My clients didn’t have much time to mentally prepare themselves for this huge life change. They asked how could they reduce their stress while downsizing to move.
They were downsizing to move to the other side of the country. The decision to move came suddenly with little time between making the decision and actually making the move. Their new home required that they drastically reduce their belongings to the bare minimum. They asked for my support and guidance through the intensive process of letting go of so much in a short period of time.
Regardless of the circumstances, most people find moving to be quite stressful but when there’s also a need to downsize, the stress of that move is ten times worse.
When you don’t have much time to mentally process the need to move, let alone the need for a massive reduction in your personal belongings, it can be a shock to your system. Even when your looking forward to the new beginning it’s still a big deal. If you work with this change mindfully, you can drastically reduce the stress.
Decluttering without the pressure to downsize and move usually happens in stages. The time helps you process your emotions. When you assess your belongings and decide what to keep based on what is truly valuable to you, you grow in the process. You get better at making those difficult choices, and with practice, over time it gets easier.
Having a short deadline turns up the heat.
Instead of time between each decluttering session, my clients had to get cracking. They had to put in full days, each day until it was time to move. They also had to pack everything up and say goodbye to their community.
In addition to supporting them through the emotional process of moving and letting go, I guided my clients through the mundane details. This was a huge relief to them to have support, guidance, a step-by-step process and I helped them stay focussed. Because they didn’t live in my area we worked virtually.
How to reduce your stress when downsizing to move
Instead of looking for what to let go of, decide what you want to keep. Do this based on the things that have meaning for you. Consider the value of your belongings and let got of the things that don’t truly make you happy or that you find useful.
- Do I love this?
- Do I use this?
- Will I have room for this?
Let go with gratitude.
With each thing you’re letting go of, express your gratitude for whatever it was that this thing gave to you. A memory, a feeling, a function, whatever it is take that memory into your heart and appreciate it.
Create Space to Feel Your Emotions.
It’s natural that many different emotions will arise during the process of going through your belongings. You may feel grief over having to move in the first place and for all the things you have to let go of. Grief and letting go go hand in hand.
You may feel fear, “What if I regret letting this go?”. You may also feel scared about what is waiting for you at the other end of this move.
You’ll likely find yourself evaluating your past as you go through your stuff and anger or grief may arise about things in your past. The resistance to the emotions that arise while decluttering is what makes it so difficult. Allowing yourself to feel those feelings is a crucial step to reducing your stress and overwhelm. Feeling your emotions will help you move through them and resisting them will only keep them around.
Self care tips for downsizing to reduce your stress
- Be kind and gentle with yourself. This is a big thing that you are doing!
- Drink lots of water to help your body process that energy of letting go.
- Take time to pause, tune into your breath and emotions.
- Reward yourself at the end of the day with something nourishing. A healthy meal? A walk outside?
- Draw on your spiritual practice and friends for support. The pull to numb out as a way of relaxing maybe strong but doing something that sustains and supports you will give you extra strength and energy to begin again the next day.
A big move like this holds the potential to be a huge transformation and an opportunity for a new beginning. Good endings open the door for good beginnings. The more you open yourself up to the process of change and growth, the more open you’ll be to receive the good things to come in this next phase.
Lightening your load of belongings with intention will give you a burst of energy and you will feel as if a weight was lifted off of you. Many blessings for a successful move!