Here, regular site contributor Mike James put together a list of the most typical symptoms of anxiety to watch out for during a house move, after consulting UK based company Nice Man Big Van.
It’s no surprise to learn that moving house is in the top five of the most stressful situations we will encounter in our lifetime. Along with bereavement, divorce, major illness and job loss, moving home is one of our most notoriously stressful life experiences. It literally turns our world upside down. It represents a transition in life and it involves coping with change.
According to Anxiety UK, a charity supporting people affected by anxiety, stress and depression, two thirds of people in a recent poll voted moving house at the top of their stress list. Poll respondents reported that moving house triggered more anxiety than relationship breakdowns, divorce and starting a new job.
Feeling stressed or anxious over moving house isn’t a sign of weakness. Recognising how stressful moving house is and focusing on the positive aspects of the move will help you to remember why you made the decision to move in the first place. Recognising the symptoms of anxiety and developing strategies for dealing with the manifestations of stress are just as important as preparing for the move.
We’ve put together a list of the most typical symptoms of anxiety to watch out for. If you do find yourself suffering from anxiety, it’s not likely that you’ll get all of the symptoms at the same time, plus symptoms may come and go. As some of the symptoms may be representative of other conditions, it’s a good idea to consult your GP to rule out anything serious.
Symptoms of anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- Increased muscle tension
- ‘Jelly legs’
- Tingling in the hands and feet
- Hyperventilation (over breathing)
- Difficulty in breathing
- Tension headaches
- Hot flushes
- Increased perspiration
- Dry mouth
- Tightness across chest area
- Needing to use the toilet more often
Even though moving house, in most instances, is a happy occasion, the disruption to your routine, not to mention the packing, the changing of schools for the kids, and the switching of energy suppliers, all adds up to a stressful upheaval. Here are some of our best stress-busting strategies to help you deal with the potential chaos.
- Be prepared
There’s nothing more important when moving house than being prepared. Take plenty of time to pack. Pack rooms up in an orderly manner (don’t pack the kettle, cups and teabags until last). Being prepared will significantly reduce your stress levels.
- Plan ahead
Schedule everything you need well ahead of the moving day. Give yourself eight weeks prior to the move and plan a timetable for everything that needs to be done. Treating it as a project to be managed with deadlines will help keep you on track.
- Consider a removal company
A removal firm can help you with as little or as much as you like. From the simple hiring of a van, through to the entire moving process, it may be a worthwhile moving expense for your sanity. Trying to do it all alone inevitably ends up in a feeling of being overwhelmed, and it’s not long before you realise you’ve taken on too much. Many removal companies offer storage and packing solutions as well.
- Simple breathing exercises
Having a strategy to deal with any symptoms of anxiety is a good idea. Simple breathing exercises are a really easy way of taking a step back and won’t take long. You’ll get the most benefit if you factor in breathing exercises regularly.
- Mindfulness practices
Mindfulness practice has hit the headlines in recent years as the cure-all for stress. There are several techniques, but here are our favourite two:
- Anchoring – direct your attention to the lower part of your body. Focus on your feet and notice how they feel inside your socks and shoes, and against the ground. Expand your attention to your lower legs and notice any sensations. Are they heavy or light, warm or cool. Try not to make any judgement about what you have noticed, just observe. Do the same for your upper legs, then arms, followed by your torso and lastly your head and face.
- Breath counting – sit comfortably and pay attention to your breath. Breathe normally and on each out breath, count, starting from one. On the next out breath, count two, and so on until you reach 10. Repeat the exercise a few times in succession counting up to 10 each time.
- Take breaks
Wearing yourself out will only add to your sense of anxiety. You need respite to function efficiently. Take regular breaks in your busy schedule.
- Get enough sleep
Nothing affects us in a more negative way than a lack of sleep. Don’t be tempted to stay up late to complete tasks. As the evening wears on you’ll be less efficient anyway. Sleep deprivation will only add to your sense of anxiety.
- Eat well
Don’t be tempted to skip meals. Looking after yourself is even more important during times of stress. You’ll need your energy for the move, so it makes sense to take the time to eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Accept all help offered
While you may think you are invincible, you may have underestimated the enormity of a house move. Accept all offers of childcare, and take time off work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. Most of your friends and family will be willing and happy to help you out. Be clear about how they can help you.