Change is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. While major life transitions like moving house or changing jobs can feel overwhelmingly chaotic, there are some simple strategies for coping with emotionally challenging times in a calm and positive way.
When facing a life change such as moving to a new home, it’s all too easy to feel uprooted and as though everything familiar has gone and you have to start from scratch. Whether it’s your first step onto the property ladder or you’re downsizing in later life, dealing with this type of change doesn’t have to be a fraught or traumatic experience. Indeed, by implementing some practical self-care techniques and a solutions-focused mindset, the process can be much less stressful than you may anticipate. With the benefit of hindsight, the key lessons learned are about minimising anxiety and navigating adjustments in a healthy and balanced manner.
This article provides tips for managing challenging transitions in an everyday and accessible way. Though examples focus on moving house, these strategies apply to any significant life change that feels daunting in the moment. The key is making sure to feel as in control and supported as possible during periods of adjustment.
- Knowledge is power
The more you know about the change you are facing, the less stressful it will seem. The key here is avoiding feelings of ignorance or powerlessness in the face of transition by arming yourself with information and resources well ahead of time, so do whatever you need to do to help the new situation feel more familiar and predictable before it happens.
For a house move, find out everything you can about the local facilities and services in your new area. Does the property have any accessibility issues or hidden costs you need to budget for? Learn about parking arrangements, utility providers, and opportunities for recreation. Read guides on moving house to understand the necessary processes and timelines. Research removal companies for the best services and quotes. The more familiar the new location feels, the sooner it will start to seem like home.
- Proper planning and preparation
With your background homework done, it’s time to make a realistic plan to help you navigate the transition in an orderly manner. It’s a good idea to set out a timeline noting key milestones and deadlines to keep yourself on track without feeling overwhelmed. An organised approach allows you to be in control rather than ruled by chaos, making the process more structured and achievable.
For a relocation, map out the weeks leading up to moving day and also consider how long it may take to fully settle in. Start decluttering your excess belongings so there’s less to pack and move. Label boxes by room and contents to make unpacking in your new place more efficient. Book any moving vehicles, hotels or extra help you may need months in advance. Also set up files, online documents or a notebook to keep all paperwork relating to the move in one place. Finally, don’t forget to pack a box with essential items you will need straight away in your new home, like a kettle, mugs, chargers, toiletries, pyjamas, etc.
- The importance of a positive mindset
Your outlook and attitude can make a significant difference to how stressful life changes feel. Try to view the transition as an opportunity rather than a threat. Look for the benefits and rewards the shift in direction may bring rather than focusing on the challenges.
For a house move, you may be going to a better area, upsizing your living space or moving in with a partner. Frame your shift in circumstances in an optimistic light. When faced with uncertainty or moments of chaos, take a step back to maintain perspective. Remind yourself the stressful parts are temporary, even if they do not feel that way at the time.
Practice positive self-talk and affirmations to reframe unhelpful thoughts and cope with stress. Replace “Everything feels out of control!” with “This stress is only temporary. I have overcome challenges before and will get through this too.” Swap “I’ll never adjust to this place” to “Give it time. Moving to a new home always seems unfamiliar at first. I will settle in and make it my own.” Challenge negative predictions and reframe them in a more constructive way.
- Practicing self-care
Self-care is essential for coping with stressful life changes in a healthy way. Make sure to schedule in time for rest, relaxation and recharging to avoid burnout during transitions. Try to maintain a routine as much as possible by going to bed at your usual time, limiting excess demands on your time and eating regular meals. Engage in light exercises like walking or yoga which release feel-good hormones to boost your mood and motivation. Connect with others through social interaction and do small things each day that you find meaningful, whether it’s reading or journalling, spending time with friends or finding time for relaxing hobbies.
Make self-care a daily priority to maintain your wellbeing through life’s most challenging transitions. Staying in good shape physically and mentally means you will have resilience and inner strength when times get tough.
- You don’t have to do it all alone
Do not assume you need to cope with significant life changes in isolation. Let friends and family know specific ways they can assist to make the transition feel more manageable. Asking for and accepting help from others is a sign of strength that allows you to tackle difficulties that feel too big to face alone. Make the most of the goodwill of people who want to see you succeed during challenging times. Let them in – you will be glad you did.
For a transition to a new home, you may ask someone to help pack up rooms, watch pets or children during the move day, unpack kitchen boxes or bring you meals for the first week. Be open to accepting help from unexpected sources too. Your neighbours may offer to show you around the local area or ask if you need help moving furniture into the new place. Say yes to their kindness! Express gratitude and appreciation for those who offer their time, skills or resources during your transition. Let them know their support makes a difference in helping to alleviate any anxieties. You can return the favour for others in your life facing challenging circumstances when you are able.
With the right mindset and coping strategies, navigating change can transform from a distressing life event into an opportunity for learning and growth. Believe in your ability to adapt well in the face of challenges and make the resources of knowledge, planning, self-care and support your trusted tools for building resilience through transitions. By following these guidelines, change does not have to be a traumatic experience – you can keep calm and move on.