9 Actionable Tips to Help Cope with the Stress of Moving

Written by Rosa Park
Last updated on: Mar 25, 2024

Moving to a new home can be an exciting yet stressful experience. Whether relocating to a different city or just down the street, packing, organizing, and adjusting to a new environment can take a toll on your mental well-being. Here are some tips to help you cope with the stress of moving and make your transition smoother.

Understanding the Stress of Moving

Relocating to a new place often involves leaving familiar surroundings, friends, and routines behind. This disruption can trigger a variety of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, and even grief. Acknowledging and accepting these emotions is the first step towards managing the stress effectively.

If you're finding it hard to manage the stress of relocating, remember that professional support can be invaluable. First Session helps connect you with the right therapist who can assist you in navigating these emotional challenges. Begin your journey toward mental wellness with someone who truly understands

       1. The Psychological Impact of Relocation

When faced with a move, it's normal to experience increased levels of stress, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Understanding that these reactions are common and temporary can help you approach the situation with more resilience.

Feeling of being uprooted: Moving to a new place means leaving behind the familiar, the comfortable, and the known. This can create a sense of loss and uncertainty, which in turn can lead to feelings of anxiety and sadness. It's important to recognize and validate these emotions, as they are a natural response to such a significant life change.

Disruption of routines: Our daily habits and rituals provide us with a sense of stability and control. When we move, these routines are often disrupted, and we have to establish new ones in our new environment. This adjustment can be challenging and can contribute to feelings of stress and overwhelm.

      2. Common Stressors During a Move

In addition to the emotional impact, there are practical stressors associated with moving. These may include coordinating logistics, packing and unpacking, and adjusting to a new neighbourhood. Recognizing these stressors can help you proactively address them and reduce their impact on your mental well-being.

Coordinating logistics: From finding a new place to live to arranging for the transportation of your belongings, there are numerous details to manage. This can be overwhelming, especially if you're moving to a different city or country where you may need to become more familiar with the local processes and resources.

Packing and unpacking: Sorting through your belongings, deciding what to keep and what to let go of, and then packing everything up requires time, energy, and decision-making. Unpacking and organizing your new space can be a daunting task as you try to recreate a sense of familiarity and comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Adjusting to a new neighbourhood: You may have to navigate new streets, find new grocery stores and healthcare providers, and establish new social connections. This process can take time and effort, which can contribute to feelings of stress and disorientation.

Pre-Move Strategies to Minimize Stress

By taking the time to organize and plan your move, you can minimize last-minute panic and ensure a smoother transition.

     3. Organizing and Planning Your Move

Create a detailed moving plan that includes timelines, tasks, and deadlines. This will help you stay organized and ensure that everything gets done without feeling overwhelmed. Break down the tasks into smaller, manageable steps and tackle them one at a time.

Make a list of all the rooms in your current home: This will serve as a guide for packing and organizing your belongings. Assign each room a number or a colour to make it easier to keep track of your progress.

Create a timeline for your move: Determine the date you need to be out of your current home and work backward from there. This will give you a clear idea of how much time you have to complete each task.

When it comes to packing, start with the items you use the least. This could be seasonal clothing, holiday decorations, or rarely used kitchen appliances. By tackling these items first, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going.

      4. The Importance of a Moving Checklist

A moving checklist is an invaluable tool that will keep you on track throughout the moving process. Start by listing all the tasks you need to accomplish, such as notifying utility providers, changing your address, and hiring movers. Check off each task as you complete it, giving yourself a sense of progress and accomplishment.

Notify utility providers: Make a list of all the companies you need to contact. This includes your electricity, water, internet, and cable providers. Call each company well in advance to schedule the disconnection and reconnection of services.

Change your address: Notify the post office, your bank, credit card companies, and any other organizations that send you mail. This will ensure that your important documents and bills are delivered to your new address.

Research moving companies: Get quotes from at least three different companies. Make sure to read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and family.

Practical Tips to Handle Moving Day Stress

When the big day arrives, it's normal to experience heightened stress levels. However, there are strategies you can employ to maintain a positive mindset and navigate any unexpected challenges that may arise.

Moving day can be both exciting and overwhelming. The thought of starting a new chapter in your life, exploring a different neighbourhood, and making new memories can bring a sense of anticipation. However, the logistics of the move itself can also bring about stress and anxiety. But fear not! With the right mindset and a few practical tips, you can make moving day a smooth and enjoyable experience.

