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With a few tweaks, moving doesn’t have to be stressful.

  1. Start earlier than you think you need to. If you have the luxury of knowing about a move well in advance, double the time you think you’ll need to get everything done. I don’t know why, but it seems like your stuff multiplies in volume once you start packing.
  2. Leave a little “sanctuary” area in your house or apartment that doesn’t get packed until the last minute. I am a meditator and did not realize how much the cues of my chair and my inspirational books facilitate my regular practice. Once my chair was gone and my books were packed up, I simply stopped meditating. This was not good for my stress level.
  3. Similar to tip two, leave out a few things you use for self-care activities. I like to do watercolor painting and of course, all my painting supplies are packed.
  4. Make time for regular exercise. We still belong to our local gym, but have we gone? No. We’re too busy and tired from packing. My husband has been faithful about running on the treadmill in the basement, but aside from walking my dogs, I’ve let exercise go by the wayside.
  5. Expect to be crabby. Moving is stressful. You’re going to be cranky at times. Don’t make things worse by beating yourself up because you’re not in a good mood all the time. On the other hand, don’t take your bad mood out on other people.
  6. Accept help. I should have read this: 7 Effective Ways to Ask for Help (and Get It).
  7. Make a list of all the fun things you’re going to do in your new city. This will keep you motivated during the hard work. And don’t lose the list!
  8. Keep all important documents in a special place. Again, don’t forget where this special place is.
  9. Leave time for goodbyes. Suddenly people I see only every six months want to get together. It’s so nice that they’re thinking of me, but now I feel like I don’t have enough time, let alone the emotional energy, to be with all these people. Just as with tip #1, I should’ve started this part much sooner.
  10.  Practice self-compassion. Realize that this is a hard time. You’re going through a lot of emotional and existential changes. Know that you’re doing the best you can. Know that you’re not alone. People have moved plenty of times and gone through the same feelings as you. Be kind to yourself.


Barbara Markway (