Looking after your mental health while moving
Moving house can be really stressful, so it's important to look after yourself. Rachael, 22, shares how she has managed her mental health while moving to a new town.
Moving is often described as one of the most stressful times in a person's life. Recently I moved out of my parents' house into a flat 50 miles away, starting a new job and living with a new housemate. There was a lot going on and looking after my mental health was really important.
The first thing I had to do was say goodbye. I had my own dog-grooming business, and while in most jobs you'd just say goodbye to your colleagues on your last day, I had to say goodbye to every customer separately. All the goodbyes got really hard; some owners I knew really well, other times it was the dogs that I loved and didn't want to leave, and after a week or so I found myself getting overwhelmed. I found it really helpful to speak to someone about how I was feeling, and for them to validate that while moving out was exciting, I was still allowed to be sad about saying goodbye. I was also told that I could write down how I was feeling if it helped, or even send emails over not to be read, much like writing a letter you never send. I didn't have to do this as the chat was enough to help me work through it, but I think it would have been really helpful if I'd needed it.
Once I'd closed my business, it was time to pack. I don't think you ever realise just how much stuff you have until you have to pack it all into boxes! This was another thing that quite quickly became overwhelming. Thankfully my sister and my parents were able to help out so I didn't have to face it alone. There was so much to be done and it wasn't finished until after 11pm on the night before I left, but we got there! If I have one big tip from this experience it would be to start earlier. I also made a list of every room and the sections that needed doing in rooms with a lot of things (like my bedroom), and then made a list of which day I would do which room. This helped to keep me focused, and knowing I had the list helped me with worries that I would forget something big.
Then it was moving day! The night before I'd actually been doubting my decision, wishing I didn't have to go because it all felt like too much. As soon as I walked into the new flat though I knew what I'd done was right. Boxes upon boxes were piled into the living room (thankfully my new housemate was very understanding!), and I started unpacking. My parents tried to help, but I found it easier to put things away myself, as then they were the way I liked them. They were very helpful when it came to the contract though, helping me to understand what I was signing, and questioning anything that didn't completely make sense to us. If you're also moving out for the first time I'd suggest you get someone to help you with that if you feel you need it, as I know I would have struggled on my own.
Once my parents had left, the major job of unpacking continued. I spoke to the same person I'd spoken to about the goodbyes who told me to be gentle with myself, which I really needed to hear. I'd been putting pressure on myself to be fully unpacked the next day, but after the call I took my time and, although it took five days in total, I'm now really happy with my room. They also reminded me of things to do now that I'd moved (such as changing my address on important records) which was really helpful to be reminded of. It was just helpful to have someone to talk to as well, as it helped me realise I wasn't all alone now that I'd moved out of home.
My last piece of advice is to just be prepared for anything to be thrown at you. I wasn't prepared for how hard the goodbyes would be, I wasn't prepared for how long packing would take, and I wasn't prepared for how long it would take me and my dog to settle in. I think going in with a mindset of "this will probably be quite hard but we'll get through it" is really helpful in a situation like this, and is good to remind yourself of if it all becomes a little too much. I have definitely found that, now I've moved and things have settled down, I couldn't be happier with my new flat. I hope that if you're moving soon then you'll feel the same way.
Author: Rachael, 22
Where to get help
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