Surviving The Stress of Moving

I remember when Mark and I packed up a U-Haul and moved our family from Indianapolis, Indiana to Lincoln, Illinois. We had a two-year-old and a six-week old.

Two years later we moved our family from Lincoln, Illinois to Bloomington, Illinois. Oh how I wish I’d had the wisdom of my friend Susan to navigate those moves well.

Today’s post is from Susan Miller, author of After The Boxes are Unpacked. A popular Hearts at Home workshop speaker, Susan is also an author, and founder of Just Moved Ministry, which has been bringing hope to the uprooted woman for twenty-one years.

Susan loves country music, geraniums, lattes, and kick boxing.  Stop by www.justmoved.org to find more encouragement if you are moving (or share this with a friend who’s moving or has recently moved!)

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susan.am-moving-coach-logo150pxIf you have recently moved, or will be moving in the near future, I want to encourage your heart.  From one who has traveled that road by relocating 14 times, I know the emotional journey ahead of you.  I also know that moving will affect every aspect of your life.

Plain and simple, moving is CHANGE!  It will have an effect on your marriage, your children, your job, your relationships, and your life, because it will bring change to each of those areas.  Moving is more than loading and unloading your possessions.  It’s as if you are packing your whole life in brown boxes!  You are leaving behind everything familiar to face the unknown.  You lose a sense of community and connectedness.

Perhaps you, or a friend who is moving, needs hope and encouragement to get through the major impact of a move. This three-step process not only helped me survive, but also thrive through transition.  It all began with the choice to either be open or closed to change.

The first step I had to take was to choose to let go. I had to make the choice to cherish, rather than cling, to anything or anyone that would prevent me from starting over and moving forward with my life.

Next, I had to choose to start over, even if I didn’t want to!  Until I accepted the reality of having to start all over again, I couldn’t be ready to move forward with my life.

Finally, I had to choose to move forward.  It was time to come full circle with my move, put aside my pity party, and do whatever it took to put down roots.

I know what you are thinking, “How will I begin to put down roots in this unfamiliar place, and start all over again?” Make an intentional choice, as hard as it might be, to get involved with other people. Go for a walk in the neighborhood. Join a Bible Study, an aerobics class, a cooking class, or a book club (any activity of interest). Volunteer in your community, church, or school. Reach out to someone who, like yourself, needs a friend.  In time, your last box will be unpacked, the world around you will become familiar, your family will settle in, and you will begin to call this new place your home.

To encourage you on your journey, try these practical steps to smooth the bumpy road ahead.

  • Stop and smell the flowers along the way. Take time to be good to yourself!  Schedule some self-care by taking a break to rest, restore and renew your mind and body.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be the “lone ranger” and feel like you have to do it alone.  Let others be a part of the relocation process with you.
  • When the heat is up, stay cool. When stress is rising and the pressure is on, keep a sense of humor and be flexible.
  • It’s okay to cry if you want to. With change, comes loss and grieving. Your release valve may be tears.
  •  Some things you just have to do. And, having closure with people and places you care about is one of them. So often in the busyness of tasks, we forget to say goodbye in a meaningful way.
  • Rise to the occasion. Stretch beyond your comfort zone. Embrace the changes this move brings as an opportunity to learn and grow personally.
  • Take one day, one step at a time. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your house won’t be settled in a day either. Don’t lose heart and don’t give up!
  • Don’t sweat the little things. Something always seems to get broken, lost, or damaged in transition. Keep perspective. Remember, they are just things.
  •  Join up and join in. Raise your hand, and say yes! It’s the first step to meet people, and make friends. 
  • Be a tourist. Take a break and tour the local area. Google what to see and places to go in your city, or town. Make it an adventure with your children.

And remember, God’s presence will never leave you. You are not alone in this move. He accompanies you, has gone before you, and will be waiting for you with open arms.

What about you? What wisdom would you add to Susan’s for someone who’s moving? 

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