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Stress Symptoms and Moving

My outdated (but efficient) preferred method of dealing with stressful situations

As you may know, moving home is considered one of the most stressful things in life; right up there with death and divorce. In this article I hope to pass on my wisdom concerning the art of moving home. In actual fact, if you bother to research it at all, you will discover that moving rates about 20 points, with death of a spouse being the worst event and worth 100 points (though given the high incidence of marital homicides one wonders how accurate this scale is!)

If moving home really were as stressful as the death of a loved one, then I suppose I would either be in a metal home, or I must be one of the most callous bastards alive, because as it happens, I have moved home 45 times in my 41 years of life.

Here are some good tips on how you can move multiple times and not become a homicidal maniac:

One of the easiest ways to ensure you move easily and efficiently is to have as little stuff as possible in the first place. My minimalist streak seems to be gradually increasing the older I get. I am seriously contemplating finally getting a kindle. Not because I like the damned things, in fact I do not, I consider them mildly sacrilegious, but they would have the added benefit of reducing the ton or two of books I always seem to accumulate in a very short time. I have literally left behind boxes and boxes of books every time I moved. Without a doubt, books have been my biggest problem whenever it came to moving.

So tip number 1: Let new technology minimise the amount of books you have to have with you.

Tip number 2: Get a sense of style. Being as I lean heavily towards the caveman style here, I also tend to accumulate lots of old clothes, which because I do not often go and get myself clothes, tend to live on longer than necessary.

Women of course are biologically incapable of using tip number 2 (Redhead Girl for example has more shoes than a small shoe-shop), but men, who understand that clothes are really just to protect us from the weather, can usually make do with a few pairs of trousers and some tops. Sadly I also have a jacket fetish, a wardrobe full of different jackets in fact. Apart from this, you should be able to reduce your clothing to what you actually use regularly. I have as a result, given away several formal suits I have worn only once or so.

Tip number 3: Pack everything in boxes a day or two prior to moving, not a week before. This will make it more likely you throw away at least some of the useless crap we all invariably accumulate.

Tip number 4: Use large bags to move fragile stuff. If you are moving directly from one place to another as opposed to putting things in storage, you can use large heavy duty bags (similar to IKEA bags) to stuff them full of things like the 349 bottles of mysterious fluid that women seem to require in the shower/bathroom area (I have my books, she has her shoes and weird bottles of stuff).

Tip number 5: This may be the most important of all: Make it fun! Moving can be a serious pain in the butt, but nothing makes it worse than a stressed out killjoy who doesn’t take things in a positive way.

As you age, I believe you go one of two-ways. Either you turn into a hypochondriac, whiny, pain in the ass, rigidly stuck in all of his ways, or you turn into a relatively easygoing, can-do kind of guy. This however, is a trick of the light, so to speak.

In reality, the only difference between these two versions of yourself as an old man is only the ability to have organised yourself internally so that your external world only requires the minimum possible effort to meet your increasingly exacting standards.

Getting a kindle ruins my idea of the whole reading experience from one point of view (internal), but would certainly allow for my life (external) to be a lot simpler. It these types of adjustments that one can make over the years that determine how flexible you remain in advanced old age.

Moving is a good indicator of how flexible you are. I am happy to report that if I am right about this, then Mr. Fantastic has nothing on me.

I also took one of those online tests (based on the science behind stress indicators), noting all the changes I have had in the last 12 months. According to them, I am at extremely high risk of getting ill or possibly losing my mind (scoring somewhere over 300). In reality, either I have already lost it and just didn’t notice it, or I still have quite a bit in reserve. As I rush about to try and get several aspects of my life in order, I am reminded that it is indeed true that you can train your nervous system to handle a lot more than most people think is possible, which leads me to the final tip.

Tip number 6: Be in the moment. Some call this mindfulness, the act of paying attention only to what you are doing in the moment. So if you are cleaning a cup, focus on doing a good job of it and just thinking about the cup and getting it clean. The worst possible thing for your nerves is to be doing one activity but really be worrying or thinking about another activity we still have to do in the future.

And that’s about it. I sure do wish they would make Traveller like spaceships though. Then I could just move with my home instead of moving homes!

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