It’s ok to feel stressed when moving house, , but letting the stress get the better of you can make the situation more difficult, have a negative impact on your mental health and ruin what should be an exciting experience.
We’ve compiled 10 different ways you can get a handle on your stress around moving day, so that you can stay calm and focus on enjoying your new home.
1. Control your breathing
Breathing is often cited as the best technique for managing stress or anger in a situation. If you’re feeling mounting pressure on yourself on moving day, performing some breathing exercises can help to centre your mind and relax you.
Close your eyes and take a deep breathe inwards, then exhale and pay attention to how your body relaxes and changes as you do this. Keep going, making your exhales longer each time so your body spends more time untensing and you can focus on how that feels. Breathing in for a count of four, and out for a count of eight is a popular technique.
Breathing like this can help to reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure through your body, including your brain. This will help you to carry out your tasks calmly, which will help you focus without clouding your mind with stressors.
2. Practice visualization
In conjunction with breathing techniques, you might want to try visualization. This is exactly what it sounds like, imagining yourself being calm. Visualise your move going easily and without a hitch, following every plan you’ve laid out. If there are changes or complications, you will be able to handle them.
While you are breathing and your eyes are closed, picture yourself in your new home, happy and relaxed. When you bring yourself back to reality you should be facing your situation as if it were a new day, with a new focus.
3. Get some sleep
It is very important for mental health to get a good amount of sleep, and it is especially vital when going through a big life change like moving home. In the days leading up to your move, make sure you, and those you are moving with get plenty of sleep.
To help improve your sleep, try to keep devices like phones and computers away from you once you are ready for bed. The blue light they transmit will likely keep you awake long after you put them away. Also, if you think you might have trouble drifting off, go to bed earlier than you intend, so that you can still fall asleep at the ideal time.
If you can’t fall asleep for worrying about all the things you need to do, write a list before bed. It’ll still be there when you wake up, and you can fall asleep knowing you won’t forget anything.
Being well rested on moving day will put you in a much better mood and help you feel more alert, which will help things to run smoothly.
4. Get some air
You may not realize the affect an indoor space can have on your anxiety levels. When you’re moving, you are likely to be surrounded by boxes and furniture. Feeling enclosed or hot and stuffy can make you feel tense, and in extreme circumstances, trigger a panic attack.
For that reason, it’s really important on moving day for you to take regular breaks and go outside for fresh air to keep control of your mental state. If your new property has a garden, unpack some chairs and have a cup of tea or coffee out there. If not, you could take a walk outside, maybe get to know the neighbourhood a little.
Exercise is also very good for your mental health, so in the run up to your move, try to stay active. If you’ve spent days packing and cleaning, you might feel too exhausted, but even a brisk walk can help.
We know on such a busy day with tight deadlines it can feel hard to take that moment for yourself, but even if you’re running out to load packing boxes into the van, getting outside into the fresh air can be a big help.
5. Challenge your mind
When you’re stressed and anxious it can lead to an overabundance of negative or irrational thoughts in your brain, warping your idea of the situation you’re in. This can very easily happen when moving house, as you’ll have a lot of things to plan and to pack. You could find yourself worrying about all the little details or thinking ‘what if this happens?’ or ‘what if that goes wrong?’ When experiencing negative thoughts, a useful mechanism is to create a counter argument to yourself. If you’re thinking, “what if this happens?” come back at yourself with, ‘how likely is that really to happen?' or ‘what impact will that have if it does?’. Recognize when you are jumping to the worst-case scenario.
6. Take it slow
One common source of negative thoughts, leading to stress, is focussing too much on the bigger pictures. When moving, the obvious end goal is to have everything unpacked and your house ready to live in. But trying to get all that done in one day, or even consider it, is going to be overwhelming.
Reframe your mind to focus on the small tasks you do along the way rather than the end result. Do you really need to unpack everything straight away? Unpack the important things and furniture on moving day, (starting with the bed so you know you have somewhere to sleep!) then take your time to have breaks and get used to your new house and neighbourhood.
7. Listen to music
A popular technique for combatting overwhelming stress and anxiety is to use music. Putting some music on during your move or while you unpack can help to change the atmosphere you’re in and improve your mood.
There’s no rule as to what kind of music you should use. Some may find whale music or some kind of nature sounds help to calm them, while others may enjoy their favourite pop songs to make them feel happy and able to enjoy themselves. Music can have a profound effect on your feelings, so whatever works to make you feel better and more comfortable with the day is fine. If you’re moving with other people, perhaps you could take turns playing your favourite songs and take the opportunity to sing along loudly. Release the stress!
8. Remember to eat and drink
Make sure you are eating daily square meals and staying hydrated on the days leading up to your move (and every day really) so that you wake up on the day nourished and ready.
On the day itself make sure you eat something for breakfast, then it’s a good idea to have a packed lunch with you for the day, so that you don’t have to unpack all your food as soon as you get to your new home. Make sure you’ve also got a water bottle to drink from throughout the day.
In our Moving Day Survival Guide
we recommend setting up a little drinks and snack station in your new home during moving day, with biscuits, cereal bars and the kettle for teas and coffees. Pack this box separately right before you leave your previous property.
If you haven’t unpacked all your food or kitchen gadgets by dinner time, take it as an opportunity to explore the local area and find somewhere to eat. That way you can have a break and get sustenance to continue your tasks when you get home. If you’re too exhausted to move after a long day of unpacking, take advantage of local takeaways – just don’t forget to update your delivery address!
9. Talk to someone
When you’re in a situation that has you stressed or anxious, it’s never helpful to bottle up those feelings. If you feel you are going to be stressed or under pressure on your moving day, make sure to have people around to talk to. It’s naturally a stressful time, and just sharing that worry with someone who’s been there before can make a big difference. If you’re moving together with someone, make sure that you agree to be a support network for each other. If the day is becoming overwhelming for one of you, let them know they can tell you, and vice versa.
If you are moving by yourself and you feel you may become overwhelmed with stress, the best thing to do is pull in as many friends and family members to help as possible. Having more people around to support you can speed up tasks and make you feel less alone. It also makes moving more fun.
10. Short meditation
Many people practice frequent mindfulness meditation to control their mental health and ease their mood. However, meditation can be helpful, even if you’re doing it for the first time. And it’s easy.
To successfully meditate, all you need to do is sit still somewhere comfortable (this can be in a chair, it doesn’t have to be cross-legged) and find something to focus your mind on. This can be your breathing like earlier, or it can be a particular sound in the distance, or the way the floor feels beneath your feet. Finding focus and using that to drift away from your thoughts and feelings that may be stressors can help to centre you, bringing you back to healthy thoughts. There are lots of free led meditations online to listen to if you’re not sure where to start.
Whether it’s the never-ending packing, worrying about your mortgage offer, or the morning of your home move, meditation can help you take a few moments to centre yourself and take on the day’s tasks with new energy and a positive attitude.
Moving has long been considered one of the most stressful things you can do, and there’s a lot of uncertainty throughout the process to weather. Getting to grips with some of these techniques will help you prepare so that by the time moving day arrives, all you’re focused on is enjoying your new home.
To feel confident you haven’t forgotten anything on moving day, look at our Moving House Checklist.