According to the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council, moving is the third most stressful life event, preceded by death and divorce, yet one-sixth of all Americans, an estimated 45.3 million people, move each year. The majority of Americans who move do so for employment related reasons, the rest for housing related purposes. Moving out, moving up or moving down, Americans are a nation on the move.
Moving can be both physically and mentally stressful. For children, new schools, new sleeping arrangement and new friends may seem exciting or daunting. For adults, increased financial responsibility, a change in jobs, a longer commute and child care responsibilities can all prove stressful. And that is in addition to finding a new home, securing financing, packing your belongings, having a moving sale, the actual move itself, the unpacking and getting settled in.
For families experiencing an economic downturn, the shame over a foreclosure or short sale, guilt of uprooting a family or feeling like a failure for having to move in with friends or relatives increase the stress of moving. Cracks may appear in solid marriages, underlying issues may be exacerbated in more fragile relationships.
Stress symptoms to watch out for:
· Feelings of anxiety, irritability, fear, moodiness or embarrassment.
· Changes to the thought process, including self-criticism, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, forgetfulness, preoccupation with the future, repetitive thoughts and fear of failure.
· Behavioral Changes like crying, increased or decreased appetite, acting impulsively, alcohol or drug use, teeth grinding stuttering or other speech difficulties and being more accident-prone.
· Physical issues may include sleep disturbances, tight muscles, headaches, fatigue, cold or sweaty hands, back or neck problems, GI distress, being more susceptible to colds, pounding or racing heart, trembling hands and dry mouth.
· Stress can also lead to lead to increased blood sugar levels.
Stress is considered America’s leading health problem. Some level of anxiety is normal when experiencing a major life change; however, if the stress levels increase or last for longer than a few months, it may be time to seek professional help. Pre-move therapy for individuals with existing anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, or OCD is often recommended.
The Great Lakes Psychology Group offers free 15-minute telephone stress consultation. Once the therapist has an understanding of your specific circumstances, they will recommend a course of action. There has never been a better time to schedule a consultation with the Great Lakes Psychology Group to help make your move less stressful for you, your family and children.
Tricia Stehle is a psychologist with Great Lakes Psychology Group Google