When I look back to the most stressful times in my life, I can sort them all into three categories: exams, personal crises and moves. It sounds trivial, but one of the things I dread most is having to pack my life into boxes and cart them to a new – and possibly unknown – destination. Don’t get me wrong: It’s not the new beginning I fear (I’m actually a big fan of fresh starts), but the organizational nightmare that comes with it. It makes me sweat even thinking about it.
Living with MS, you learn to identify these kinds of stressors and try to stay as far away from them as possible. Even still, there comes a day in your life when you can’t avoid them. Sometimes you have to take exams (although I hope that I’m long past that stage now), sometimes you have to weather a difficult time in your life, and sometimes you have to – for whatever reason – move house.
I recently did exactly that. And to make it more fun, I didn’t just move within the same town – I moved to a whole new city. As I had to relocate two cats for the first time, the amount of things I needed to organize ahead of the actual move was bigger than ever before. There were lots inanimate objects that I needed to take with me, too. Having lived in my old flat for almost ten years, I found myself the owner of a couch, a big TV, shelves, armchairs, and lots of books – not just a bed and a table. I had also amassed loads and loads of things I needed to get rid of: old electronics, paint, clothes, furniture, books, CDs, and old documents. As I needed to organize my move on top of a busy freelance schedule, I knew I was in for a lot of fun.
Thankfully, I found that there were ways to alleviate the stress. And as we all know avoiding stress is always a good idea when battling MS! So while my memory is still fresh, here are three things I found helpful during my move:
1. Hiring a removal company
I know this may not be something everyone can afford, but if you’ve got the money, it’s worth thinking about, especially if you’re moving between cities. My moving company also disassembled my furniture and put it back together in my new place, which made setting up shop in my new home so much easier. If you’re not sure who to hire, ask around. Someone will know a company they can recommend, so you’ll know what you’re signing up for.
2. Asking friends for help
The greatest thing during my move was without doubt the work my family and friends put in to make it happen. My sister came over for two weekends to help with the packing and assisted me in moving the cats to our new home. Friends of mine drove me to a local recycling site so I could get rid of all my clutter. And my wonderful partner was there when I had to take down lamps and blinds, whenever the move was getting too much (because it did at times – but that’s ok!) and for all the rest of it. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for all the help I received!
3. Taking a break
Yes, even during a move you’re allowed breaks, and as impossible as it sometimes seems, it’s wise to take them. Not just during the move, but afterwards as well. I kept the rest of the week after the big day as free as I could and I didn’t fill my first weekend in my new home up to the brim with activities, either. I took a breath. And trust me, I needed it.
Keeping these simple things in mind helped me get through my move relatively unscathed. Yes, my sleep pattern was out of whack for a while due to the stress, but I’m happy to say I even managed to avoid the much-dreaded flare-up afterwards. I don’t know what the future will bring, of course, but for now I’m enjoying my new flat and how my cats constantly find new ways to wreak havoc in it. Soon, my boyfriend will move here as well, and we’ll all be a big happy family again. Looking forward to that almost makes me forget the exhaustion of my move. But just to be safe, I’ll try not to move town again for another ten years, at least.