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The Ultimate Survival Guide For Moving In Together

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The Ultimate Survival Guide For Moving In Together

Moving in together is a huge step for any relationship, so before you take it you must consider several key things. Then, when the time comes and it feels right, here’s a survival guide you can use to make the transition as easy as possible!

Lifestyle writer Sophie Osborne takes a look at how to survive moving in with your other half. What seems like the easiest decision in the world can often lead to arguments over the most trivial of things; power struggles ensue over where to rent, different paint shades, or who should pay what. Using our handy interactive tools, you can work out what suits you both and avoid falling into traps that could test the strength of your relationship. With expert tips, real life examples, and some fun advice along the way, discover how to move in, without falling out.

Should We Move In Together

So, you’re in love and you enjoy each other’s company? Maybe you’re starting to think about a future under a shared roof? Living together is a big, and let’s face it scary, deal. It’s natural to feel intimidated by the challenges.

Our Story

Like many couples, our path to finding and feathering our love nest wasn’t traditional. A whirlwind of all consuming L.O.V.E, stolen sleepovers and heady ‘honeymoon’ getaways. We quickly made the jump of living together but it wasn’t long before reality bit.
We moved to the Big Smoke, started new jobs and had to completely adapt our lifestyles at the same time. Our new habitat was a box room in an overpriced grotty flat-share with (ex) friends. It wasn’t a case of finding ‘the one’ for us. We’d trusted our housemate to find our home. Big mistake.
Surviving those humble, at times horrific, beginnings laid the foundations of our life together. We still laugh about the permanently sticky floors. The sink that bruised your knee each time you visited the loo. Picture a squat and you’re getting close. It sounds cheesy but we had everything we needed in that room: each other.
Since then we’ve experienced the (tears of) joy in renting our first solo apartment, the awkwardness of having to stay at the folks’, buying then selling our first property and moving again to our current home.

Knowing You’re Ready

Sometimes the merge can be gradual. An emergency pair of pants and a spare toothbrush often becomes a dedicated drawer. Sleepovers and spare keys become the norm. You might feel like you are simulating a home situation but making the change from ‘back to mine’ to ‘back to ours’ is worth careful consideration.
Every couple is unique, but what stage should you be at to know you’re ready to live together? Honest communication is key. Have you shared your goals and been clear about your expectations for the future?
It’s inevitable that moving in together will change things. Bear in mind best behaviours will soon fade to reveal odd habits. Romance gives way to routine. Be vocal if you have deal breakers at this point – maybe it’s time to reduce that record collection or edit your wardrobe?

Couples Mediator and Relationship Expert Debra Macleod recommends asking yourselves the following questions:

– Why are we moving in together?

– What is our goal?

– Is our cohabitation meant to be temporary or permanent?

– How will we handle housework?

Couples often have different reasons for living together – one partner may simply want to save money on rent. These kinds of assumptions can sink a couple’s chances for cohabiting success before they’ve even left the shore

Of course it may seem easier and cheaper when you’re spending so much time together to just move in but convenience should be a bonus. If you’re making the leap because it’s the ‘done’ thing then reconsider – you should want to live together. Trust your instincts; it should feel like a comfortable step rather than a risky leap.Moving in together is something that’s easy to do out of convenience. It makes it easier to spend time together, and it’s often a lot cheaper than living on one’s own. Many couples are not interested in marriage, which is fine; however, partners must be on the same page about this so that there are no conflicting expectations – Samantha Joel, MA

Looking For A House

Prepare

Congratulations if this is the stage you’re at. Not wanting to burst your blissful bubble, but finances have to come first. Money is a common cause of relationship problems so it’s crucial to get this right from the outset. There’s no avoiding these sensitive conversations to decide how you’re going to handle bills and costs. Bite the bullet, make budget plans and stick to them.

How are our expenses to be sorted out? Don’t assume that one partner paying rent and other paying bills will work out to be fair. You will also have to account for your different incomes: a 50/50 split may be not doable – Debra Macleod, Relationship Expert

You’ll also need to take into account any existing debts, organise insurance and individual security. Setting up a ‘Cohabitation Agreement’ as a record of ownership and responsibility ensures that neither of you lose out financially should you separate. Setting up automatic bill payments in advance will also save any issues later on.

It’s much harder to break up when you live together than when you don’t. You don’t want to end up continuing to date someone who isn’t actually a good match for you, just because you don’t want to have to split up your stuff, move out, etc. – Samantha Joel, M.A.

