Moving is pretty awful.

It’s one of those things where you quickly forget how awful it is…until you do it again. Kind of like childbirth (so I hear).

You get settled into your cozy new place, and with a clear floor and hazy mind, you think, “That wasn’t so bad!”

Yes it was. And you realize it as soon as you have to move again and the packing commences.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks – moving. I thought it wouldn’t be terrible…until I started packing up my closet. You know those Russian nesting dolls? It was like that. More stuff than I ever knew I had.

Have you been here? Or are you one of those lucky folks that adores packing and unpacking? (I still have some boxes to go – drop me a line if this is you!)

Clearly, I do not like moving. Most people don’t. But, like many of life’s transitions, you don’t have to like something to get through it gracefully.

In this busy process of moving, I’ve discovered a few keys to keeping most of your sanity:

1. Drop the “shoulds”

You know them – “I should be working out every day.” “I should get the entire kitchen packed today.” “I shouldn’t be eating out so much.”

Maybe those things are true – but drop the should. Yes, it would be healthier for you to eat fresh food at home, but right now isn’t the time to guilt yourself with the “shoulds.”

That’s what this is really about – stop guilting yourself. Cut yourself a little slack. Relax. Yes, my body is screaming for an apple and some crunches, but I’m not guilting myself about it. That only adds to the stress. Don’t make yourself feel bad.

I’m not suggesting you make excuses, or go on a binge-fest free-for-all…but stop guilting yourself. Those things you “should” do will be do-able when your life isn’t flipped upside-down.

2. Don’t be afraid to stray from the routine

You’d think routine would help when everything else changes, but I’ve found it to be more of a hindrance.

For example, my routine is to work out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. During the move, I don’t need to do that – walking up and down stairs 20 times per day and carrying 30lb boxes is exercise enough! Had I insisted on sticking with that, I would’ve been twice as sore and twice as miserable.

So be gentle with yourself – loosen your grip on that routine, if only for a week or two. You can pick it right back up where you left off.

3. Don’t expect it to be stress-free

Moving is stressful. It just is. No matter how gracefully you get through it, there will still be some stress. Accept this.

You don’t have to like it, but accept it, and deal with the stress as best you can.

Take a hot bath, vent to your cat and take as many naps as you want (good luck – I didn’t get a single nap during this move!)

4. Accept the uncertainty

Maybe you don’t know where the nearest coffee shop is, or how the garbage stickers work – that’s okay.

Maybe you’re packing those random kitchen gadgets and wondering where the hell you’ll put them – that’s okay.

Moving brings with it a lot of uncertainty – again, you don’t have to like it, but accept it. Don’t stress yourself out over things you don’t know yet. It won’t help you know them any faster.

5. Ask for help

Don’t do it all yourself. Call friends, family, and ideally, movers. If you can get someone else to move the big stuff, your back will thank you.

6. De-junk as you go (and when you think you’re done, de-junk some more)

That shirt you haven’t worn in 2 years? The nail polish that’s kind of goopy but maybe still usable? Throw. Them. Away.

The less you have to bring with, the less you have to unpack. You’ll thank yourself when you’re trying to organize the new place.

And now, you get to learn from my mistakes. Some things I wish I’d done:

7. Keep healthy snacks around

Too much crap food left me feeling less than my best. Instead of draining my body of nutrients, I wish I’d kept some healthy snacks around. Easy stuff: fruit, nuts, etc.

8. De-Junk more

I’m not kidding about this one. As we’re getting down to the last boxes, it’s clear to me that we didn’t throw enough away. I especially wish I’d gone through my clothes – again, less to organize.

Moving is never a fun process…but with these tips, you can get through it with most of your sanity. Good luck!

Photo: Couple on Unmade Sofa Bed courtesy of Shutterstock.

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