Recently Suffer a Loss? Moving Can Be Your Ticket to a Fresh Start
As the American Psychological Association notes, mourning the death of a loved one is difficult, and it can take a long time before you move on, but you will be able to move on. Most advice will tell you that “moving on” is more of a metaphorical goal. You have to get past the bereavement period in your own head. While this is certainly true, it’s wrong to think that moving on cannot also be a physical way to cope. A change of scenery can be just what a grieving person needs.
Uprooting your life and moving to a new city, state, or country is scary for just about everyone. We all have ties to our communities, no matter how long we’ve lived there. Friends, family, and work obligations are hard to leave behind. But when we suffer a trauma like losing a loved one, it can upend our entire sense of what is normal and what makes us happy. In a way, it can become hard to be satisfied in our current location because that location may be tied—emotionally and physically—to the person we lost.
The bottom line is that moving can give you a fresh start, one where the dark clouds of bereavement may not completely disappear, but will certainly have a harder time following you. The psychological impact of changing locales cannot be understated. Research has shown that you are pretty much a different person (with a different personality) when you move to a new place.
You’ll also have the opportunity to make new friends—friends who don’t know your entire history and backstory. You get to decide what to tell them about yourself and when. When we lose loved ones, it’s nice to have a support system of people who love and care about us. But it can also permeate our relationships in negative ways. The new you in a new place doesn’t have to be linked to your bereavement.
How to make your move stress free
OK, stress-free moving might be a lofty goal, but you can definitely minimize the inevitable anxiety that comes with moving if you do it smartly. Here are some tips:
● First, get organized. A majority of moving stress stems from stuff, mainly the fact that we all tend to have too much of it. You’ll want to downsize some of your belongings. The less you have to move, the cheaper, easier, and less stressful the move will be. Check out these tips.
● Set aside a first-day essentials box. A lot can happen between point A and point B, so it’s crucial that you have immediate access to what’s important at all times. Pack a box with cash, important documents, toiletries, ID, and other essentials.
● Get some help. If you’re trying to save money, lean on friends and family to help you with the move. If you have a little cash to spare, professional movers can lighten the load significantly and are usually well worth their cost.
● Prep your new residence before you move. Are your new utility accounts in order? How about internet? Is your new space clean and ready for you and your belongings?
● Think of the kids. Moving during the school year adds a whole new level of stress to any move, and it can disrupt your kids’ lives if you don’t prepare. You must schedule school visits before you move, talk to your kids’ new teachers and administrators beforehand, and make sure they have everything they need to hit the ground running when you arrive in your new home.
Moving isn’t going to fix your pain. Losing someone you love and the grief that follows has no silver-bullet cure. But you can give yourself a fresh start. Sometimes a change of scenery can give you some perspective and help you realize that the good in your life outweighs the bad, even during this time of bereavement.
*** Written by Lucille Rosetti for Meridian Counseling.
Lucille created TheBereaved.org as a means of sharing tools to help people through the grief process. Having lost some of the people closest to her, she understands what it’s like, and how it can be an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t always seem to make sense.