For more information about cohabitation agreements, you can check out advicenow.org

Search

Search engines, handy mobile apps and useful tailored tools make property research simpler. It will soon become clear that it’s not just about ‘location, location, location’. The best way to agree on what to compromise on is by identifying your priorities. A simple way to do this is creating a ‘needs vs wants’ list – do this alone first and then create your joint criteria to refine your search.

Designing the House

When you move your thoughts may soon turn from undressing each other to dressing your space. It’s fun and savvy to start to visualising your interior early on.

Inspire

Get creativity flowing by using imagery to help define your style. Be open to where you source inspiration – why not take a trip to an exhibition or design museum? Perhaps your favourite little café or store has details you can integrate? Books, magazines and Pinterest can be used for creating mood boards and MADExUnboxed is perfect for taking a sneak peek into real homes.

Collaborate

Decoration can be something enjoyed together regardless of DIY skills. Establish mutual sense of ownership, share ideas and take interest in each other’s desires; get excited about making a home together. Harmony takes teamwork but you’re bound to disagree. If you can’t agree then let a game of ‘rock, paper, scissor’ decide.

Personalise

You may have very different (or even bizarre) individual tastes but this can result in some of the most creative and interesting design. By mixing and matching pieces, blending styles and eras you’ll create an environment unique to you as a couple. A well-loved home will tell your story through memories and mementoes. Art, photographs and accessories are a great way to do this and add interest.

Make sure there is at least one element in each room that really represents each of you separately – these don’t have to be huge pieces, perhaps a small accessory or piece of wall art. Then work together to purchase or find the larger statement pieces. This way, your room is largely about the two of you together but still combines elements of your distinct personalities.
– Alessandra Wood, Design Historian

Plan

Shopping can, and should be enjoyable – the secret is in the planning. Establish what you’re working with by using a floor plan and taking measurements (this bit is important). Set budgets to keep you on track, allowing for a few luxuries. It helps to prioritise which areas need immediate attention and which can wait.

Optimise

Regardless of budget, space is often the biggest luxury and cause of conflict. Clever storage hides a multitude of nick-nacks and consider multi-functional pieces and multi usage of rooms.

Living In Harmony

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your cosy life together, but don’t confuse comfort with complacency. Share lazy weekends eating takeout in your pyjamas but don’t let that become the daily routine. Try to focus on being a partner first then a roommate and you’ll be certain to keep that spark.Appreciate that it won’t always be exciting but there should always be excitement. Create traditions, organise date nights, shake up your routines and try new things together – it could be as simple as trying a new recipe or switching off the TV to have a dance to your favourite tunes.Research suggests that the key to maintaining the “spark” in long-term relationships is to continue to do new, exciting things together. Break the routine by doing something that’s a little out of your comfort zone. – Samantha Joel, M.A.Allocate dedicated chores based on preference but make changes to your responsibilities whenever possible to keep it enjoyable. Personal space is essential – just because you live together don’t feel like you need to spend 24/7 together. If space is an issue then simply request some – whether it’s a long soak in the tub or a quiet spot to read in, everyone needs a private sanctuary.Respect and support each other as individuals making time for separate social activities and hobbies but demonstrate interest. Maintaining a joint social life having friends that you see regularly is a great way to have fun as a couple. Open up your home to entertain guests.Keep your environment fresh with seasonal updates and new accessories. Rotate furniture layouts (aka ‘musical chairs’) and reconsider details; small changes make a big difference.

Design Historian Alessandra Wood recommends:

– Layer lighting so you can control the atmosphere and mood of your space. Perhaps you’d like a romantic dinner or bright lights under which to play a game. Use a mixture of overhead lighting, lamps, and task lighting to create innumerable atmospheres to strike a mood within your space

– Don’t be afraid to indulge in a few special luxuries that will make your home feel like a fancy spa. Great towels and sheets, fluffy blankets and throws, and plush rugs will make your home feel like a paradise. When you love where you live and all the things inside, it makes living with another person much easier!”

It takes a certain level of patience and emotional understanding to maintain harmony. Need to talk? Get out of the house; as much as you love your space, nothing beats getting out of those four walls to reconnect, keeping home sweet home.

About The Author:

Sophie Osborne: Freelance Writer /  ‘s Editor Intern 2013 / Magazine Addict / Mama to be.

A Survival Guide For Couples About To Move In Together | Made

Featured photo credit: Retro Chair in an Old Pub via picjumbo.com

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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