We toss and turn, not just in our sleep but in our waking day. Our emotions may stay deep inside and at other times rise to the surface. Entertaining the thought of moving from your long-time home can make for some sleepless nights and thought-filled days. Whenever we are confronted with change our minds and bodies draw on our survival instincts. Our fight or flight survival response kicks in; and our brain takes over, sending chemical messengers which results in a rise in blood pressure, blood sugar and suppression of the immune system. The process results in a short-lived boost of energy and much anxiety.
My point in this lesson in biology is to remind you that staying in this state of mind for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your health! Waking up each morning to an uneasy feeling of uncertainty and confusion is not the way to start your day. So, let’s discuss what led to your state of mind and how to turn those negative feelings into positive thoughts in order to begin each day feeling more energy with calming sleep at night.
For those of you who have lived in your home for 20 years or more, you may have noticed that your yard is getting larger and harder to keep up, and the stairs may seem a bit more difficult to navigate. Your long-time neighbors may have moved away. Much of the space in your home has been transformed into storage lockers as you’ve collected ‘treasures’ from your relatives as well as keepsakes from your life’s experiences. There may have been a minor or major accident such as a fall. Winter has kept you somewhat isolated and your inner being thirsts for contact with others. If any of these thoughts or experiences resonate with you, you may be experiencing those uneasy feelings that I referenced earlier.
We look at the news which focuses on the negative aspects of our world and can distort our reality. We experience trauma with our friends and family, and that adds to our daily dose of anxiety. Life is difficult and full of unexpected twists and turns. Fear and uncertainty are understandable and expected as we humans navigate our complex lives. The thought of moving from your long-time home can seem impossible amidst the chaos of daily living.
You have a choice. You can ignore the warning signs that have kept you up at night or you can face them head on and acknowledge those feelings deep inside. You can change who you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind. We have a choice each day as to how we view the world around us. This sounds patronizing and shallow because we consciously know that altering our focus from negative to positive is difficult and takes a great deal of effort and help.
I’ve worked with hundreds of families and have observed behaviors which led to a successful healthy move from their long-time homes. Conversely, I took note of damaging thoughts and ideas that led to a less than optimum outcome. There were commonalities amongst those who experienced joy as well as those that found the process of moving difficult and unpleasant.
So, let’s explore first the damaging patterns that led to anger, upset, fear and anxiety while moving from their long-time home to a condo or senior apartment/community. Waiting too long to make the decision to downsize and finding new housing led to moving in panic and/or while experiencing health issues that were not present when first considering the move.
Decisions had to be made quickly and, in most cases, involving family and friends to help with them. Instead of enjoying independent living in a new apartment or condo, the move was made to rehab or in haste. This led to others controlling their future living situation which caused anger, resentment and depression. The thought came to mind, “why didn’t I do this sooner when I could have decided where I would live and when I would move!”
Downsizing a home of many years led a feeling of being paralyzed and overwhelmed. “I’ll start to take a few things to Goodwill each day.” Downsizing in this manner, removing a few things at a time can last 5 years! By that time health and finances have changed and panic moves set in. “I can do this myself” is not the way to go. There are so many services ready to help and with prices back to historical highs the cost to hire companies to downsize is a fraction of the proceeds.
The third pattern I found in unsuccessful transition to new housing was the lack of research and planning. We have a financial plan, an insurance plan, but how many of us have a housing plan? We leave one of the most important aspects of our lives…where we live, to chance. Those who have not attended moving seminars, read articles and visited condos and senior apartments and communities have felt confused and unsure of where to go and what to do. Gathering information is the best antidote to anxiety and fear.
Now let’s see what the common aspects are of those who have moved successfully and happily. First is attitude. Be realistic about your current living situation. Are you using all the rooms in your home? Can you maintain the house as you would like to? Are the stairs a bit harder to navigate? Have many of your neighbors moved and you are feeling somewhat isolated? Be honest when you answer these questions. Those who have honestly answered those questions realized that life could be so much better in a home that meets who you are today…not the person you were when you purchased your home 30 years ago. They made peace with the fact that they have changed and so will their new home. Understanding who you are and where you are will lead to the next step, which is visiting the type of housing that meets the person you are today. You will find that there are so many choices that were not available to your parents.
Getting excited about finding that new lifestyle makes the move from the home you have loved, so much easier. Having one foot in your home and the other unknown puts you in a state of limbo…the worst place to be. These successful travelers did their homework, found their new home and then took positive action knowing their new lifestyle would be exciting and positive. They hired a company to pack and downsize their belongings and let their Seniors Real Estate Specialist design a game plan to coincide with the move date. They took advice from their agent as to repairs necessary to get their home ready for sale and priced it to be competitive in the real estate market.
In the end, it is up to you and no one else. You decide how you want to design the remaining years of your life. If you kick the ball down the road and wait for a sign to help make your decision, crisis management may be in your future.
Take charge and listen to your inner knowing. Discuss the possibility of a move with your loved ones and visit the communities you may consider. Meet with your accountant or financial planner or trusted advisors and know what you truly can afford. Once information is gathered, and you visit with a downsizing company as well as your Seniors Real Estate Specialist, your fear can turn into excitement. Your anxiety will lessen with each piece of the puzzle connected to the mosaic of your future.
Remember that life is what you make of it. Following the path of those who have enjoyed their moves is the better way to go if a change is needed. Take the advice of professionals, friends and family who can help with your feelings and thoughts of moving. Again, only you can change who you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind…(Zig Ziglar)