Coping with the stress of moving

Stress of Moving


Coping with the stress of moving

It’s no secret that moving house is one of the most stressful events in our lives. It’s right up there with losing a loved one, marriage breakdowns and facing unemployment. 

Here at Dr Olga Lavalle & Associates, we’re currently preparing for an office move – packing up our clinic and office of three years to change location. And it’s been a great reminder to us of how stressful any kind of major move can be.

 Whether you’re upsizing or downsizing, moving around the corner or across the country, moving is a trigger for stress.

 But why?

Change is hard

Any kind of change is tough. As humans, we’re designed to thrive in a situation of safety, routine and order.

Moving house is about change and unfamiliarity. Leaving a situation where you feel comfortable and certain, to a new place of uncertainty. Getting to a new neighborhood, leaving behind the friends you’ve made and saying goodbye to a place which has been your place of safety.

Moving also has a ripple effect. It might involve changing schools, changing work commutes or jobs, changing your doctor and childcare. It’s much more than just packing up a few boxes and handing over the keys.


The pressure of packing

Packing up your possessions can be highly stressful, especially if you’ve lived somewhere for a long time, or are packing up the evidence of your earlier chapters of life – for example packing up things which your children have outgrown.

It often takes weeks of packing to get ready for your move, and this comes on top of the usual daily pressures of work, home-life, responsibilities and other preparations for the move.

Financial pressures and the other things to consider – changing utilities, redirecting mail, clearing out rubbish, sorting logistics – can all add to the stress of the move.


The impact on your mental health

Whether you’ve struggled with your mental health before or not, moving can have a major impact and cause anxiety and stress. You might also find yourself grieving for your old life and struggling to say goodbye to the people and places you know so well.

Be kind and gentle on yourself. No-one enjoys moving – it’s hard work on so many levels.

But there are some things you can do to help lessen the impact of the move:

Our five top tips for coping with a move: 

  • Enlist help: If friends offer to help, say yes, but be specific. It might be that you need someone to watch the kids for a few hours one day so that you can pack in peace, or it might be that you need someone to help you take some donations to a charity shop.
  • Start early: Do as much as you can to get organised early on – packing things you rarely use, notifying your utilities companies, booking a removalist and organising cleaning. These will all help you feel more in control of your move.
  • Make it fun: Play music while you’re packing, enjoy some snacks, and if you have kids, create a box of ‘new’ toys you’ve discovered while packing for them to play with (preferably outside).
  • Manage expectations: Understand that moving will be tough but try to focus on the positives – the potential of the new happiness in your new home, and the things you’re going to gain from the move.


If you’re struggling to cope with a big life event like a house move, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help.


Our new address will be: Suite 6 – Level 2 of 87-89 Market Street, Wollongong.

(On the corner of Market and Young Street, entry on Young Street).


Written by Olga Lavalle

Olga is registered as a Clinical Psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. She provides psychological services under Medicare, is an Employee Assistance Program provider and an approved WorkCover NSW provider. Additionally, Olga consults to workplace and community sporting organisations.

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