Mindfully Managing A Move…

 In compassion, life changes, mindfulness

Oh Moving, you manic disrupter of first chakras!

This post is by request from several people who just went through the relocation process.  All my love to you, my recently resettled friends!  

Moving is one of those completely normal activities that never gets the credit it deserves for completely mucking up your emotional stratosphere.  I hear about, and have experienced, myriad bizarre post-move stories.  From breakups to make-ups to job changes to your basic existential crisis….all these are pretty standard outcomes of moving.  The simple relocation of one’s earthly possessions brings up so much, that it seems to me like it could use it’s own handbook, instead of another list that starts with “3 months before your move, you should…”, because, seriously, who ever has 3 months to move???)

Here are my top 3 strategies for reconnecting with sanity after you’ve unpacked (and if these don’t work, check for sanity in that box that ended up in the top of the closet – that’s always where the good stuff is).  

Strategy #1

Get your groove on in your new space.  For me, this is always cooking a real meal in the kitchen.  Ok, I’ll be honest, a real meal in the days when I moved a lot used to consist of Campbell’s Soup Chicken Casserole, but that still counts!  Whatever the thing is that makes you feel like “home”, do that!  Maybe it’s a bath in the newly scrubbed tub or a dance party in the living room.  What you’re doing is (re)claiming your power in this space.  You’re creating a place of balance and serenity from which you can now operate.  So get a feel for your new kitchen, test the acoustics of the living room or find the best place to set your candle & glass of wine next to the tub.  This is your space now and it’s time to start living in it!

Strategy #2

Don’t make any big decisions for at least a week after a move.  By this, I mean, don’t end your relationship, quit your job or take any other action that could be considered drastic.  This slightly surprising new desire to blow up your entire life is a natural result of having made a major change.  Moving is exhausting and also literally moves our personal set of roots, so we’re less able to make rational, practical decisions right after a move.  We feel more emotional and much more reactive.  With one hand, we’re reaching for sense of stability and with the other we are grasping for more of that delicious empowering chaos that comes with successfully making a change.  Let yourself ground and center into this new space first, allow your balance to return and then start considering your next set of actions.  If you really feel the urge to DO something, journal the feelings you’re having during a move and make notes on what desires came up during this time.  Then schedule a date two weeks out to come back to these thoughts and map a plan of action.  

Strategy #3

Reconnect with the support team!  Post-move, it’s really, really normal to feeling totally disconnected from things.  Typically, you’ve spent most of the previous month (or two) finding a new place to live, packing up all your stuff, making trips to Goodwill and panicking about your security deposit (or your closing date).  Once you get in, get a good night’s sleep (or five) and have completed Strategy #1, send up the smoke signals and find your tribe again!  You’ll start to feel normal and connected as soon as you’ve had a few quality phone calls or chats on the couch with your nearest and dearest.  If you moved cities or countries, extend some invites to visit (I’ve noticed that friends tend to come visit the most in the first few months after you’ve moved).  Often, people are waiting for you to ask, because they don’t want to invade until you’ve said you’re ready.  If you just moved across town, invite the crew over.  Don’t worry about the house being perfect or the blinds all being up – welcome your support team in and let them bring all that glorious energy into your new space.  We call them houseWARMings for a reason.  

One extra tip, for the folks coming to visit…when you’re in someone’s new space for the first time, be free with the joy and keep the criticism to a minimum.  The outdoor space is small or the dining room table doesn’t fit quite right?  Yeah, they already know.  People are tender and a little self-conscious after a move.  They’re still trying to find their feet in this new space and everything might not have come completely together yet.  Feel free to bring an awesome bottle of wine or give them the number of your handyman, but keep any negativity to yourself.   

For my people who just moved, be gentle with yourself.  Uprooting your life is different for everyone.  Allow the process to unfold for you in it’s own way and be open to the learnings that come from it.  Most importantly, find time to celebrate the joy of change and all the new roads that open in life because of it.  

May happiness find you in whatever space you’re occupying today!!


Katy Flatau is a mindfulness trainer and certified coach as well as Founder and CEO of Mindful-U.  Based in Chicago, she’s passionate about helping individuals upgrade their personal happiness and educating corporations on how to mindfully engage employees.  She balances her spare time between enjoying the capricious Midwestern weather, reading too many fantasy novels and concocting complicated curries (a must for a snowy winter).  Follow her on Facebook or get 10 Easy Ways to Stay Mindful-U in a Social Life and a free 4-minute meditation here…

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  • Pat Arnold

    Loved this! Spirit has sent me to so many homes where I learned so many life altering lessons that I wrote a book about it. This moving maven can confidently affirm that your advice cuts through the crap and brings real value. Thanks much for this–because I’m sure there will be at least one more move before I leave this planet. 🙂

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