How to stay healthy when moving home
If you ask any of your friends if they like moving house, you’ll hear a collective groan.
Not only can moving create feelings of anxiety, fear and sadness, it’s also weighed down by things outside of your control. And it’s not just ourselves we have to worry about coping with moving – it’s the rest of the family too! Then add on the financial, social and emotional challenges it throws up, you’ll realise why it’s so important to focus on yourself and stay healthy while moving house.
Side note: If you feel like it’s all becoming too much, talk to friends, your GP or contact BeyondBlue.
But really, when there’s so much going on, how can you look after yourself during a really stressful life event like moving?!
Here are some tips for moving house stress-free, and ways to help you stay healthy during the challenge.
One month before the move
Make a list of all of the things you can do before the removalist truck arrives. Key things to consider are:
- Cancelling and connecting electricity, water, gas and the internet.
- Booking council bulk kerbside collections to get rid of anything you won’t take with you, but can’t sell or donate.
- Planning fun things to do in your new neighbourhood so you have a plan for what you’ll do with the kids in between unpacking (it’s much easier to think about it now than when you’re in the thick of it).
- Joining the local community groups of your new community on Facebook. Ask those in the know about any queries you have and organise a few playdates ahead of time.
- Contacting your new council to find out when the bin collection days are and what local facilities are available. If you can, book a bulk kerbside collection at your new address for a week after you move. Chances are that you’ll have a fair bit of waste to get rid of.
- Ordering your packing boxes or post in your current local community Facebook group to see if anyone has any you can take. Don’t forget about lots of packing tape, labels, markers and bubble wrap too.
- Getting lots of sleep. Even though you’ll be busy planning the move on top of your normal work and family routines, make sure you keep up your sleep schedule. The more rested you are, the quicker you’ll make decisions and the calmer you’ll remain.
- Adding some meditation into your day. Moving home is stressful and meditation has been proven to reduce stress levels. It doesn’t need to be much - even just ten minutes a day is beneficial.
- Starting to pack the things you won’t be using between now and the move. If it’s summer, pack away all your winter clothes (or vice versa). Pack away your good plates and glasses (unless you’re planning one more lavish dinner party at your place before the move?). If you can, designate a room as the ‘packed items’ room and, every time you pack a box, pop it in there so it’s out of the way.
Two weeks before moving day
The time will have flown by, but now it’s time to buckle down. Start getting serious by:
- Upping the ante on the packing! If you haven’t already, start packing everything EXCEPT those items you use daily. If you’re overrun with kids’ toys, fill a suitcase with their favourites and pack away everything else. They’ll love the novelty of having a suitcase of toys. Plus, you can just chuck everything back in there on moving day and transport it to the new house.
- Planning for the actual moving day. If you’ve got young kids, it’s a good idea for them to see the moving van arrive so they feel part of the process. But they’ll get bored after 20 minutes so arrange for them to go to family or a friend’s for the rest of the day. Book your pets in with a friend or at a boarding kennel and plan what time you’ll need to wake up so the day can run smoothly. Usually 3 hours before the removalist arrives should give you enough time to get showered and pack any final items.
- Creating a cleaning hub. You’ll want to try to clean your old place as you go. So, grab a bucket and fill it with cleaning supplies, plasters and toilet paper so you’ve always got the essentials handy.
- Talking to the kids about the move. Help them learn their new address and get them excited by taking them to their new neighbourhood if you can. Get them involved in the packing process too. It may help them to feel a sense of ownership about the move if they get to pack their own things.
- Taking some time out. Head out for dinner with a friend or go for a long walk. It will do you the world of good and help you to cope with the move.
The day of the move
It’s finally here! Here are our tips to help make moving day easier:
- Add a box to the car with healthy snacks, plates, cutlery and napkins. You’ll need them to sustain you and the kids when you unpack. They’ll probably also serve as dinner (and breakfast) for your first night.
- Fill the cooler with your water bottles, some wraps and a delicious salad so you can have an on-the-floor camping lunch once you get to your new home.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes as you’ll be bending, stretching and lifting most of the day.
- Turn up your favourite playlist and try to enjoy the excitement of your new adventure.
- Set aside some sets of sheets and towels for the family and put them in your car. And, include the kids’ favourite bedtime stories, snugglies and blankets so you don’t have to search for the linen box on your first night.
- Accept that it’s going to be a big day and don’t push yourself. It will be a win if you even manage to make up the mattresses on the floor before you all fall into them at the end of the day.
Remember, taking care of yourself will help make moving house less stressful
You can’t be at your best without putting on your oxygen mask first; so try to prioritise yourself. And, if all else fails, just remember that moving day will come and go. Then you’ll be in your new home, hopefully sipping a nice cup of tea in your new living room.
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Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board June 2021