Fibromyalgia and Moving

Moving is stressful for everyone, even the most healthy person can have a total meltdown when it comes to moving. Heck, healthy people get hurt moving, and end up with the kind of back pain that we experience on a regular basis. Breaking the move down and tackling it one bit at a time will make it less stressful, less worrisome, and less of a pain on your body and mind.

The first step is the packing. When you know that you are going to be moving, start packing immediately! Get your hands on as many boxes as you can, and make them small! One of the best things that you can do for yourself is pack small. Getting small boxes may mean more boxes, and more packing, but packing smaller boxes means lighter loads to carry, and if you live alone and have to move your boxes around by yourself before or after the move, you will thank yourself for the lessened stress on your body. Even if you don’t live alone, the people helping you move will thank you because they will have less wear and tear on their bodies. If they happen to be in better shape than you are, let them double up on the boxes. You pack with yourself in mind for your limitations.

Block off packing time and stretching time. With the smaller boxes, it’s easier to pack a few- two or three- and take a break and stretch, so that you don’t overdo it, too. Another tip to keep in mind is to stack the boxes where you won’t need to move them more than once if you can manage it. When my husband and I moved from Dallas to Tampa, we cleaned out our spare bedroom, packed it first, and then stacked our boxes there, so that we didn’t have to move them around once we were done packing them. If you have a room you can use that way, do it. If you don’t, try to stack them in a lesser-used corner. Perhaps move an end table, or put them in a corner of the kitchen. Search for a place where you aren’t going to be tripping over them, but where, perhaps, they’ll come in handy as a sort of ‘extra’ table space.

Start packing earlier than you think you need to, too. Go through and get rid of things, too. As you’re packing, make a pile of things to go to Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, or that friend you haven’t visited in months. Make sure to label boxes clearly and on more than one side! You know Murphy’s law- if you label the box on only one side, it’ll be the side you can’t get to. Take breaks and visit people- have them come to you if you are too sore or tired to go see them, and don’t be ashamed because you have boxes everywhere. You’re moving! Put aside your pride, and let people see your house as less than perfect. They’ll be glad for the chance to see you, and everyone understands moving.

Okay, you’ve packed, and now it is moving day. If you can afford it, and it’s a local move, hire people. Here, locally, we have a company called “Two Men and a Truck,” and they are supposed to be stellar. I have decided our next move, we are so hiring them. If you can afford it for a cross country move- knowing it’s going to be much more expensive, hire people! You will want to do a lot more research, naturally, but there are always resources. (Better Business Bureau! You can’t go wrong there.) Say it’s a cross country move, though, and you can’t afford movers. There are always options. If you’re fortunate enough to have a large friend network, offer your friends food and booze, and you can usually get them to help you. Lucky enough to live in a college town and class is in? Put up a flyer offering food and a few bucks to students who will come help. About 80% of the time you’ll get a decent response. And if you give them $20 or so each and order some pizzas, you might be out some money, but it’ll be less wear and tear on you, and they’ll appreciate the “easy” food and money.

Another thing that you can do to make things easier on yourself is plan to stay the night somewhere after you’ve packed your house up. Whether it’s with a friend or at a hotel, being able to rest and sleep after all that packing and work, even if it’s not in your own bed, can make a lot of difference. Plus, you still have to clean the place you’re moving out of- and that can be a huge job in and of itself!

My advice on that is to rest first if you are the one doing the moving. If you’re able to hire movers, then sure- do the cleaning and make the place spic and span after the movers have all the stuff out of it. But if you’ve had a day of packing, walking, lifting, and bending- get some rest! There is no need to add to your pain and stress levels by trying to fit it all into one day. Add the extra day to your time frame ahead of time, and then you won’t have to stress about it when it arrives.

So, you’ve got your cleaning day- don’t forget the top of the refrigerator! Once you have the place spic and span, get in your truck or car and head on over to your new place. If it’s a cross-country move, make sure you’ve given yourself plenty of time to drive. Unless you’re sharing drive time with another person, I wouldn’t recommend more than 8 hours behind the wheel (and that with at least 2 breaks to stretch for about 5 minutes at a time). Driving can be exhausting, and with the limitations of fibromyalgia, you don’t want to push yourself into a flare. Be gentle with your body!

Now once you’re at your new place you have the fun of unpacking!

Again- block out time. Don’t try to unpack it all at once. Here, the clear labels will help you. As you unload- or as your movers unload- deposit the boxes in the places they belong. So, a box labeled “kitchen stuff” or “dishes” needs to go into the kitchen. A box labeled “bedroom” goes there, etc. That will make your unpacking far easier than the packing was, most likely. Then, tackle the boxes a few at a time, one room at a time. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and rest when your body says rest. You have plenty of time here. Even if you work and you’ll have to go back to work, you can unpack in front of the TV in the evening. So, don’t sweat it if you still have boxes in your kitchen a week after you’ve moved.

Moving can be a chore- but with a little planning, a little ingenuity, and a lot of time, you can make it a lot easier on yourself.