Career Coach offers moving tips for relocation stress

 Career Freedom Coaching

"Relocation stress? Ask the career coach!"


Move from relocation stress to growth and adventure

1. Ask, "Who am I? What do I need to be happy?"

Sometimes you don't realize what you love until it's gone. Here are two exercises to help.

Weekend Wrap-up: Each day for a week, write down two or three things you did -- simple things like walking the dog or having friends over or just driving to work. What did you do? How did you feel? What do you wish were different? As you look back over your entries, you will begin to uncover a pattern of what you need to be happy.

Protected Witness: Imagine that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. To save your life, you've been inducted into the Witness Protection Program. The US Marshal Service will give you a new name, a new occupation and a new home. You are supposed to cut all ties to the past.

Despite the danger, many people find they cannot bear to give up golf, dogs, swimming in the ocean or exhibiting their artwork. If the Bad Guys wanted to find you, where would they look? If you're not sure, ask your friends. They'll know.

Now you can ask, "Will I be able to do what I love after I've moved?" If you can say yes, you will probably be successful.


2. Hire professional packers -- or be your own pro.

When you pack, you open up the hidden places. Packing up the attic, basement or messy kitchen drawer, will force confrontation with a part of the self that has not been visited for years. Often "I have" means saying "I am."

Professional packers do not make judgments. They do not sort through your closets, sighing over the pants that won't fit anymore. They pack everything.

People often say, "I wish we had taken that lamp (or bookcase or chair) with us. I could really use it now."
Unless you are on a really tight budget, err on the side of taking too much. There will probably be a Goodwill or a Salvation Army in your new city.

If you pack your own household, follow the example of the pros.

Pack everything. Pack fast. And don't judge.


3. Pack an emotional first aid kit.

Packing your best intentions isn't enough.
When you undertake a voyage into the unknown, you pack sunblock, Band-Aids, and insect repellent, as well as the basic medications for unexpected encounters with local food and water.

For your first six months, prepare an emotional first aid kit to deal with stresses you are likely to encounter. Some items you might include are:

  • Coping phrases to repeat when feeling frazzled:
    'Let go and relax."
    "I can deal with this."
    "I face the future with confidence."
  • Tapes of meditation and visualization to help you calm down when you have a bout of anxiety.
  • A book or a tape of yoga exercises or some physical activity you enjoy.
  • Favorite photos of friends, family, places and pets.
  • Phone numbers of friends and family who can be called when you really need to talk to a familiar voice: 
    someone to laugh with;
    someone who will listen;
    someone who just moved a year ago and can offer good advice


4. Honor your new home.

As you unpack, play your favorite music and enjoy your favorite foods.

Arrange one room -or one corner of the room-to look familiar. Some people create a ritual of settling in to make the new house their own.


5. Create your own tugboat.

Think of a tugboat that guides an ocean liner out of the harbor. Ocean liners are designed to move smoothly on the high seas and they need special handling while they're close to shore. For the first six months in your new home, create your own tugboat -- a temporary identity that can be released with gratitude when you reach cruising speed on the high seas.

The top deck is your creativity, your connection with air and sunlight.

Creative activity will unfreeze your mental processes. Write a journal entry or a novel, paint a picture or a sketch, stitch a quilt, make a piece of jewelry.

The lower deck is your connection to the physical. Exercise gives you confidence and energy. Don't be surprised if you feel less homesick after a long walk, a good run or a challenging aerobics class.


6. Make new friends by doing what you love.

Fill your life with activities that will be creative and fulfilling. When you nurture yourself, you communicate strength and confidence to others. If you are seen as vulnerable and needy, you will attract negative people and negative experiences.

Remember what you promised yourself you'd do "after we've moved." You may have promised yourself you'd get a dog or take opera lessons. Don't wait.
By doing this while you're in transition you'll have more energy and vitality rather than if you wait until you're "settled."


7. Be your own best camp counselor.

Camp counselors, boarding school directors and drill sergeants know: If you fill the time, newcomers won't have time to be homesick. Set up time to explore your new city.

Create a demanding schedule and stick to it. Map out your itinerary for the first few weeks before you move so you'll begin to set a structure to your days. By staying busy you'll give yourself a chance to acclimate to your new home more quickly.


8. Celebrate everyday life.

Think small.
A walk around the lake.
A perfect cup of coffee in a nearby coffee shop.
A friendly face at the local hardware store.
Listen for the moments when you say, "I could get used to this..."


9. Ask The Big Move Question: Can I still be me?

Moving interrupts identity. The secret to a successful move depends on how you answer the question, "Can I still be me?" To answer this question, write ten "I am" statements about yourself -- anything from "I am a mother" to "I am a dog-owner" to "I am friendly and outgoing." Before you move, ask yourself, "How will this list change after I move?" After you move, ask, "How has the list changed? Am I pleasantly surprised?"


10. Embark on an adventure.

Believe it or not, many people love to move and describe their relocation as a great adventure! I like to compare moving to time travel. After the moving van has been loaded, you go to sleep in a bare room. The next morning, you wake up to a world of exciting possibilities.

No matter what happens, you will find at least one pocket of joy in your new life. Everyone I've interviewed said, "Even when I was happy to move, there was always something I hated to leave behind.

"And even when I dreaded moving, there was always something wonderful that I had never expected."

From , Making the Big Move: How to transform relocation into a creative life transition .


Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D.
Author, Career Consultant, Speaker
*Fast Track to Career Freedom* 505-534-4294


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