The Stress of moving House

Moving home is very high on the list of life events which cause an enormous amount of stress. As you know, when we experience stress we produce more adrenaline and more cortisol. Whilst in the short term our bodies can manage these surges in our biochemistry, and they may even actually make us feel excited, if the stress is prolonged or added on top of other stress, we can easily feel overwhelmed.

If you have moved home as a result of other difficulties this can also add to the stress load. If you are not feeling well, or coping with a chronic illness, moving home can really take an emotional toll. If you are a carer, for children or other dependents, the added responsibility of moving your home can feel very challenging. As well as the emotional drain, moving house can also take a physical toll. You may be lucky enough to afford a professional removal firm but it is all too easy to start shifting stuff yourself or you end up dragging and pushing things into place which may cause you aches and pains. Remember, when we overstrain muscles, it commonly takes three days for the muscles to start really aching.

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle. Interestingly, in psychological dream interpretation, when we dream about a house, it is thought to represent unconscious feelings we have about our own self. So if we have a dream where our home feels unsafe or insecure, it can represent worries we have about our own selves in our own lives. If we dream about finding new rooms in a house it can be interpreted as finding new talents or opportunities that we want to take in our lives. Basically, our homes are us, they are very very important. Our home is our sanctuary and threats to it can make us feel very unsafe. Moving it can really upset our emotional balance. We can feel disorganised and a bit lost. Important useful things end up in new places. Popping out to get things or see people in a new location takes time to get used to. The human brain enjoys recognising patterns and routine so a break from this, whilst it can feel exciting, can sometimes be overwhelming.

Whilst I am talking about moving home around the UK, and thinking of those of you particularly moving into Wandsworth and registering at Elborough Street, I can’t help also thinking about the poor refugees we have seen in the media recently.

It makes me think how overwhelmingly awful it must feel like moving for these poor people, especially those with children, to flee a home, move country and find somewhere new. Coping with a move under these circumstances needs a rather different type of support.

But here is my list of top tips for the day of a more simple form of moving:

  • Get organised. Proper planning prevents a poor performance. So make lists of what needs to be done when. Use stickers to label things and boxes. Make a floor plan of where things need to be put in the new place, and all importantly make sure you have a key to your new home.
  • Get help if you can and don’t overstretch yourself physically believing you have suddenly developed special superhuman strengths you don’t really have on the day. (Adrenaline can make you feel very energized and strong!). Your muscles will let you know three days later!
  • Beds. Sort out where they are going and make sure you have help in setting them up- you will need your sleep.
  • Make sure that you are last to leave your old place so that you can have a visual sweep round to make sure you have not left anything vital. (I always forget phone chargers). You can also say ‘goodbye’ for bad or for good.
  • Food. Make sure you eat and you have a plan for food at the end of the day. Hungry mover equals tetchy mover.
  • Ensure children and pets and any other dependents are catered for. If anyone offers to take over your role as carer for the move, it might well be an offer you have to give serious consideration to.
  • Make sure all your stress relievers, whatever they might be for you, are close of hand at the end of the day. You are going to need them.

Moving is an opportunity to declutter your mind and your life and represents a new start. Once you are over the stress it is time to look forward and enjoy.

Dr Q