Moving with Mindfulness; 4 Top Tips
As the director of Expat Counseling and Coaching Services, at this time of year, I talk with folks a lot about moving, as that’s what’s on the mind of many expats. And throughout the year, I talk a lot about mindfulness, as I believe that’s a great way to relieve stress.
Much of the stress around moving is really caused by runaway thoughts in our minds that we can’t stop. We worry about what to take with us and what to discard, about what schools our kids will go to, will records arrive on time, how will our pet survive an international flight, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes these thoughts seem so pervasive that they keep us up at night.
So I’ve come up with some tips that I believe will at least take some on the stress out of moving, and allow you to enjoy the time you have left in your host country.
Tip # 1: Breathing mindfully; Take 10 Breaths
This is a wonderful tool, and is absolutely portable as our breath is something we always have with us. I’ll describe how it works:
First, put both hands on your belly, just below your bellybutton. Close your eyes and sit comfortably. Now breathing normally, as you breath in, feel your belly expand, and as you exhale it contracts. Do this for a few breaths.
Next, put a count with each complete breath, so it’s one, inhale, belly expands, exhale, belly contracts, and continue till you get to ten.
If you find your mind wandering off in thought, just gently bring it back to your breath and your belly and the count. Everybody’s mind wanders; it’s how many times you can bring it back to the breath that matters.
If you’re feeling ambitious, practice this for 10 minutes in the morning between now and when you’re settled in your new home. It will really make a difference! And if you like how you feel, no need to discontinue it once you’ve moved.
Tip #2: Do one moving-related activity with mindfulness each day.
By this I mean, to give the moving related activity your complete, undivided attention while you’re doing it. So if you’re sorting clothes to give away or bring with you, do this with your full attention. If you notice your mind wandering, just as in the breathing exercise, bring your awareness back to the task at hand. Allow yourself to feel each article of clothing, notice the different piles, and be attentive to what’s in front of you. If you find yourself thinking about what happened the last time you wore an article of clothing, again bring your mind back to what you’re doing.
Tip # 3: Make lists mindfully
Making lists is a great practice when you’re moving as there are so many details that need to be taken care of. By making lists mindfully, I mean to realistically assess how much time it will actually take to do each item, and how many you can complete during a day.
Most of us tend to overestimate the amount we can get done and under estimate the time it takes to complete a task. So I would suggest making a list in your usual way, then cutting it in half. That will be about what you can reasonably accomplish during a day.
Tip # 4: Say goodbye mindfully
By this I mean to actually take time to say goodbye to people that have meant something to you while you’ve been abroad. No slipping out of Dodge!
And you can help your kids with this as well. If they’re feeling sad to leave their friends, normalize their feelings by telling them that everyone feels sad when they leave their friends, including you.
And let them know that their ability to form these friendships is something that’s inside of them, and they will take this with them to their new home and school, which will help them make friends there.
The same holds true for you mom and dad!
If you’d like to read more about mindfulness, please visit my website,
www.expatcounselingandcoaching.com and download my free eBook, Top 10 Tips for Daily Mindfulness.
Enjoy your move!