and gathered some expert tips and tricks to help your move go as smoothly as possible.
Top 5 Reasons Moving is Stressful
Fear of Change
In our experience, people either love moving or hate it. The prospect of moving can spark a vast range of emotions including hopefulness, disappointment, excitement, and anxiety. Fear is a powerful emotion, and dealing with the fear of an impending move can create negativity and procrastination that only makes things worse.
At the basic level, the way you’ll cope with a move will reflect how you deal with change in general. Those who move frequently are statistically more likely to be risk takers, whereas those who hate moving are likely petrified at the thought of uprooting their comfortable life, making decisions and taking action.
Among the countless stressors that arise in a downsizing move, money is considered the biggest one of all. Whether or not you feel financially ready to move, many of the costs of moving are unavoidable. Senior moves and downsizing in particular cost more than the moves you may have made in the past when you had more space, more flexibility and more energy! There are many, many variables that will affect the cost of your move, but it’s safe to say that it will likely be more expensive than you think.
Lack of Time
Second only to money, a lack of time is one of the biggest stressors during a move. There is an intricate dance involved when selling your current home and buying or securing your new residence. Not knowing if your home will sell within your moving timeframe is a scary thought, and equally appalling is the thought of a lengthy closing process that could leave you displaced if your current home sells before you’re ready to relocate.
As if the balance of buying and selling homes wasn’t stressful enough, you may find yourself scrambling to sort and pack – a process that can often take months, and is hard to rush. Ideally, you should ensure you’ve given yourself enough time to sort through belongings, pare down, and discard anything you no longer want or need. This is much easier said than done, especially during a time crunch.
Not Enough Help
Whether you have friends and family willing to lend a hand, or you plan to hire a team of professionals, you’ll need help! While we have definitely seen that both options are viable (depending on your needs, of course), studies have shown that nearly 50% of people who recently moved themselves would never DIY a move again, whereas nearly 95% of people who hired movers for their last move say it was worth every penny.
Beyond your moving crew, you’ll have some other options to consider as far as help goes. As you sell your current home and buy the next, you’ll need to work with a real estate agent. A professional organizer can also be a very helpful addition to your moving team, as they can help you sort through belongings and figure out what needs to be pared down. You may want to hire a specialty moving company for items like pianos, and other industry experts depending on your specific needs. Consider hiring a move manager to handle things if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the whole process, as they can handle arrangements for you, including hiring other professionals to get the job done.
Fear of Displacement
People tend to become attached to their homes and communities, so it is no wonder fear of displacement is another huge stressor during a move. You may fear that you will not be able to relate to, or connect with the people in your next environment, or that you will feel “out of place” completely.
Your new residence may feel unfamiliar at first, and chances are, you’ll be thrown off your regular routine. Keep yourself busy and calm the anxiety by spending time settling into your space. Unpack and organize, and redecorate so it begins to feel like home. If you’re worried about leaving old friends behind, remember that they are just a phone call away. The reality is that you aren’t abandoning your relationships for new ones, but simply extending your network of loved ones to include people in your new community.
Dealing with the Stress of a Move
When you’re busy sorting, planning, packing while also trying to keep up with the normal activities of life, you may not notice the symptoms of stress right away. Keep an eye out for these common signs you may be suffering from moving stress:
- Inability to relax
- Avoiding people or social situations
- Feeling overwhelmed and negative
- Feeling depressed, anxious and unproductive
- disorganization and forgetfulness
- Physical symptoms, including chest pain, headache, insomnia, and body aches
- Have the Right Attitude – Going into your move with a bad attitude will cause you nothing but grief. Trying putting a positive spin on things: rather than missing friends, favorite restaurants, and your usual haunts you now have an opportunity to play host to those friends for weekend visits, find a new favorite eatery, and explore your community.
- Do Your Research – If you’re feeling nervous about your new locale, you should take some time to research before your move. Find out where the closest grocery store is, transfer your prescriptions to a local pharmacy, locate the nearest hospital, find a new doctor and dentist, and add the local non-emergency number to your contacts for easy access. Having this information handy will definitely make things easier once you start to settle in!
- Self Care – Don’t let your emotions get the best of you: if you’re frustrated or overwhelmed, take a break, refuel, get a change of scenery, or take a nap. Learn to rest, not give up, and bring a fresh outlook when you’re ready to start again.