Moving can be stressful on the whole family. At first, it may seem as if the only stressful part of the transition is making certain all your belongings are safely sent to your new place of residence. However, the social anxiety involved in any large event, such as moving to a new place, can be challenging. For the most part, it is the unknown that is most concerning. Here are some ways to reduce moving-related tension for each member in your household.
Prepare For Weather Changes
If you are moving to a different climate, chances are good you and your loved ones are going to need some new clothes and protective gear that may be purchased ahead of the move. We know you are likely looking forward to shopping some in your new location, but having extra sunblock and enough cooler clothing to last a week in hotter climates would be useful in that it allows for time to get to know your surroundings and nearby shop options. A suggestion would be to go online to a site like weather.com to see what clothing or protective accessories may be needed to feel comfortable in the expected weather.
This is also a great way to get the kids involved and let them focus on the excitement of the adventure side of moving long distances. Have them Google the state or city and see what they can learn about weather patterns for that area in the different months of the year. They can then begin the search for their favorite winter coats and mittens or bathing suits and flip flops. These exercises will remove the mystery from one area of the move and focus instead on what can be controlled in a fun way.
Did you know the human mind can only focus on one thing at a time? We can switch that focus rapidly creating an illusion of doing two tasks at once. In reality, “we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly,” Jon Hamilton at NPR explains. Therefore, involving the entire family with tasks like this will help the family come together with positive discussions about the fun of buying new clothes and searching for the cute item instead of focusing on the fears and stressors of the unknown.
Getting The Lay-Of-The-Land
Ask any fireman, police officer or other first responder, and they will tell you to learn the streets around your neighborhood as well as the back roads between your home and work or school. This is because the main roads can shut down for emergency purposes or your usual route may be backed up with heavier-than-normal traffic that day. Learning the main roads first should become a top priority in any new location to unnecessary reduce stress.
Where To Shop
Leaving the stores in your area where you knew exactly which aisle to find the cinnamon or what part of the department store displayed your favorite name brand clothing is difficult. This is because we are creatures of habit. It is comfortable to know where everything is located and how to find the things we need quickly. Before you move, you may want to take a couple hours to research your new neighborhood stores. Here again, the kids can help with this one. Let them become the new experts on nearby grocery stores, pharmacies, and shopping malls as well as how to get to each one from your new home. They will enjoy telling you what they learned while you have a chance to cross another mystery off your list of stressors.
Finding Physicians For Your Medical Needs
For many people, finding the right primary care physician and dentist for each family member plus great specialists may prove difficult and cause great anxiety when moving. Fortunately, it does not have to be that way as long as you plan ahead to learn about the area hospitals and doctors in the fields of medicine you anticipate requiring. Call or email your current doctors to ask if they have resources or recommendations to help you find the right care in the new area. Check with your insurance company to find out which hospital to use and where it is located. Do a little digging online about the nearby medical offices and their reviews. All of this effort will pay off in reduced stress when confronted with a medical need in a new city.
Calming School Fears And Finding Friends
Starting a new school can be both exciting and intimidating. To help your child feel more excited than intimidated, research the school with your child on greatschools.org and social media sites to see what the kids are talking about or wearing. At his or her old school, maybe the trend was to wear jeans and checkered Vans. In the new school, you may see lots of pictures of students in khaki shorts.
Also, encourage your children to meet the locals as soon as you move. Make it a priority to walk as a family each evening before or after dinner or go to the nearby community pool. Signing up for activities ahead of the move is another fabulous way to get to know the locals. Participation in activities also creates a reason to chat with the local parents and kids to meet one another. This is important for you too, parents. Make sure you don't forget to find the nearest gyms or yoga classes because you will need the support from new friends in the area just as much as your children do.
Anxiety over moving is mostly about a feeling of loss of control and uncertainty with a lot of unknown elements. Reducing the number of unknowns makes life’s challenges and hiccups along the way seem more bearable and can even become part of the adventure. Taking the steps above while incorporating a positive outlook on all elements of the move, even in those challenging moments, can ensure your whole family leaves most of the stress behind, so you can focus on what is ahead.
Hamilton, J. (2008, October 2). Think You're Multitasking? Think Again. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95256794