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March 29, 2015

5 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Change.

moving day

The spring season is upon us and it brings with it the ultimate physical change.

Change can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. For me, it means moving, and moving is stressful.

It disrupts our worlds and turns them upside down. It puts the sugar in the salt shaker and the bathroom in the kitchen. It’s basically submitting to voluntary chaos.

My husband and I are in the process of moving from overseas back to the United States with our dog and cat. When I used to move by myself, it was easy. I would throw out or give away enough of my stuff so that everything could fit into a couple of bags and then just address them to the next place.

I can still put most of my stuff into only a few bags, but now there’s my husband’s stuff, plus the stuff we have together, plus our pets and their stuff…thank goodness we don’t have kids yet!

I used to work seasonal jobs to afford myself the time and cash during the year to do what I wanted so quitting was a built-in part of the contract. Now, we have grown-up jobs that require notice. Paperwork has to be filled out and things have to be checked off. Cars have to be trashed and insurance needs to be paid. When did I become a grown-up?

Neither of us has ever had to move with pets before. It’s a whole other world of kennel sizes, regulations and paperwork…it is not something I recommend as a good time.

So, things have been crazy for the last four weeks and in order to survive the craziness of this transition here are five things I did that kept me sane.

1. Gave myself boundaries.

It seems that every big to-do item we crossed off our long list would then reveal six sub-items, an appendix (for reference to said sub-items), four bullet points and a ring a fire. It kept side-tracking our day. We would go and go until we were burnt out and couldn’t go anymore.

This is not productive. We were tired, stressed and crabby. So, I started giving myself a cut-off time every day. I marked the end time with either a time of day or number of items done, depending on what our schedule looked like.

2. Made time for myself. 

Wait, what does this mean? Gone were the days of care-free afternoons to write and train. I was faced with 14-hour days of chores and errands. Good thing I wasn’t working anymore. It was hard to stop the madness and allow myself to just sit, meditate or even eat. I felt almost guilty because I knew there were other things I needed to get done but I found that even 20 minutes of just sitting still and not thinking about the next task was all I needed to carry on and fix my cloudy attitude…well, that and a pot of coffee.

3. Exercised. 

It’s easy to get caught up in tasks and leave a daily routine behind. There’s no time, I’m too tired, I just ran last month, are all go-to excuses, but moving and breathing hard is a great way to relieve stress. I’ve found that working out in the morning is the best way to make sure I get it in. If I leave it for too late in the day it’s easy to take the lazy way out and stare at the wall like a zombie.

4. Ate well. 

First I needed to remember to eat. Second, I needed to remember to eat good, quality food. This was more difficult to do once my fridge was gone and the food had been packed up. I found myself eating out, a lot. I made the most of it by eating as many salads, vegetable soups and solid protein as I could. Salad bars and lunch specials at discount prices are good things to look out for when trying to save some moolah.

If I ate this way I had enough energy for the rest of the day and as a bonus it usually included number two on this list. If I didn’t eat healthy food, I was crabby and had a bad attitude altogether. It turns out, that’s helpful to no one.

5. Made room for fun.

It took me a few days to realize it, but it pays to look at the big picture. Yes, we’re moving and it’s super stressful, but I don’t have to allow that stress to take over my life. Once I started to set boundaries and time limits on my tasks it was a lot easier to let go and have some fun, and what a way to destress! Crazy friends, good food, red wine, impromptu dance parties and stick-on mustaches? Yes please.

We’re not quite done moving yet, so if you have tricks to pass on, please let me know! Until then, happy moving my friends, I’ll see ya on the other side.

Relephant:

How to Say Yes to Change & Mean It.

 

Author: Brenna Fischer

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr

 

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