Why Is Moving So Stressful And What Can Be Done About It?

Handshake_(Workshop_Cologne_'06)A few days ago, my husband dropped a bombshell that there might be a job offer for him in another state. The money would be irresistible, which you’d think would make the decision easy. We’d be able to afford a nicer house and we’d be close to family, but still, I hesitate, he hesitated. We looked at our tiny home. We thought about our great neighbors. We thought about the near perfect Bay Area weather. If the job offer comes through, we’ll move, but not without sadness and, yes, uncertainty.

We have a bit of a confession. We know moving is difficult. Part of our job is to empathize, but it’s also to make it less difficult. We know that, but sometimes we forget that the stress is so much more than about the work and the expense – the parts we can help with – there is also so much uncertainty and unfortunately, we can’t really help with that. Why exactly is moving so stressful? How can you make it less so?

When we move, we tend to be so focused on the logistics, that we walk into our new home almost blind. Sure, we’ve seen the home. We’ve decorated it in our minds. We’ve even checked out the neighborhood. We might know where the parks are and the schools and the grocery stores, but what about the people? Maybe you’ve researched activities for the kids, but what about for you?

When we’re caught up in moving, we typically wait for the neighbors to come to us. In some neighborhoods, they will, but how about a reverse welcome wagon type of thing? Why don’t you take a bit of time and bake some cookies and meet your neighbors? The unpacking will still be there when you get back.

Think of everything you’re interested in. Have you thought about knitting? How about rock climbing? Do you enjoy reading? Whatever your interest, Meetup.com has a group for you. Instantly, you’ll have something in common with a group of people.

Join the PTA. Yes, I know, that sounds rather Mad Men era, but parents with kids tend to gravitate toward parents with kids and what better way to stay on top of your kids’ educations?

Invite your coworkers for happy hour. Busy people tend to make friends through work. Sometimes, though, those relationships need a little push. Get them outside work. You may also get the scoop on what they can’t talk about during the day at the office.

Don’t rule out service people as friends. I know, this sounds weird. How can you be friends with someone with whom we exchange money? Well, we’ve made friends with a lot of our customers, but beyond that, I remember when I moved to one new city, my chiropractor became one of my closest friends. They key is to talk to people like they’re people. You might find you have a lot in common.

Finally, just get out and do stuff. Go hiking alone, as long as it’s on a well-travelled trail. Go to a movie. Go out to eat. Ride a bike. Take the dog for walks. You’d be amazed at how many people you can meet if you open yourself up to the possibilities.