Moving house anxiety is really challenging, and really common. You’re moving house which is exciting, but it is also a new beginning that comes from all kinds of change. Saying goodbye to the previous chapter, packing up all kinds of memories, having to deal with all kinds of logistical challenges, and generally taking on a lot of the emotions associated with a big change. It’s a lot! It really is no wonder that so many of us get moving anxiety.
Moving anxiety is anxiety caused by a house move. You may have exasperated anxiety from a house move, which is where you are already anxious and the house move makes it worse. But in this article we are specifically talking about anxiety directly caused by the move. It may cause symptoms such as:
- Struggling with getting enough sleep
- Feeling like your emotions are out of control
- Being on edge all the time
- Struggling to cope with everyday stress you can usually cope with
- Worrying about the move and the next step
- Struggling with eating too much or too little
- Feeling out of control
- Physical problems like headaches and fatigue
It is like general anxiety, but revolves specifically around how you feel about the move and the moving process. It can be incredibly challenging, and even traumatic for some people. The impact is such that the effects don’t just go away once the move is over, especially if the process is particularly challenging and stressful (where multiple sales fall through etc).
Moving anxiety can happen for all kinds of reasons. Mostly it is because there is a big shift and change that ultimately throws all your routines, your house, your entire being into chaos. When we experience a lot of change around us, it can suddenly cause us to feel lost and worried, because we don’t feel secure any more. Other reasons moving anxiety can happen include:
It can be anxious seeing lots of money going out, and nothing coming in. Getting a mortgage is also stressful, and ultimately when sales fall through, or complications happen, things can get expensive and it can be extremely worrying. Often a house is the biggest expense that a family will make, so it is no surprise that buying and selling a house is so stressful.
It can be very anxiety inducing when you move house and find that you are almost short on enough time to do everything. Caring for kids and pets, going to work, packing, doing DIY – where does all the time come from? This can be a big cause of anxiety with anyone who has a busy life.
Lack of self care, and especially lack of self care in those who already struggle with mental health challenges, can be a big cause of house move anxiety. Maybe you aren’t eating well, sleeping well, taking your medication, going to therapy – whatever you usually do to keep anxiety at bay. It can cause house move anxiety to really take centre stage, because all your coping mechanisms are on hold, or out of whack.
Maybe your house move is putting your relationships under strain and all the arguments are causing you anxiety. This is completely normal, and many relationships can struggle with the pressure of such a big life event. Add to that pets acting out of character, peeing in the house from stress, and kids getting their own anxiety about the move, and you’ve got a lot of anxiety in the house. It can be really hard to handle.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to manage the anxiety of a house move, so that you get through this difficult challenge with the best chance of moving forward leaving this difficult chapter behind.
Here are some top tips for managing moving anxiety:
Having a safe space like a friend’s house to vent, your car, a London self storage unit, or even a local nature spot, is important. It should be somewhere you can just let everything go for a second, and just take a breath. Whether you choose the car, the local self storage unit, or somewhere else, do have a little kit available to you there, such as a nice snack, some hand cream – whatever tiny treats make you feel a little bit better.
Budgeting the house move will help you to feel in control. Get a spreadsheet and over budget for the entire move – including every coffee for the moving team, every McDonald’s for the kids whilst you ferry stuff to and from the local self storage unit – don’t leave anything out. This should go some way to helping you recognise that you are in control and the finances at least are not spinning out of control.
There is nothing like a house full of messy, chaotic items to spur on anxiety. Do pack early and be meticulous about moving packed boxes into your local self storage unit, garage or even in a designated ‘finished’ room. This will help you to actively see progress as the house empties out.
Be kind to yourself – this is stressful, you have accepted that and ultimately it will not last forever. In the meantime, allow yourself to feel stressed, have extra treats, forget the usual schedules and demands on yourself and just forgive yourself for things not being perfect – this is a time of transition and it is not forever.
By leaning on loved ones rather than taking your anxiety out on them, you can make the most of their kindness and love, and they can also benefit from your love and support. This is teamwork and everybody is going through this, not just you. Laugh at moments of anger, love each other and lean on each other – a house move is not worth breaking any relationship.
Soon enough you won’t be experiencing house move anxiety because you will be in your new place happily making memories.
If you do think the anxiety is not going away after you have moved – speak to your GP as there is support available for more general anxiety – it’s never too late to reach out for help.