For many, summer brings transition. This transition can be a welcomed break from busy routines, but for others, summer time can bring a move. Some may look forward to moving, while others may be dreading it. The thought of leaving behind the friends and family you love can be devastating. Sometimes we don’t realize how deep our roots run until it is time to pick up and move. Finding a new church home, community group, job, doctor/pediatrician, day care, hair stylist, etc. can feel overwhelming. Yet, some people may be excited to make those changes. Maybe your roots don’t run deep where you are, so you may welcome a move; some even find it adventurous.
Whether you’re moving yourself or using a moving company, both can be stressful. Getting everything sorted and packed, then unpacked and put away, can leave you feeling exhausted mentally and physically. It can feel like a job that will never get done. You may experience problems such as forgetting what boxes certain things were packed, or realizing that something important was unintentionally packed away and you’re not sure where to find it. In addition, your plate is full of all the priorities of moving such as finding a new home, utilities, changing your address, school registration, car registration, etc.. The accumulation of these things, if not dealt with properly, can begin to stack up and the next thing you know you’re left feeling resentful, bitter, ungrateful, stressed, anxious, and/or overwhelmed.
A move can impact each person in the family differently, especially for those who are more resistant to change. If the move is due to a job change, whoever has the job may have an advantage over the rest of the family, as they have the opportunity to get to know others through their new job. For a spouse who may not work outside the home, it may be difficult to make those new connections so quickly if they are not intentional at creating those opportunities. Those who are used to frequent moves, like military families, may be hesitant to engage in new relationships knowing that they will be leaving again in a few years. The move can be especially hard on the children. Even if they understand why the family is moving and are supportive, it doesn’t make the pain of leaving friends, school, and clubs/activities any less. Anytime someone is uprooted from their home, it has a tremendous effect. If you’re planning a move there are steps that you can take to make your family’s transition much smoother.
- Get organized. Getting organized will help your move feel less chaotic. Make to-do lists of what needs to be done prior to the move and afterwards. This will help you easily track what you have and have not completed. Make a list of essentials that you will need throughout the move and will want to avoid packing. Also, keeping all your important information together such as contact info, contracts, dates, and any other documents you may need.
- Look for the positives. It can be easy to focus on everything you don’t like about your new destination. We often remember all the good things about our old home and tend to forget the negative aspects of it. We then compare the negative attributes of our new homes to the positive qualities of our old homes; when we do that, our new homes will lose every time. Look for the things that you do like/appreciate about your new home and city, and make a list of the new places that you are excited to try. Plan family outings to areas in your new town that the family is likely to enjoy.
- Support yourself and each other. Due to the impact that the move has on each person, it is important that you provide the needed support for each other, as well as for yourself. Emotions are likely to be running high, and each person will handle them differently. Make time to have heart talks. Creating an environment for each person to safely talk about how they feel and how they are experiencing the move is important. Be patient with one another, the transition is usually tough on everyone. Don’t forget to support yourself. Make sure you are spending plenty of time reading your Bible and in prayer. God is our comforter and can give you the comfort you need during this process. Take time to do some things for yourself to de-stress. You could take a bath, read a book, exercise, take a walk, or even prepare a stress away kit to have on hand for you and the family that is easily accessible.
- Set goals. There are so many tasks that need to be done when moving that it can feel overwhelming. Set realistic goals for getting those tasks completed. Do not try to do it all in one day. Once you have achieved your goals, reward yourself. Rewarding yourself with some down time to relax or taking the family out for ice cream for a job well done can help motivate you to complete what needs to be done.
- Get plugged in. How quickly you get plugged in to your new community will impact how smoothly you will transition. Start researching churches before you move. You can even listen to sermons online to help narrow down the churches that you are interested in visiting once you arrive. Look for ministries or other ways to serve/volunteer, this will give you the opportunity to get to know people quickly. Walk over and meet your neighbors. You could invite them over for a dinner once you get settled. Host a meal for some of the co-workers and their families of you or your spouse’s new job. Look for ways that your children can get involved and meet new people. The faster you get connected, the quicker it will feel like home.
These five steps are certainly not an exhaustive lists, but just a few ideas to get you started. Sit down as a family and brainstorm some additional ideas together. Moving can be stressful, but with a little intentionality your transition can go a lot smoother.
If you would like more help in getting unstuck and making changes that actually improve you relationships and life then contact a licensed marriage and family therapist today at (405) 921-7776. You can also go to Newvisioncounseling.live to email us or find out more about how we can help.