Tips To Tame Stress During A Move – With Dr. Amy Dobbie

Michelle Hawco
Published on November 13, 2018

Tips To Tame Stress During A Move – With Dr. Amy Dobbie

While the promise of almost all Realtors is that your move will be quick and easy, the reality is that for many people change is inherently stressful. 

For many families daily life is already quite full. Adding tasks such as preparing a house for sale, and new random evening and weekend commitments such as property showings to the mix can cause a fair amount of chaos. Add to that the burden of making huge financial decisions and thinking about transitioning their family to a new community or neighbourhood can leave even the most organized person feeling overextended.

Have you ever been through a move? Does the idea of moving and all it entails leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? It doesn’t have to! This article and accompanying video will help you to become mindful of early warning signs that your body will give you if are pushing it too hard, provide strategies to help you be proactive about your health and your move, and give you practical ideas to help you tone down the stress that buying or selling a home can sometimes cause!

The WOMB – World of My Baby’s Dr. Amy Dobbie, ND joined me for a recent Facebook LIVE to discuss How To Ease Stress While Moving

In this video we will:

*Share some practical strategies to help you buy or sell a home with a minimal amount of stress!

*Help you to become more aware of the early warning signs your body will give you if you are causing it too much stress.

*Give you strategies to be proactive rather than reactive about your health.

*Give you suggestions of ways you can help your body to recover if you’ve pushed it too far!

*Give you practical ideas to help you tone down the stress that buying or selling a home can sometimes cause!


Dr Amy Dobbie shared with me some subtle signs that your body might exhibit if it is stressed:

  • You feel like you are dragging through the day. 
  • You are exhausted by 2 pm.
  • You are tired but not getting a restful sleep. 
  • You might wake in the night thinking about your to-do list.
  • You are craving sugar carbs and caffeine.
  • You might feel irritable and be lacking patience. Small things might easily set you off.
  • You might feel anxious.

Pushing our body past the early warning signs of stress can lead to conditions like Adrenal Fatigue and Burnout, which should be avoided if we are to remain happy and healthy.  Stress can negatively impact our health, and quality of life. Being mindful during times of increased stress can have a huge positive impact. 

Here Are Our Top Tips For Taming Stress During A Move

Plan Ahead & Get Organized!  Occasionally moves are spontaneous, but the majority of the time your move can be planned well in advance. Having time to properly plan for a move and get organized will set the conditions for a smooth move with minimal stress. Remember, moving is a HUGE life event and it should be treated that way.

Understand the value of your existing home. Knowing what your current homes value is, prior to meeting with a mortgage professional will allow you to find out exactly what the budget for your future home is! Knowing your numbers in advance of beginning to shop for a home will save you A LOT of stress and possible disappointment. If you’re curious about the value of your home, you can request a free home value report here!

Understand the costs associated with moving. If you haven’t moved in a while or perhaps have never sold a house before, you might not be familiar with all of the expenses involved with purchasing and selling a property. It is always a good idea to involve a Realtor in your plan to move, well in advance of actually moving. They help people like you go through the process of buying and selling a home several times a year and can help you minimize any last minute surprises!

Compile a list of work to complete in your existing home.  Identifying opportunities to optimize the value of your current home is one of the many things that a Realtor can do to help.  In addition to helping you identify ways to make your home stand out, a Realtor can also help to connect you with professionals who can help you get the work done quickly and properly! Tending to the small details will help you to get the most money for your home! Compiling this list months in advance of your actual move will allow you to cross tasks off your list gradually while keeping your cool!

Hire Help! While it might be tempting to try to do as much work as you can to save money, the reality is that most of us already have pretty full schedules. If you don’t have extra time on your hands, it is a good idea to bring in a handy-man, landscaper, electrician, painter or plumber to take care of your repair list. It might cost you a bit of money, but the projects will be completed quickly and professionally while reducing your personal workload. There are expenses involved with moving, build it into your budget and move forward! 

Purge, Purge, Purge. ***cue simple living tangent**** If you have been fortunate enough to plan your move well in advance, you will have a chance to get extra organized. Moving is a chance for a new beginning. Out with the old and in with the new!

If you’ve been giving some thought to taming your clutter and embracing a simpler life, I would highly recommend reading Kondo Marie’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up! This book is available at the Milton Public Library in hard copy; in audiobook format through the library’s free access to the app Libby; and in ebook format through the library’s free access to the app Overdrive! Do you see what I did there <— <— <— I just recommended a way to read a book for FREE and PREVENT future clutter in your home! I am not suggesting that all of Kondo Marie’s tactics are practical for all families, but her philosophy about what we should keep and get rid of is more than sound in my opinion! If an item in your home does not “spark joy”, you should feel no obligation to hold onto it! Further, we should be very selective about what items we let into our homes, since we be in a relationship with this objects until we decide to get rid of them.

***LIFE HACK*** Whether or not you are moving, purging is a powerful life-changing action you can take to lower your day to day stress and increase your sense of happiness and well-being. I speak from experience, my family consists of three home-schooled children (10 and under), two cats and two hard-working entrepreneur parents! I totally understand that the struggle to stay organized and keep a house reasonably clean is REAL, and ongoing! Purging is not a one-time event but rather a lifestyle. My house is far from perfect and always seems to be a work in progress, but what I can tell you, is that we are always making progress and moving in the right direction. The less unnecessary clutter that exists, the easier it is to keep everyone organized. The fewer items that you have to take care of means more time to relax and enjoy free time. The more that you practice letting go of things, the better you will get at it and the easier it will feel! It is SO POWERFUL! 

