Q I have to move out of my apartment very soon and am dreading it. I will be moving into a good situation, but still feel very anxious. I start feeling overwhelmed and can’t decide what to pack and what to sell or give away. Then I get exhausted and sit down and stare at the wall. I don’t know how to get out of this.
A Moving into a new home is definitely one of the most stressful events of one’s life. Your home is where you feel secure, organized and have things the way you like. It’s your sanctuary. To have to leave it, pack and move everything uproots you completely.
First, do some relaxation such as deep breathing to calm and center yourself. Recognize that home is also an inner experience of trust and peace. Then get organized and prepared. It always helps to do this with another person who is not stressed or attached to all your possessions. Get plenty of supplies (boxes, tape, wrapping, etc.). Planning and getting enough help will relieve much of the anxiety and confusion. Then you can enjoy the process of beginning a new life in a new home.
Q Recently my father died in India. In a few weeks I have to go back and sort through all of his possessions. I am already feeling very emotional and don’t want to do it. Yet, he had put me in charge of his home. How do I do this?
A This is a challenging and meaningful endeavor your father has asked you to complete for him. He trusts your judgment and sensitivity. You are probably still grieving his loss. Sorting through his possessions surfaces the many feelings of your life together. This can be quite heavy. If you are still deeply grieving, this may not be the time to go back to India.
When you feel ready, ask another family member or close friend to do this with you. You need someone to share the feelings with and help you make many important decisions about his things. Telling stories of your life with your father will help release and let go of many feelings. At the end of this phase, you will also remember the joy that your family shared with him..
Alzak Amlani, Ph.D. is a counseling psychologist in Palo Alto and San Francisco. He can be reached at (650) 325-8393 or www.wholenesstherapy.com.