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On Moving and How to Handle Change

by Ashley on November 5, 2012 · 7 comments

On Friday I flew  home from Canada and wrapped up the loveliest week with my boyfriend, Peter. On Saturday I packed up the remaining tidbits of my life in my old apartment and began the process making it squeaky clean. On Sunday I turned in my keys, said goodbye to my old home, and moved to my new home (a condo with my childhood BFF). Today I went to work for the first time in 10 days and now I am sitting on a new-to-me bright red couch, drinking pumpkin beer, and eating white fudge covered oreos.

My life is good. Beyond good, really, but I can’t help but feel sad.

I miss my old home. I miss my sister’s puppy, Louis, who I snuggled with every night. I miss the way my bedroom was arranged and the routine I had driving home from work.

Change is hard and it comes with a lot of mixed emotions.

So I’m slowly learning how to accept these feelings and cope with the transition. This is what I’ve learned so far:

Feel the Feelings. When you’re going through any kind of change or big life transition, you are going to feel a lot of feelings and that’s okay. I’ve been sad every single day for the past two weeks, just thinking about moving. But I think the important part to remember is that once you feel the feelings, it’s easier to let them go. Plus, it’s healthier, emotionally, to let yourself grieve and go through the entire process, rather than just shoving all those feelings aside and pretending everything is fine. You’ll eventually want to punch someone in the face if you do that.

Do a Brain Dump. Looking at the big picture of a change and seeing every single task that must be completed can be incredibly daunting. It helps me to do a “brain dump” or make a list of all the tiny thoughts floating around in my head. This way, I can stop worrying that I’ll forget to call the electric company or mail in my water bill. Everything is written down in one place and I can finally breathe again.

Do One Small Thing. Once the brain dump is complete, it’s best not to stress about everything you just wrote down. I mean, the point of this whole process is to relieve stress, right? It’s okay if you don’t accomplish it all today. Even just doing one small thing will mean a tiny step of progress in the right direction and that’s something to celebrate.

Remember the Good Stuff. Of course change is stressful and overwhelming and no fun for anyone. I get that. But I also know that being a Negative Nellie all the time doesn’t help anyone. So try to express some gratitude and be thankful for the good things in your life. I’m sure there is something. Yummy bagel for breakfast? Check. Awesome workout this afternoon? Good job! Favorite episode of Dawson’s Creek? Do it.

And that’s how I’ve handled these last few weeks. What about you?

How do you cope with change?

Photo credit: kalexanderson

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Natasha November 6, 2012 at 12:33 am

It can vary, based on the extent of change. I tend to handle the majority of it very well, but sometimes adapting can be very hard. My mom and I plan on moving into a bigger place — actually, it’s more like my mom is moving into a bigger place and I’m free to live with her if I want — and I dread it every second until the moving is actually done and I don’t have to think about it anymore. I am not the biggest fan of moving. Most of the time, I cope by lying in bed and watching a feel good movie. I’m going to have to assess the other coping methods I have, but I’m glad that you are finally done with your move and it’s something you don’t need to worry about anymore.


Sue November 6, 2012 at 2:31 am

Great advice. I’ve got a lot going on at the moment (having just finished work in London to move back to Melbourne but taking a few months to do it). Yesterday after a momentary freak out on how many little admin things I had to do, I did a huge brain dump and I already feel better about things, more in control.

Happy housewarming for your new place.


Stephany November 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

Change is really tough for me. I had a panic attack my first night in my new apartment because it was just so NEW and DIFFERENT and it didn’t feel like home yet. I’ve settled in and love it now, but I try to give myself a few days to just be sad and settle into the emotions because I need that.

Hopefully you can settle in fairly easily and be ready for the next stage!


suki November 8, 2012 at 11:49 am

I love change because I approach it as being new and refreshing. :-) But I can totally understand what you mean though. It can be hard for a lot of people.


Gina November 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I felt the same way when I was getting ready to move to Korea: I was super excited for the new chapter of my life, but I still couldn’t help but feel sad about ending the old one. I think you have the right idea, though. Change is definitely hard, but you got this. :)


The Curious Cat November 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I moved to Spain 7 weeks ago… Somedays, depending on my mood, I ache for home and other days I dream of the future and moving to South Korea or some other far flung place. I ache for home when I am feeling low and in need of comfort ; I dream of other places when I’m feeling optimistic and brave. The stupid thing is, I forget where I actually am – which is also amazing. I mentally have to drag my daydreaming self down to reality and say ‘ smell that…’ or ‘see that…’ ‘here! right now!’

When I do that then I usually feel much better and I level out…I now try to view my ever changing feelings with some detachment and not to let them get the better of me.


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