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Surviving the Stress of Moving

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

Written by Lisa Harrison, LMSW, Industry Expert in Social Work


Moving can be a stressful, yet exciting time in a person’s life. It can be a deeply profound emotional experience.  Housing and moving can be a symbolism of hope, a new beginning and most importantly, a chance to start over.  Moving can also bring out worry, fear and anxiety.  Moving is listed as one of the top 3 biggest stressors in a persons life.  There are some tips to help make this experience more enjoyable.

PLAN AHEAD – Start by organizing your thoughts and have a rough idea of what the move is going to entail.  Moving is like having a huge project, on top of all of our day to day responsibilities. The more organized you are, and having an idea of what to expect, can help minimize the stress. Making a list and prioritizing the tasks that need to be done, can help when unforeseen things come up.  Start early, and begin crossing things off the list as soon as you can.  This will allow for time when unforeseen things come up… which they will.  Recognize and expect that things will go wrong. Having an early start can help reduce the stress when things pop up that you didn’t expect.

ASK FOR HELP – Enlist your friends and family to help.  We all have moments in our life when we need to ask others for help.  Having someone else around can be a great distraction from the stress of moving.  If you can, plan ahead and ask people a week or more in advance, so they are able to accommodate.

SELF CARE – Take care of yourself.  Our bodies are most susceptible to getting sick when we are stressed. Make sleep a priority during the move and try to get a full night of rest. Plan out your meals. Our bodies need fuel to work efficiently, and it is important to make sure that we get proper nutrition during the process. Allow yourself to take a break.  It is important to take time away from the stress.  Allow yourself the flexibility to stop and visit with a friend, take a bath, or just get some fresh air to clear your mind. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Understand that this is a difficult time, and recognize that you are doing the best that you can.

HAVE FUN – Accept the experience for what it is and try to make the best of it.  Your attitude will go a long way to keep everyone else feeling positive.  Understand and recognize that a stress-free move isn’t possible, and stress can be contained.  Learn to prioritize what is most important, and accept that things may not go according to the plan. Try to enjoy the moment and make the best out of the situation, understanding that this is short lived, and there is an end in sight.  If all else fails…. Just breathe.


Written by Lisa Harrison, Licensed Master Social Worker

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