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Facing An Upcoming Move?

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Facing An Upcoming Move?

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Facing An Upcoming Move? | Soultenders

Facing An Upcoming Move?

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Facing An Upcoming Move? | Soultenders

Moving can spark many emotions. It is a major life transition that can uproot our sense of safety, comfort, community, and belonging. The circumstances that cause a move certainly affect the impact that it has on our lives and our ability to adjust to a new reality. 

For children, moving can be scary and confusing. Each aspect of the move can present challenges. A new environment, landscape, weather, home style; a child may face a loss of friends, sense of security, and comforts. A new home could mean sharing a room with a sibling, sharing a home with other family members, or having one’s own room. A new neighborhood and school bring significant social changes and new rules and expectations. A child’s stage of development is also an important consideration. Young children may not have the verbal or emotional skills to articulate what they are feeling. Changes in behavior and mood can be helpful insight into what a child might be feeling and needing. Older children and teens thrive on social interactions and opportunities to practice independence. Unfamiliar peers, clubs, sports teams can make both of those needs seem out of reach. 

For adults, a move can create layers of stressors. Adults face the logistical tasks of a move; financial planning, sorting, packing, moving, finding a place to live, looking into schools, adjusting to a new job, trying to make new friends, and trying to find a sense of belonging in the community. Adults with children are tasked with modeling how to make such an adjustment. The circumstances that prompt a move might present as an exciting new opportunity or as a decision that was forced upon them. 

For older adults, a move often marks acknowledgment of a decline in health, the death of a partner, or a call for simplification in living arrangements. Any one of these reasons can lead to feelings of grief and loss; grieving the life that they had built, grieving the loss of comforts, losing independence, and limited access to social supports. Whether a move is elective, recommended, or the only option, it can be difficult to face. Shifting from a life of autonomy to one where additional support and/or care is needed asks older adults to also accept that they are entering a phase that is closer to end of life. Awareness of this direction can be emotional and for some lead to depressive and anxious symptoms. Maintaining physical health through medication, exercise, diet, and medical appointments is very important and can dominate much of this phase. Emotional health is also critical to an older adult’s well-being. Moving can be emotional and is deserving of time to prepare and process. 

There are distinct phases to a move: planning, saying goodbye, the physical process of moving, and adjusting to the new environment. Since planning and the physical process of moving involve logistical steps, they are often more talked about. Saying goodbye is difficult. And because saying goodbye may be painful or not be a choice, it might be commonly avoided or overlooked. Relationships with neighbors, friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, coworkers, pets, and familiar community members each deserve consideration. It’s important to have conversations about how to end relationship chapters or discuss ways to maintain relationships through distance. 

As each family member tries to adjust to a new environment, there might be parts of the adjusting that are emphasized and some that are missed all together. Parents and kids might be experiencing different kinds of being overwhelmed. When we struggle, when we’ve reached our max; this tends to be when we gain insight into where we could use some help. 

Therapy can support the transition of moving in different ways. Depending on the timeline of a move, therapy could be beneficial in preparing for the transition and in saying goodbye. An important consideration here is starting therapy too close to a move. Many therapists are only licensed to work in the state that they reside. There are therapists who are licensed in multiple states and even some that can work internationally. If you’re seeking therapy before a move, this is a noteworthy consideration. If therapy is something that you’re exploring after a move, this can really support having conversations about issues like losing one’s support system, sense of purpose, identity, loneliness, anger, and so much more for both adults and children alike.

Moving isn’t easy, but a therapist is there to help you and your loved ones adjust to your new environment and situation.

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Lauren Pena
LMFT
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