Follow these tips if you experience move-in anxiety
August 2, 2021
Moving into a new space can be terrifying, especially if that space is a college dorm for the first time. College and moving in can be stressful on its own, so it makes sense why someone might develop anxiety upon move in or even when thinking about having to move in. If you do struggle with move-in anxiety or anxiety in general, the good news is that’s normal and it’s OK. There are a lot of preventative measures you can take to mitigate the anxiety that might come with move-in anxiety.
There isn’t really a way to necessarily manage anxiety, since it often happens spontaneously and is out of your control. But there are ways to work with anxiety, and one of those ways is to anticipate it happening and plan for it before it does. This goes for move-in anxiety, too. Anxiety can happen when you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared, and since move-in day presents several opportunities for those feelings, a great way to cope is by staying organized. And what better way to get organized than by planning ahead?
One way to plan ahead is by having an idea of the general layout of your dorm or apartment before you move in and having a rough idea of how you want to organize the space. This will help you organize all of your stuff once you’ve arrived and are ready to move in.
Another great idea is to label all of your boxes so you know exactly what’s in each one. This will allow you to unpack without the stress of not remembering what the heck you packed.
You should also consider writing down a schedule for move-in from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep in your new place. This means writing down when you want to leave, when you want to stop on the way and when you’ll want to take a break for food. Give yourself plenty of rest time so you don’t get too overwhelmed and don’t forgot to take care of basic needs, such as food, water and bathroom breaks.
Lastly, establish roles of whoever’s helping you move in, whether that be friends, family or helpers at the dorm. Maybe a parent will be in charge of loading the moving carts, and you’ll be in charge of carrying a specific set of suitcases. Whatever the plan it, as long as you have one, you should be totally fine when it comes to move in.
Now that you’ve prepped and are organized for the big day, it’s time to actually move in.
First, be sure to try to stick to your plans as much as you can, but also don’t worry if some things don’t go according to plan. There’s bound to be some hiccups during move-in, but knowing they might happen makes dealing with them easier when they do.
Move-in can be pretty fast-paced depending on where you’re moving in, and that can get pretty overwhelming, so it’s important to try and stay as relaxed as possible to make the process easier on you. Take deep breaths regularly and don’t be afraid to take breaks for water, mental health checks or even a quick nap if you need one.
Something else to remember is don’t be afraid to ask for help! This is easier said than done, of course, but if you’re moving into a dorm, usually there are move-in guides who can help you carry heavy objects or hold doors open for you if you need an extra set of hands. Don’t be afraid to ask for that extra help if it’s there, and that will definitely make the move-in process go more smoothly.
That hard part is done! If you haven’t eaten yet, eat! After that, you can focus on spending some time outside exploring the campus if you haven’t gotten the chance to yet. If you’re a new student, use this time to find your classes or to get familiar with the campus. If you’re already familiar with the campus maybe go grab a bite to eat at a restaurant you’ve never been to or find some friends and hang out on the quad.
After that, consider attending some welcome events if your dorm offers them and if you’re comfortable. Sometimes welcome events can be overwhelming, especially after a busy day of moving in, so if that’s not for you, no problem.
If you still have energy and time, start decorating your space so you can do to sleep and a somewhat decorated dorm or apartment. After that, pat yourself on the back and be proud that you absolutely killed move-in day!
And remember that you can always visit the University of Illinois Counseling Center anytime if you’re looking for resources or to make a counseling appointment.
Good luck, and you got this!