"Zen and the Art of Moving"

There are few things in life more stressful than moving.  Understanding this can help you tackle the house selling and purchasing process! To be honest, the stress of moving has kept me from moving recently and I used to move frequently, fancied myself a bit of an expert.  Did you know that if you moved a lot as a child, you can crave change brought by moving, like a permanent Goldilocks?  

In the 1960’s two psychologists Holmes and Rahe ranked a list of stressors (unhappy and happy) that create stress including death of a loved one, divorce and moving residences and moving is very high on that scale.  It’s not hard to understand why changing where you live can create a situation of confusion, anxiety and general stress.  Sometimes a few of the other stressors compound it further - IE a family is selling a home due to divorce or job loss.  

You may be a superhuman when it comes to dealing with normal stress that day to day life throws at you, but when you embark on a move, you turn your whole life upside down like a junk drawer emptied into a cardboard box.  If you are an organized person, you lose the orderly familiarity of where things are at least temporarily. Looking for an item that is packed somewhere (where are the scissors?) can put anyone over the edge in frustration.  

It is the fear of the unknown that preys on the mental state of someone who is moving.  The mere thought of what it will be like outside the familiar walls and community where you are living can be paralyzing.  It can also threaten your feelings about your identity.  We create connections where and how we live and when you upend them and make a change, it can attack your very concept of your self. 

I find it fascinating how fast a “home” becomes just a “house” after you move out.  I have had clients who were very attached to their home and resist saying goodbye to the place they raised their family in yet very quickly after they move, there is a sense of detachment and it becomes just a previous dwelling, one that they can look back on fondly.  We pack our feeling of "home" with us. 

If you are moving, here are some suggestions:

  1. Focus on positive reasons why you are making a move. Even if it was not your idea, find the silver lining. It may get you out of a rut you didn’t even know you were in. 
  2. Talk about it.  Share your feelings about moving with others around you.  Getting it out helps. 
  3. Embrace the “purge”.  Get rid of things you have been hanging onto and donate them.  It feels surprisingly good to clear out the closet. Marie Kondo is right! 
  4. Find an outlet for the extra stress.  Don’t give up your exercise, meditation, reading, whatever you do to let go of stress.  Make time for it. 

One more tip is to treat yourself to a cleaner for the old house so you can focus your attention on setting up your new home and that is infinitely more exciting than scrubbing away your existence from a house you no longer live in.  Happy Moving! 

Work With Stephanie

Experienced, professional Compass real estate agent with over 270 closed transactions. A long-time North County San Diego resident and area expert who specializes in helping sellers sell for top dollar and buyers land the home of their dreams.
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