Should You Move After the Loss of a Spouse? Here’s What You Need to Know
Article by: Lucille Rosetti
The urge to pull up stakes and find new stomping grounds is common among people who have lost a spouse or other loved one. But is it wise to move after the impact of such a traumatic life event? For some people, the answer is “yes.” Relocating can provide a number of powerful psychological benefits, as long as the move is well-planned and thought out. Consider these factors when making this all-important decision.
When to Stay Put
While fresh surroundings can indeed offer a new lease on life for many, it’s nevertheless important to avoid making major decisions immediately after your loss, according to experts at the University of Minnesota. This is true for the following reasons:
- Grief brings with it a number of conflicting emotions. The emotional war going on inside the mourner makes rational decisions extremely difficult, at least until the shock of the loss fades away.
- Decision-making, by its very nature, is mentally draining. There is no worst time to make big choices than when your mental energies are at a low ebb.
- The emotional vulnerability that follows a loss can hinder your ability to look out for your own interests. Selling your home and moving can become problematic if you act in haste.
For these reasons, we recommend taking time to think things out thoroughly before deciding what you should do. If, in the end, you choose to relocate, then here are some tips to help you in the process:
- Sorting through your belongings and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is taxing during even the best of times. For this reason, you should consider hiring a professional packing and moving service. A third-party can provide much needed objectivity while sparing you the physical and emotional turmoil of going through your possessions. Moving companies vary in terms of costs and services offered, so we recommend checking with several businesses before settling on one.
- If you prefer to do the packing and moving yourself, then enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help you with the process. If you find yourself unable to bear the idea of throwing away your loved one’s items, then consider keeping a handful of them and donating the rest to a worthy cause. This is a great way to honor the person’s memory while sparing yourself from needless agonizing.
- Remember that some items require special care to avoid damaging them. One example is framed artwork, as pointed out by The Spruce. On the other hand, some products, like canned food, are best given away unless your new home is very close to your old one. Likewise, appliances are often too large or awkward to fit easily in a new location. You’ll find ready buyers for items like stoves and refrigerators by checking Craigslist and similar websites.
Coping with the Emotions of Moving
Relocating is stressful even during the happiest of times. Here’s how to minimize the stress of the experience:
- Start as far in advance of moving day as possible. This will spare you from the hassles of last minute preparations.
- Save the items you use the most to pack last. For example, do you have a favorite reading chair? Wait until moving day to get it ready for your new home.
- Take time to say goodbye to friends, relatives and neighbors. This will help you to have a sense of closure as you move on.
Only you can decide if moving is right for you. Take time to make an informed decision and avoid any pitfalls that may come your way.