Home Lifestyle 5 Tips For Moving House When You Have A Chronic Illness

5 Tips For Moving House When You Have A Chronic Illness

by InvisiblyMe
A photo of a woman in her kitchen packing a water jug into a box. There are several boxes behind her of things packed up ready to move. Below is the post title: 5 tips for moving house when you have a chronic illness.

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. 

A photo of a room with a wooden floor and white walls. Everything is mostly packed into boxes, though we can see some loose plant pots, set of ladders, and dustpan and brush set.

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.

A black scroll divider.

If you’ve moved home with a chronic condition, how did you find it?

[ This is a collaborative post ]

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V.J. Knutson March 19, 2021 - 5:15 pm

We moved back in September. It does take extra organization when one has limited energy. Fortunately for us, our kids came once we were into the new house and settled us in.

Holly March 19, 2021 - 5:58 pm

Caz, this is a brilliant collaborative post that is guaranteed to help a lot of people. No doubt about it, most people way underestimate the amount of effort and energy it takes to move house! Whew, it is a very stressful and taxing experience, even if you are only moving short distances.

During my childhood, we moved very very often due to my father’s job. It can be an exciting time for fresh starts if the move is for good reasons. Yet it is overwhelming with all of the to-do list tasks that get easily forgotten.

That’s why I love the tips about being organized, breaking tasks down into smaller ones so that it’s easier to tackle. This is such helpful advice! It’s true, if the pace is too intense, the move will be a disaster for a whole lot of reasons! It’s already physically difficult but adding a severe flare-up of pain to the mix is a nasty combination. As you say, overdoing it and paying for it later is never worth it. Your advice to pace it, even when that’s frustrating to do, is very wise indeed.

Everything in this post is truth based on my own experiences with moving. The more well thought out, well-planned, and less hectic it is, the better. Moving is already stressful but we can certainly decrease or increase the stress load depending on how we handle it.

Sending lots of love to you. Thanks for another awesome post! ♥ I’ve shared and hope others will take your advice!

johnrieber March 19, 2021 - 6:23 pm

Very useful for anyone who needs this information!

Blogging_with_Bojana March 19, 2021 - 6:30 pm

Yes, and ask for help or don’t turn it down. Don’t pretend you’re a superman when you aren’t.

Sandee March 19, 2021 - 9:16 pm

All great points for those with chronic illnesses or not.

Have a fabulous day and weekend, Caz. Big hug. ♥

tidalscribe March 20, 2021 - 12:08 am

Start as early as possible sorting things out and packing what you don’t need – and label the boxes!

Cindj March 20, 2021 - 4:44 am

Great post! Not moving, but have started a very slow purge process. These tips go right alongside that. Minus the shipping :). I am relying on others for heavy lifting, and will be calling for donation pickups, etc. pacing and planning is so important! ❤️

Despite Pain March 20, 2021 - 9:28 am

Great post, Caz. Moving house is a massive, stressful task for most people, but once you add chronic illness or pain into the mix, it can be totally overwhelming.

I’ve moved a couple of times. Hubby is fit and up to the task, but I am far from it. But I didn’t want to leave everything to him. I paced myself pretty well, emptying cupboards in the weeks leading up to the move so that everything didn’t need to be done at once. On the day, we relied of friends and relatives to help and my job was making cups of tea and supplying chocolate biscuits while they did the heavy work. (That’s an important job)

Michelle March 20, 2021 - 4:45 pm

Great tips! And I think most of these could work for anyone, too. Being organized is so helpful! When my parent’s moved a couple of years ago, my mom started packing and being somewhat organized. But by the end she was just throwing stuff in boxes. Now she still has boxes in her basement that have yet to be opened and put away! 🙂

The Oceanside Animals March 20, 2021 - 5:41 pm

Charlee: “None of us has ever moved, but before we were here, Mama and Dada moved like seven times, almost once a year, until they finally moved from New York to California. Then they still moved once more.”
Chaplin: “We sure hope they’re done with the moving thing. It seems very stressful!”
Lulu: “How would it be stressful for you two? You wouldn’t have to do any work. You would just get put in a carrier and when you got out you would be in a new place.”
Charlee: “Ahhh, not the carrier!”
Chaplin: “And then the new place would smell funny!”
Lulu: “But where’s your sense of adventure?”
Charlee: “We satisfy that by climbing to the top of our cat tree, thank you very much.”

James Viscosi March 20, 2021 - 5:56 pm

Don’t worry, Charlee & Chaplin. If we do make you move, you’ll probably get happy pills for the trip.

Marilyn March 21, 2021 - 8:39 am

Hi Caz,
Great post and so clearly set out.
I moved many years ago, before I’d been diagnosed, and so did not take all your points into account. I’m naturally organised and so planned and labelled – but the health factor? Did not give it a thought. Not long after arriving at the new place I was sick (no details here!) and had to escape to the recently unpacked, unmade bed. Not a great start.
I was much better prepared the second time and paced myself – much as you have suggested here.
Maz x

Masha March 21, 2021 - 1:43 pm

Great post Caz and I think that these are very good ideas for everyone preparing to move, I think asking for help is probably the big one, I know for me that’s an issue because I think I don’t want to bother anyone. Thank you xoxo

adornmychroniclife March 22, 2021 - 11:07 pm

I have to move in a few months, definitely will keep this in mind.

InvisiblyMe March 31, 2021 - 2:29 pm

Good luck with the move! Take things slowly if you can, which is easier said than done. Hope it all goes smoothly ????

Rosie March 23, 2021 - 8:27 am

Great tips, Caz, especially around pacing yourself ahead of a move. I’ve moved a couple of times recently, and find drawing up a timetable a month or so ahead of moving helps me keep on top of what needs doing when and keeps things manageable. With rentals, there always seems to be a never-ending stream of cleaning to make sure you get your deposit back! I’d recommend looking into local delivery firms, which tend to be much more reasonably priced than the national chains. Also handy to have a box of essentials – kettle, tea bags, snacks, medication, etc. so you can lay your hands on the most important things easily when you get to the other end, rather than having to rifle through all the boxes ????

mistermuse March 27, 2021 - 12:58 am

Excellent suggestions. Fortunately, my incurably ill youngest daughter (who lives with us) owns nothing but her clothes and personal effects, and thus won’t have to face getting rid of a lot of stuff when and if she must go into an assisted living facility. She has enough stress in her life as it is!

InvisiblyMe March 31, 2021 - 2:32 pm

I am truly so sorry about your daughter. In practical terms, I can see it being easier without as much to move when you live with parents (as I do), and no hassle of selling your property to move to another, but emotionally I can imagine a move to assisted living being difficult for you all. I’m glad she has a loving home with you guys ????

Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet April 17, 2021 - 4:49 pm

Caz, your advice is something that may help many people. We moved a year ago and used many of the strategies you suggest. We are too old and unfit for this, and were still exhausted. We have vowed never to move again. Those may be famous last words! <3 Take care!

terrepruitt September 14, 2021 - 11:54 pm

I am sure moving is made much more difficult when you have an illness you have to consider, but really these tips are good for anyone. Thank you for sharing!


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