Why Moving Is so Tiresome and How to Make It Easier
Americans are notorious for moving frequently, and many of us will pick up and move long distances at some point. Even though it’s a fairly common adventure, moving is considered the third most stressful event in a person’s life after death and divorce. Here’s how to deal with it.
Lifehacker spoke with Rosalie Knecht, LMSW, and program director at New York City Mental Health Clinic. Many of Knecht’s clients either immigrated thousands of miles and “left everything behind,” or, conversely, never left their parents’ homes. She sees certain concerns that most people have when they make huge geographic changes or even just think about it. Here are some of the things that make you feel so stressed when you move, as well as some potential remedy for your stress.
Plan your financial burden
Unsurprisingly, Knecht says these moves are often associated with great economic anxiety, even if you have a safety net. Many people move without work, and some are forced to do so without any savings or anything at all. The cost of travel, especially if you are trying to carry most of your belongings, is often astronomical, no matter how you planned it. Costs arise.
This is probably one of the most obvious things we worry about when we move, so if you have the privilege of juggling work and building a nest egg, do it. Planning ahead to send or sell items is great, as is getting rid of certain items. I say this as someone who had just moved across the country – most of my furniture was old and was given to me for free. I did not transport or store it. Deciding it wasn’t worth the cost, he went to the sidelines. Everyone’s situation is different, but try to be practical about what you really need when you leave.
Prepare for Feelings of Social Loss
Traffic disrupts the safety systems you used to rely on, whether it’s help from a parent looking after the children, someone to hang out with on Friday nights, or a neighbor helping you carry groceries from your car. According to Knecht, connections big and small create a sense of belonging that we depend on:
We are highly social animals, and when we are pulled out of our social context, we feel insecure, inadequate, and sometimes even unstable in our identity, as our identities are often formed in exchange for other identities. I think that over a long distance it is definitely worse, because a very short movement can leave these networks intact.
But Knecht adds that she has found that even a short move makes people feel dysphoric.
“Context is everything, and a person needs time to realize the need to integrate into a new context,” she writes. “During the transition period, we are all hermit crabs without shells.”
Stay connected and get out
To combat this feeling, Knecht recommends getting rid of these hermitic feelings as quickly as possible:
I think staying connected with your people is key, which is easier in the modern era, and getting out of it as quickly as possible so that you can begin to shape that sense of who you are in this new environment and where you fit in. … Easier said than done!
Yes, it is, but I try to think of it as if your leg was falling asleep – it hurts to move it, but you can stand on it earlier. If you go to church, find a new one in your area; Look for social events by searching Facebook for local groups that you might be interested in. can try to work as a volunteer. There is nothing better than sweating side by side on the beach to make friends. If you’re feeling really bold, you might even want to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Heck, help them with their products.
Remember why it’s still good to go
So why would anyone move unless absolutely necessary? Well, not all big or small steps have to be just stress and unhappiness. They can help you grow as a person:
Big change brings about a mental schema overhaul and often involves redefining what makes you happy and what doesn’t, and what you need and what doesn’t. Personalities change naturally over time, and external changes can provide space for this for the person who avoids it.
It’s not easy to change, but you can still very, very well.