Not going to lie, moving is stressful. It’s a big project. Between planning, researching, packing, cleaning, moving, and getting resettled, you might be stressed out for months. But it’s also an exciting time of possibilities and growth, and if you take the time to be present, it can be a time for mindfulness. Here are seven ways to have a more mindful move.
1. Practice home-focused gratitude.
Take a moment to write down what you love about the place you’re leaving. Write down stories that have happened in and around your house that make you smile. Describe the details that made your house your home.
The garden that you dug by hand and filled with favorite blooms, the fireplace that never really worked but still looked damn good at Christmas, or the taco truck with the killer pico that parked at the bar down the street every Friday. Thank your house or neighborhood for providing you with shelter and memories.
2. Capture photo memories.
Before the packing boxes come out, snap a photo or two of your favorite parts of the house. Love the way your candles light the living room at night, or how your dog always stretches out on the rug in the hallway? Take a photo and file it away where you can find it. Photos of familiar memories can bring comfort when you’re feeling homesick and joy when you share them with new friends.
Now’s a perfect time to really examine your relationship with the things you own. What do you honestly need? What do you actually use? Which things will make more space in your life by getting rid of them? Sell or donate as much as you can before you start your move. Having less stuff means less stuff to pack, less stuff to load, to transport, to organize when you get to your new place. And when you get to your new home, you might be surprised at how much stuff from your old home there’s suddenly no place for.
4. Mindful self-talk.
A mindful move starts exactly there – in your mind. Throughout the moving process, notice when cynical or fearful ideas start creeping into your thoughts (“What if the new house is too small? What if I can’t find a job in this city? What if all the coffee shops near my house have crappy espresso?“).
Shut those suckers down pronto, because talking yourself into a panic attack isn’t helpful, ever. Acknowledge your anxieties without letting their voice grow louder than your best self, then shift your focus to the possibilities. What might go absolutely, terribly right?
5. Say goodbye to neighbors.
Part of practicing a mindful move means honoring the relationships you fostered at your old place. No one likes saying goodbye, but it can give you a feeling of closure and completeness that will put your heart at ease. Try to make peace wherever there was tension, and if nothing else, a simple goodbye card is a great way to leave a sweet taste in your neighbor’s mind. Bonus points for saying goodbye with cookies or wine!
Our neighbors threw us a going away party as we were leaving Schloss Rimburg, and it was the perfect way to wrap up a charming three years of living next door to each other. A party with some of our theater friends also gave us a happy last chance for fun and hugs.
6. Embrace your emotional states.
Pay special attention to your feelings, especially the strong impressions that come when you have a new experience or visit a new place. You’ll only have one “first time we walked into our new apartment” moment. Slow down and drink deeply of the firsts and lasts. Maybe write them down. You might be surprised to look back later and see how your impressions of a place have changed.
7. Re-evaluate your rituals.
Reflect on the everyday rituals and habits that you have in your current life. Which rituals have improved your life? Helpful habits, like the walk with your family on Sunday morning or journaling before bed, are worth taking with you in your move. Keeping up with your positive rituals during the hectic upheaval of moving will help you feel balanced and in control.
Take notice of your bad habits too! If your “ritual” of eating too many chips while you watch TV isn’t serving you, you can harness that same upheaval to shake up your routine. Let the chaos of the move wash away your bad former habits so you can get a fresh start.
Choosing a Mindful Move
Moving can feel like you’re being swept up in a whirlwind, but before you know it, it’s over. In the midst of all the moving stress, it’s worth making time to stop, breathe, and focus on what makes this transitional period so unique. Make your next move an opportunity to not only relocate, but dig deeper into your mindfulness practice.