Moving house can be stressful at the best of times, but it may present more challenges when you have no support system or when you’re living with chronic illness, disability or chronic pain. There are so many practical elements to moving that it can take a considerable toll physically, as well as exhaust and stress us mentally. This collaborative post looks at five small suggestions for making moving home a little more manageable with a chronic illness in tow.
Moving House With Chronic Illness
Dealing with a chronic illness can be challenging at any time but the stress of major life events can often cause your symptoms to flare up and the things you need to do seem unattainable. However, there are ways to minimise stress and simplify your life, which can help to manage your symptoms. When it comes to moving house, it’s a physically demanding event from start to finish, but things really ramp up once you’ve found your new property and need to pack up and actually move.
For inspiration, take a look at these top tips for moving when you have a chronic illness:
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead is always good advice when you’re preparing for a house move. If your chronic illness can lead to excessive tiredness or fatigue, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got enough time to undertake tasks and rest, rather than trying to do too much at once. By giving yourself extra time and planning ahead, you can avoid unnecessary stress and do things in small batches instead.
It also pays to sketch out the things you need to do early on so you can delegate where possible and get the ball rolling so that you don’t have too many things left until the last minute. If something goes haywire, like boxes you wanted to collect for packing are no longer available or the removal guy doesn’t have space for the day you want to move, it won’t be a rush at the last minute to sort everything out. It can be worth doing some brief planning for different eventualities because as much as we want a house move to go smoothly, we know that doesn’t always happen.
2. Arrange Shipping
In the movies, when someone moves they often have a robust partner who can carry a sofa over their head, willing but annoying family members ready to assist and more friends than you can shake a stick at. In the real world, our circles can be smaller or even non-existent. Don’t underestimate the effort required to move home, mentally or physically.
In terms of the latter, there’s much to be done and usually a fair bit of heavy lifting, too. If you’re dealing with disability, illness or pain, these things just aren’t always possible, certainly not by ourselves. Instead of trying to move things yourself, it’s worth calling in professional removal firms and established shipping companies. For larger items like furniture, appliances, or even bicycles and motorbikes, a dedicated shipping service can get your items from A to B with minimal hassle. Not only will this minimise the amount of work you need to undertake, but it will also give you peace of mind and simplify your move.
3. Take Your Illness, Disability And/Or Pain Into Account
No-one knows how your symptoms affect you better than you, so use this knowledge to give you an advantage. It can be tempting to try and ignore chronic pain and illness, to push through them because you’re so determined to see the move through, but this often leads to flare-ups and worsening of symptoms. Having a condition or disability doesn’t stop you from living your life, but it might stop or slow you down when it comes to some of the hands-on tasks when moving. However, by recognising the impact your illness has on you and factoring it into your moving plans, you can ensure that you’re able to move into your new home without it having a significant negative impact on your well-being.
This means prioritising your needs and doing what you need to do to ensure you can cope with the move. It means being realistic about what you’re capable of and willing to do. It means asking for help if/when you need it, and planning around your needs.
4. Be Organised & Pace Your Productivity
It may not come as a surprise that many people consider moving house to be one of the most stressful events in their lives, above the likes of having children, getting married, getting divorced or starting a new job. Many people find the moving process stressful in part because they drop the ball when it comes to organisation, and it can becoming an increasing bundle of stress as things pile up and time ticks down, not to mention worries over buyer/seller chains for those purchasing properties or finances for those taking out mortgages.
Having a clear itinerary, a schedule of tasks and a detailed ‘moving calendar’ will help to ensure that everything’s on track. This is something that doesn’t require a lot of physical effort, which means it could be a great way for someone with a chronic illness to take back a little control and be involved in planning their move.
Pacing is important for many people with chronic illness and/or pain. Building in small, regular breaks throughout the day is important to recuperate a little, take a breather and manage the demands you’re facing mentally and physically. Trying to keep pushing through fatigue and pain might work in the short term but it could leave you out of action for the days following as you go through the payback. It can be very frustrating to pace when you want or need to do a lot and you’re under time pressure, but pacing even a little will get you through it all with the least amount of damage and strain possible.
When dealing with a home move, there’s a lot to do and it’s easy to find the to-do list growing exponentially. Getting organised, setting out small and achievable goals, and writing lists or reminders can all help to keep you focused. It also enables you to better work in rest breaks whenever you need them, both scheduled and spontaneous ones. While routine can be beneficial, sometimes we need flexibility because chronic illness doesn’t abide by any schedule and flares can happen at the most inconvenient of times!
5. Ask Friends & Family For Help If You Have Them
No-one can easily move house alone and, if you have a chronic illness or other disability, you might need more practical help. By asking friends and family to assist with packing or moving boxes, you can access the help you need. What’s more – when you’re settled into your new home, you’ll be able to thank them for their help with a fun house warming party or mini get-together… when the Covid pandemic is no longer an issue, of course!
As mentioned earlier, sadly not everyone has family or friends they can call on for help. If you do, that’s great – use that support system and don’t struggle alone if you don’t have to. If you don’t, don’t panic yet. Professionals should be able to assist with physical moving, neighbours may surprise you and be willing to lend a hand, or your local council or community services may be able to provide support in some way.
Navigating Life Events With A Chronic Illness
There’s no doubt that dealing with chronic illness, disability or chronic pain can make day-to-day tasks more challenging. Hopefully the more you understand your illness and you needs, the easier it will be to accommodate them. It might take some extreme thinking-outside-the-box, but by doing so you’ll find the most effective way to plan major life events so that they enhance your quality of life, rather than diminish it.
If you’ve moved home with a chronic condition, how did you find it?
[ This is a collaborative post ]