Strategic Packing.  Pack in such a way that you will have immediate access to the bare bones basic things you will need to feel at home in your new space lickety-split! This can be achieved by packing in rounds.

Round 1 –  Eliminate items that you no longer need! Clean out your bathroom vanities, the garage and under the kitchen sink! Throw out all of the out-of-date or half used products that you’ve been holding onto. Here is a link to Halton Waste Management’s website so that you can get rid of potentially hazardous waste safely.  Be ruthless with this step and understand that the items have served you and your family well, but no longer have a job to do in your home. Help unused but still useful items find new purpose by donating them to a worthy charity such as:

The Salvation Army Thrift Store in Milton located at 420 Main Street E – There is also a Salvation Army drop off point at Halton Waste Management’s site located at 5400 Regional Road 25 in Milton.

The Halton Women’s Place (call ahead) – If they are not able to take the items at the time of your call, they might suggest that the items be placed into the box outside of building. Items placed in the box are redistributed to families in the community who might be in need!

The Milton Bible Church– Call ahead to see if any of the items that you are parking with could be useful to any of the families who attend their Food For Life program on Thursday’s at Noon.

Habitat For Humanity’s Re Store – Habitat for Humanity also picks up and will give you a tax receipt for the donated items. Call ahead for details. Habitat for Humanity is located at 25 Brown Street in Milton. 

Round 2 – Begin by packing up seasonal and other items that you know you aren’t going to need again for several months.  These items might include: seasonal decor, out of season clothing, memorabilia,  kitchen equipment that you don’t use on a regular basis, old books you won’t be reading again for a while, extra dishes and serving ware that you can live without temporarily, duplicates, clothing that you’re not using on a regular basis, extra shoes, your CD and DVD collection, your wedding dress, mismatched towels and bedding, …etc…etc…etc… 

Round 3 – Once your home has SOLD and you are packing the final boxes for moving day, be sure to label the boxes to include their contents and their destination in your new home. Pack a couple of kitchen boxes with all of the items you will need to make basic meals, so that you can get off of take-out and on to healthy meals as quickly as possible. Dr. Dobbie suggested preparing some freezer meals in advance to help you eat well even though you are in transition!

Round 4 – When it comes to children’s toys, less is more while you have your house on the market! You will find that it is much easier to keep the house tidy when your children have fewer items to scatter around it. I always suggest that parents pack up several totes with their children’s toys and craft supplies and move them into the garage. Bring a small tote of toys into the house each day for your child (children) to play with. At the end of the day pack the tote back up again and return it to the garage. The toy rotation is a game changer! This experience might even lead you to find that your children require fewer toys, and will give you a chance to see which toys they actually enjoy playing with. Children grow so quickly and their interests shift so identifying what is actually being played with is a useful exercise to go through a few times a year! Here is a great blog written by Joshua Becker which talks about Why Fewer Toys Will Benefit Your Kids. You might also find that when given only a small selection of toys to play with, your children will have a new appreciation of each one.  Once all of the toys are up off of the ground, vacuuming and cleaning become SO much simpler and efficient!

Bring on the robot….vacuum! Once you’ve purged, organized and removed unnecessary furniture from your home, all you need to do is keep it clean! Bringing in a cleaning crew on a weekly basis is a great way to fit in the much needed deep clean, but if your house is anything like mine, you might need to vacuum on more of a daily basis (or possibly multiple time a day =o). Robot vacuums have come a long way over the last several years! While my dream is to have a robot housekeeper (think Rosie from the Jetsons), the closest thing I have found is this dynamic duo from IRobot! You can pick up a Roomba Vacuum for as little as little as $299. This bad boy is pretty tough and does a great job cleaning up hard floors as well as carpet. More advanced models are programmable and can be programmed to run with an app on your phone!  The Braava Jet is great for mopping up hard floors including laminate, hardwood and ceramic tiles. Just set it to go and go about your day!

Have dinner with friends! Fast forward to when your house is listed and on the market! There is a good chance that you will have potential buyers book showings during the dinner time hours. If you know that you are going to be on a tight schedule and still intend to eat healthy home cooked meals, it sometimes makes sense to see if you can prep your dinners in someone else’s kitchen! Offer to bring over ingredients to make dinner at a friend or family members house. This is a great way to catch up with the special people in your life while filling time while prospective buyers tour your home. If this is not an option for your family, it is a good idea to come up with simple meals that you can prepare quickly and will require little cleanup! Think BBQ! This tip is especially helpful if you have small children and a tight schedule. Do you know a family who is currently selling their home? Invite them over to dinner! This simple act of friendship can really improve someone’s day and lower their stress level!

Schedule time for self-care. Dr. Amy Dobbie also suggests that we make sure to factor in time for self-care and make it a priority. Self-care can be as simple as taking time to prepare healthy meals for your family, going for a massage, fitting in your workout, practicing yoga or meditating. Self-care is anything that helps you recharge. Sometimes, self-care is saying no to extra tasks, events and responsibilities that you don’t currently have extra energy for.  We only have 24 hours each day, it’s ok to say “not right now” and take time to think before we agree to more!

We hope that all of these tips will contribute to you and your family having a smooth and low-stress move! Moving is a major life event and deserves to be treated like one!  Your family will be in transition and there is a lot to do. It might be necessary to pick a season to work on it, and during that time, make a conscious decision to pause as many unnecessary family activities as you can.

Is your family considering a move? I am here to help! You can message me here!

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