Moving is an exhausting process. Every single step requires a hefty dose of energy, from packing at your old place to unpacking at your new one and everything in between. Meanwhile, your normal routines are still going on in the background, with work and other responsibilities demanding the same amount of your attention and your time that they always do. For most of us, it’s hard enough to find enough energy during a normal day, let alone finding enough energy during a move.
There’s an extra layer to digging up energy during a move, too, and that’s that you can’t just run on auto-pilot. You need plenty of mental energy, in addition to physical energy, to get everything done, and there’s no phoning it in if you want to do it efficiently and do it right. So how do you get past the inevitable hurdle of too much to do and not enough time to do it? Here are nine ways to boost your energy during a move and keep going (even when the going gets tough).
Give yourself enough time
Sometimes moving in a hurry is inevitable, but usually we do have some control over how much time we give ourselves to accomplish all of the many tasks required to pack up and go. In general, moving is almost always going to take more time than you think it’s going to. Yes, even if you swear you don’t own that much stuff and even if you’re not doing it entirely on your own. Surprises are part and parcel of moving, as are roadblocks, distractions, and tasks that you totally forgot about but need to get done now.
There’s really no reason to scramble to get everything done if you have the option to do it differently. Resist the urge to procrastinate in the time leading up to moving day (there will be more than enough time for procrastination when it comes to getting settled in your new home), and start early. The less you have to run around getting everything done, the less energy you’ll need.
Sleep is one of the first necessities that tends to get pushed aside during a move. And it makes sense, since, again, your normal life goes on whether you’re in the middle of packing up every single thing that you own or not. Sometimes, the only time you really have to devote to moving tasks is after work and into the night. But that doesn’t mean that you should be pulling all-nighters.
Realistically, you’re going to have to sacrifice a little bit on sleep during your move—there are only so many hours in the day, after all. Regardless, sleep needs to stay a priority. It’s better to go to bed at a reasonable time and wake up super early than to work until you crash and end up getting only an hour or two of shut eye. Getting sleep is a necessary part of keeping up energy during a move, and just as important as packing tape and a moving truck when it comes to successfully completing the job.
Remember: being in bed and getting quality sleep are not the same thing. Making sleep a priority means you’ll have to skip any late-night scrolling on your phone, as the light of your screen is proven to make you more sleepy during the day. You’ll be able to get back to Candy Crush and perusing Instagram under the covers after your move is over.
Practice self care
Boosting energy is an active process—it’s not going to just happen on its own. And one of the most active steps you can take to increase your energy during a time when you really need it is so minimize stress by practicing self care.
Stress and fatigue are closely linked—and so are stress and moving. Getting proper sleep will help keep your stress levels down, but it’s a good idea to implement some extra TLC in other areas as well. Diffuse some stress-relieving essential oils into the air while you pack (lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang are all great for this), use a face mask while you wrap up your dishes, or fit in 10 or 15 minutes of gentle stretching when you start to panic about getting everything done. Whatever makes you feel good is what you should be trying to do more of.
Eat well and drink lots of water
Eating well during a move is much easier said than done. You’re not going to be making any home cooked meals when your pots and pans are in boxes, nor are you going to have much time for anything that isn’t fast and convenient. But go-to moving foods like pizza, drive-thru orders, and Chinese take-out will all give you an immediate energy surge followed by a crash, which is not helpful when you have a ton of to dos to take care of.
The key to good nutrition during a move is finding a balance between food that is fast and food that is good for you. You don’t need to go on a diet by any means, but intersperse those pizza slices with sliced carrots and apples, or pick up a meal from a salad spot instead of a burger one. While you’re at it, drink lots of water, which will combat the exhausting effects of dehydration.
Don’t drink alcohol
Drinking makes you drowsy. A couple beers or a glass of wine while you’re packing isn’t the end of the world, but it will almost certainly take away some of that much-needed energy. Do yourself a favor and save any drinking for the end of the evening when you’ve wrapped up your moving tasks for the day, or for celebrating when you get into your new home (which is itself a great excuse for a glass or two of champagne).
Skip the energy drinks and extra caffeine
Anything that promises you a rapid boost of energy is going to come with a rapid come down as well. Too much caffeine, whether it’s consumed from energy drinks and shots or from coffee and caffeinated tea, leads to a lot of things that aren’t very helpful when you’re moving: jitters, racing thoughts, and a steep and inevitable energy crash.
Boosting energy during a move isn’t like boosting energy to go out at night or to get through the last hour or two of a drive. It’s a long process, and it requires sustained—and sustainable—energy to accomplish. If you do need a quick pick-me-up, grab some chocolate, almonds, or oatmeal instead, all of which naturally increase your energy levels.
Play upbeat music
One of the very best things that you can do to keep up energy during a move is to listen to music that makes you want to dance, or upbeat music that you can sing along to. In addition to keeping you alert, some good background music will give your mind something else to focus on besides just the slogging tasks at hand. It’s an excellent time to pop in that old mixtape from high school you just found while you were clearing out your closet or to finally listen to that new Ariana Grande album you’ve been meaning to check out. The choice of music is all yours, but aim for something that exudes energy itself (you probably want to save Sufjan Stevens for later on).
Take an active break
Even when you’ve got a lot on your plate it is okay—even necessary—to take breaks. It’s all too easy to get burned out on packing and organizing, so disturb the monotony by putting down that roll of packing paper and turning your focus to something else. Just keep in mind that this should be an active break—just sitting down and staring at your phone, while relaxing in the moment, is going to be hard to come back from.
Look for activities that provide you with respite while also increasing your energy levels, such as walking your dog or taking a shower. If you do just need to sit down for a minute, keep it short—no more than five or ten minutes.
Keep the lights bright
You may be tempted to dim the lights when it’s gotten late and you’re still hard at work, but that’s going to have you dreaming about bed pretty quickly. If you need to stay up and get things done, keep the lights on full blast in whatever room you’re working in. This will trick your brain into having a little bit more energy, as opposed to luring it into sleep mode.
And of course, if you’re feeling so tired that you just can’t get anything done: rest! Take a 20 minute nap, or, if it’s time, go to bed and start tackling that to do list again in the morning. As much as you can boost energy during a move, you can’t completely eliminate your need for sleep (much as you might want to). Take care of yourself and get the rest you need—everything will get done eventually.