Sitting on my step stool, surrounded by piles of unpacked boxes, I take in the view from my new living room.
I stand 20 stories above the buildings below and 1,000 miles away from friends and family. As the wind blows the humid Texas air across my balcony, I place my head in my hands and begin to cry.
They say moving is one of the most stressful things we can go through in our lives.
In fact, I found several articles stating that moving is in the number three spot. This falls right under death of a loved one and divorce. It’s no wonder we feel like crawling into a tight ball and crying ourselves to sleep shortly after arriving in our new home.
I just moved from New Jersey to Texas with my fiancé. This is not my first move, but had I known it was going to be my most stressful, I would have better prepared myself.
So after a few weeks of struggling through, well, the sh*t—I am reflecting on what helped me get through it, and this is what I have found.
No matter how busy things get, we still have to eat.
When we are knee-deep in boxes and swimming through to-do lists, sometimes the last thing we think about is eating. I’ve been vegan for just about a year now, and meal planning can be difficult, especially with an empty kitchen.
Once I arrived in Texas, one of the first things I did was make a food shopping list. I looked up the local delivery, Googled vegan restaurants near me, and found my local supermarkets. Even though I had furniture to order, clothes to hang, and Wi-Fi to set up, I made sure my fridge was fully stocked.
We take sleep for granted—until we haven’t had any.
After waiting three weeks for our new bar stools to arrive, we insisted on putting them together that night. The task seemed simple enough. Yet, after several hours of forcing screws into mismatched holes, we ended going to bed well after midnight and waking up with a do-it-yourself hangover.
Instead of waiting till the next day when we had time, we exhausted ourselves by staying up late. It’s times like these that we need to remember not to try doing it all in one day—no matter how tempting it is.
The best thing we can do is set a time each day to stop working on projects. This allows us the space we need to unwind and connect with ourselves and family. Stopping a few hours early leaves us more relaxed and better prepared for the tasks of tomorrow.
We need to exercise our bodies to give our minds a rest.
The one thing that has kept me sane in all of this moving business has been making it to the gym. Back home, I was going to CrossFit, doing yoga, or hiking almost seven days a week. The first week in my new apartment, I didn’t make time for any of that and my spirit felt it tremendously.
Depression is a sneaky thing. It can creep up on us at any moment and most likely in times of stress or change. Not finding time to exercise that first week was a mistake. I should have known better, especially as a CrossFit coach. When I finally got my heart rate up and started exercising again, I instantly felt better.
It doesn’t have to be a gym or a yoga studio. Just getting out and walking around the new neighborhood is enough.
Keeping integrity with commitments.
Chances are, before we moved, we had commitments. We all do. Whether it’s calling our sister on a Thursday night, making a conference call during the week, or paying our bills on the first of the month, there are always commitments that need to be followed up on. Moving has a way of pushing them to the side, but it’s important that we don’t let that happen.
This goes back to: we can’t do it all in one day.
My sister lived three hours away from me when I lived in New Jersey. One of the ways we stayed connected was to have a phone call once a week. After moving to Texas, I quickly fell out of habit and before I knew it, three weeks had passed! Life has a way of distracting us from what is truly important in our lives. We need to stay vigilant and aware of our commitments and continue to nurture them.
Take a break from the madness.
Eventually, all of our boxes will get unpacked and everything will find its place. Until that times comes, we need a break from the madness.
After two weeks of staying in for dinner or ordering takeout, we decided we needed a night out. So we dressed ourselves and enjoyed a nice walk to the local sushi joint. Once there, we had a great dinner and a couple of cocktails. It was nice to finally stop thinking of all the things we had to do and just be in the moment.
Have a good cry.
Sometimes, the greatest thing we can do for ourselves is to cry it out.
Crying is a natural way to allow ourselves to let go. We surrender to the moment, the feelings, and overwhelming situations that we find ourselves in. It resets our brain and expands our hearts. This allows us to let it all out, so we can create a new space to take it all in.
I’ve had more than a few cries these past four weeks. Some were quick and neat, while others were long and messy. Each time I cried, I made space to accept the feelings and I immediately felt better. Soon after the last tear would fall, I was able to move on and be present.
What I’ve learned the most from this move is: moving is a mindset.
If we decide that it is going to be stressful, it will be.
Moving may be number three on the list of the most stressful things we do in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be—as long as we make time to be present in the moment and remember what’s important to us. Accept that we are going to get hangry and perhaps have a meltdown or two.
Ultimately, and perhaps with the help of a little wine, we will be able to survive our big move.
Author: Anne DeLima
Image: Mike McCune/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy & Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen