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Anxiety About Moving Out – Dealing With the Fear of Relocation

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Anxiety about moving out is not an unusual problem – in fact, it is a common companion of people when relocating. Human beings tend to cherish and enjoy their comfort and routines, so any kind of stressors might disturb their peace and affect their mental health. If you’re about to move and experiencing some difficulties, here’s how to understand and overcome them.

How Do I Mentally Prepare to Move Out?

Unfortunately, we have some bad news – you can never be completely prepared for everything the future carries. Every new beginning, relocation being one of them, is full of potential challenges and unexpected situations that we have to handle. What you can do, however, is try to understand why you are experiencing certain feelings, accept them as a part of the process, acknowledge their true meaning, and learn how to overcome them. 

If you don’t know much about things to do when relocating to a new home, you can start organizing your move by writing a moving-out list, handling your finances, and saving money by making a relocation expenses checklist. Some other things you should do in order to move efficiently include tasks like changing your home address in advance and transferring utilities. You should also consider hiring professional cross-country movers in order to have more time for yourself and other responsibilities. They can assist you with packing services and different relocation-related tasks – for example, if you don’t know anything about packing fragile items on your own.

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Is It Normal to Be Nervous About Moving Out? Big Life Changes Always Affect Us in a Certain Way

Anxiety about moving out for the first time is almost a natural thing – the problem occurs when this fear overwhelms you and prevents you from functioning properly in your everyday life. It’s not an unusual thing to hear, “I feel anxiety about moving out of my parents’ house and into a college dorm – so many things could go wrong!” It’s never easy to draw a line between normal and abnormal feelings or rational and irrational fears. However, it is normal and rational to be afraid of something that you have never experienced before and don’t know anything about. 

Your whole life, you lived under your parents’ roof, and now you have to make it on your own in completely new surroundings, possibly with people that you don’t know at all. Every “normal” person would experience some kind of fear of how this will end, but they can also be euphoric and excited about getting a chance to experience something unfamiliar and potentially beautiful. When there is any kind of risk involved, people fear for their well-being. So if you’re currently going through a big transition and can’t understand your emotions – you’re not alone in this.

What Is Relocation Anxiety? How to Understand Anxious Feelings When You Relocate to a New Home for the First Time

Anxiety is originally described as a fear of the unknown – the feeling of overwhelming uncertainty. Experiencing it can also lead to some physical reactions such as sweating, shaking, and a racing heartbeat. Ignoring these feelings can cause them to progress into something that overwhelms you and stops you from functioning normally. You might be able to pinpoint specific things as triggers, for example, fear of meeting neighbors or fear that you won’t be able to make friends in a new city, but sometimes, these emotions will seem to come out of nowhere.

Why Do People Get Anxious When Relocating? Does It Depend on Personality and Affect Introverts More?

First of all, let’s begin with reasons to move – they can be various. For example, a person might not be feeling anxious when they are relocating on their own, but these emotions unexpectedly pop out when they move for love to be with their partner. This could be related to millions of personal reasons – for starters, they can be questioning if this was the right decision or if they are ready to settle down and start a family. If you’re an introvert, it’s natural that you believe that making new friends will be hard, but on the other hand, extroverts might be afraid that they will be lonely without all the friends they are leaving behind. In other words, everyone can experience difficulties during relocation.

How to Recognize the Problem?

If you want to move safely, you might want to learn how to recognize this problem if it appears. The best way to do this is to pay attention to your thoughts and physical reactions to certain events. If you are, for example, having a pleasant night out with your friends and all of the sudden your heart starts jumping and hands start sweating, and you can’t tell what is wrong and why you are feeling like this, try to recall your recent thoughts and start writing a journal – what were you thinking, when were you feeling certain emotions, and how did your thoughts flow throughout the day. If you just instantly start thinking negatively, without any particular reason, this can be one of the red flags.

What Are the Main Symptoms?

As we mentioned earlier, there are two categories of symptoms that might be signs of this mental disorder. Mental symptoms include:

  • Racing thoughts,
  • Overthinking,
  • Difficulties concentrating,
  • Feelings of panic,
  • Feeling irritable,
  • Heightened alertness,
  • Sleeping problems,
  • Changes in appetite,
  • Dissociation. 

If you simply dissociate from your thoughts and don’t recognize mental symptoms, physical symptoms might be more visible and easily traceable:

  • Sweating,
  • Heavy breathing,
  • Blushing,
  • Shaking,
  • Dry mouth,
  • Fast heartbeat,
  • Dizziness or fainting,
  • Sickens and abdominal pain.

Don’t worry if you occasionally experience some of these symptoms – they often occur for various health reasons and don’t necessarily have to be related to anxious episodes. On the other hand, if you experience a few of them at the same time relatively frequently – maybe you’re currently facing some mental issues. Don’t worry, once this disorder is diagnosed, it can be treated with suitable therapy and (if need be) medications.

Negative Consequences of Anxiety That Affect Mental Health

Anxiety about moving out of state isn’t a completely unreasonable fear, but unfortunately, it can lead to severe issues if the person simply isn’t mentally strong enough to deal with this situation. Don’t make the common relocation mistake of trying to avoid facing negative emotions. Leaving this disorder unsupervised and untreated can lead to complete dysfunctionality under everyday pressure and common stressors and tasks. For example, you might become so overwhelmed with fear that you avoid any human interaction.

How Do I Cope With Anxiety Moving Out? Learn How to Fight the Irrational Fear

Relocating with pets is one of the good ways to cope with negative emotions related to relocation – they will make your new apartment feel like home, and you’ll definitely feel less alone and depressed. Another method of dealing with irrational thoughts that leads to this disorder is rationalizing them. How do you do this? Once you catch yourself having some of the previously mentioned symptoms and start noticing your thoughts and writing them down in a journal as recommended, you’ll start having a clearer vision and a better perspective of what’s happening.

Rationalize Your Worst Fears and Test Your Theories in Practice

You can, for example, ask yourself – what’s the worst that can happen if I say hi to my new neighbor? Will they run me over with a car? Chances are decently small. They will say hi back in most cases, but will you survive if they don’t? Of course you will, so there actually isn’t much to be worried about. You don’t instantly have to become best friends with every person you meet, but your chances of being accepted and less socially anxious will grow if you practice social contact.

How Do I Cope With Moving Out for the First Time

If this is your first relocation, the uncertainty of what is to come can feel even more difficult to overcome. Some unpleasant emotions during this process are inevitable, but there are great ways to fight and cope with them. You’ll feel less anxious about upcoming events if you feel like you’re in control of the situation, even if you’re not entirely sure what will happen next. That’s why, for example, relocating to a new home in a hurry is one of the things you want to avoid. 

Last-minute moves are proven to cause much more relocation stress than moves that are planned for months in advance, which is quite understandable. If you plan everything in advance and handle everything on time, the chances that something will go wrong are much lower. Another important relocation hack is to pack a bag with relocation essentials – if you have your medicines, important documents, and valuables by your hand, chances that you’ll get nervous are also lower.

Bonus tip: Remember, successful relocation is a matter of trial and error. Nobody gets it all right the first time, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself.

Relaxation Techniques That Might Help in Reducing Irrational Fear in No Time

Don’t know what to do with extra bubble wrap that’s left from your move? One of the techniques for moving stress relief known for ages is popping those bubbles once you start getting too wound up, and it actually helps! Apart from this obvious relaxation technique, you should also try the following:

  • Meditate,
  • Practice yoga and breathing techniques,
  • Practice mindfulness,
  • Spend more time in nature,
  • Participate in regular physical activities,
  • Try having a regular sleeping schedule.

Check out this video about mindfulness meditation and give it a shot.

Consider Getting Professional Help

In case you’re experiencing severe anxiety about moving out and simply feel like none of this actually helps, there is no need to avoid talking to professionals. Spending some time in therapy will be more than helpful – these disorders are sometimes triggered by a stressful event such as relocation, but they are actually rooted in bigger issues that we need to overcome in order to have a healthy life and save our mental health. 

Talking to a professional will help you get a better perspective – they will guide you through some practices and ask you questions that will help you see the irrational fears in your thoughts. They will probably suggest that you create a journal or a diary for tracking your thoughts and emotions. They can also give you a prescription for meds if they think you need them in order to overcome this problem efficiently. It has been proven that for this group of disorders, therapy and medication combined give the best results when it comes to severe cases.

Use All the Support You Can Get to Prevent Anxiety About Moving Out

Now that you know everything about this disorder and some methods to fight it, you should also acknowledge that you don’t need to go through everything by yourself. By pressuring yourself too hard, you risk having your mental health affected in a negative way, so try finding all the support you can get. Apart from hiring professional cross-country movers for helpful moving services, you should also ask friends and family for assistance. Having a good support system is one of the best ways to be more resilient during stressful life situations.

Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

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