      5. Maintaining a Positive Mindset on Moving Day

Approach moving day with a positive attitude. Remind yourself of the exciting opportunities that await you in your new home. Surround yourself with loved ones or play your favourite music to keep your spirits high. Creating a positive atmosphere can help alleviate stress and make the process more enjoyable.

Take breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge. Moving can be physically and mentally demanding, so it's important to listen to your body and give yourself time to rest. Grab a cup of tea or take a short walk around the neighbourhood to clear your mind. These small moments of self-care can make a big difference in maintaining a positive mindset.

      6. Dealing with Unforeseen Challenges

Moving can bring unexpected challenges. From a transport delay to a broken item, it's important to stay flexible and keep problem-solving skills handy. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the problem, focus on finding solutions.

Have a backup plan in place: Research alternative routes or transportation options beforehand so you're prepared if any issues arise. Keep important contact numbers handy, such as the moving company or a local handyman, in case you need assistance during the move.

Breathe in, breathe out: Take a deep breath and remind yourself that challenges are a part of life. Embrace the opportunity to problem-solve and think creatively. Sometimes, the unexpected can lead to new and better solutions that you hadn't considered before.

Don't hesitate to ask for help: Moving is a team effort, and reaching out to friends, family, or neighbours can make the process smoother. Whether it's helping with packing, loading the truck, or simply providing emotional support, having a support system in place can alleviate stress and make the day more enjoyable.

Be kind to yourself: Moving can be physically and emotionally draining, so it's important to practice self-care. Take breaks when needed, eat well, and get enough sleep. Celebrate small victories along the way, and remember that the challenges you face on a moving day are temporary.

Post-Move Techniques to Alleviate Stress

When it comes to unpacking and settling into your new home, taking a systematic approach can make the process feel less overwhelming. Start by unpacking the essentials, such as bedding, toiletries, and kitchenware. Having these items readily available will help you feel more at ease and ensure that your daily routines can continue uninterrupted.

As you unpack, take the time to organize and decorate each room according to your preferences. This is your opportunity to create a space that reflects your personality and makes you feel truly at home. Consider the layout of each room and how you can optimize the space to suit your needs. Whether it's arranging furniture in a way that maximizes functionality or adding storage solutions to keep things tidy, these small adjustments can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel in your new surroundings.

      7. Creating a Comfortable and Familiar Environment

While unpacking and organizing your new home, remember to add personal touches that make it feel like your own. Hang up familiar photos or artwork that bring back fond memories. Seeing these familiar faces and places can instantly make you feel more connected to your new space.

Music has a powerful effect on our mood and can help create a sense of familiarity and comfort. Choose songs or playlists that you associate with positive experiences or that evoke a sense of calm and relaxation.

Another way to create a comfortable and familiar environment is to arrange your furniture in a way that is reminiscent of your previous home. If you had a favourite spot to curl up with a book or a specific layout that worked well for entertaining guests, try to recreate those elements in your new space. 

Engaging in activities you enjoy helps establish a sense of familiarity and comfort. Whether it's cooking your favourite meal in your new kitchen or curling up with a good book in your cozy reading nook, these familiar activities can provide a sense of stability and normalcy amidst the chaos of moving.

Seeking Professional Help When Needed

Despite your best efforts, moving stress can sometimes become overwhelming. It's important to recognize when it's time to seek professional help to support your mental well-being during the transition.

      8. When to Consider Professional Moving Services

If the logistics of your move are causing significant stress, consider enlisting the help of professional movers. They can handle the heavy lifting, transportation, and even packing if needed. Delegating these tasks can alleviate much of the physical and mental strain associated with moving.

      9. Mental Health Resources for Moving Stress

If you find yourself struggling with emotional distress during the moving process, don't hesitate to seek support from mental health professionals. They can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to process your emotions. Online resources, support groups, and therapy sessions can all be valuable tools in navigating the emotional challenges of moving.

If you're looking for someone to talk to, start your journey by connecting with a therapist who fits your needs and understands your experiences.

Many therapists in Canada offer online counselling to clients Canada-wide, so even if you're undertaking a big move to another province, you can meet with a therapist before you move and continue your sessions in your new city. You can view our Canada-wide directory, or check out our popular location-specific lists including: online counselling in Vancouver, Toronto therapists, and Ontario therapists.

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About the Author

Rosa Park

Rosa Park is a versatile content creator, videographer, and photographer with a rich history of producing engaging narratives. Rosa's expertise spans journalism, documentaries, and social media content creation. Her work has included collaborations with renowned brands and organizations, showcasing her creativity and adaptability in the media industry. Rosa studied Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).