Our recent move was our choice. Not a PCS –  permanent change of address, which is a military term for orders. Not a corporate career move.

That did not eliminate having to go through all the phases of the actual move  or the emotional roller coaster that accompanies any relocation. A merry-go-round you can’t stop.

At first, you’re busy saying goodbyes to friends and packing. You work at break-neck speed to purge and organize your home. It’s physically and emotionally tiring.

Then moving day comes with a high-surge of adrenaline. Movers are in and out loading your belongings into the trucks.

Once those doors are close, you clean and clear out the old house, wiping away dust bunnies and lint from under the missing furniture. All the while cataloguing the memories and batting at the tears blurring your vision. With one final look around, you close the door.

Your emotions are roiling as you load yourself and your loved ones into the car filled with what you think you will need immediately – cleaning supplies, suitcases, pet food – and head to your new location.

Following behind the moving trucks, your head nearly explodes with questions. Will your stuff fit in the new place? Will the old house sell? Will we find a good church, a good vet, a good hairdresser?

Once at the new location, in a flurry of activity, the trucks are emptied and your new place fills with boxes and randomly placed furniture. Compulsively, you begin unpacking and arranging even though you are dog-tired from the previous weeks and need to pace yourself. The obsession to make the new place home outweighs the exhaustion.

Those first few days are backbreaking. You’re ripping off tape and unwrapping like crazy. You squat, lift, shovel furniture, arrange dishes, books, closets, moving stuff from room to room. You’re exhausted, sweating. Your body aches. You need to rest.

You don’t.

You surge ahead – one more box, one more hour then you’ll rest, but the unending mountains of boxes loom. The obsession to get it done overshadows the need for rest.

As boxes empty and the new place starts to feel like you live there, a sense of peace floods you. While a sign that you are acclimating to the new place that cheerful-we-are-gonna-love-it-here-and-golly-gee-this-is-super attitude can also be tricky.

Your stress levels have been off the charts.There’s been so much to do. Things that felt urgent, necessary. According to U.S. News and World Report, when the emotional and physical stress slackens, you risk a crash and burn – what I call a relocation letdown.

The article explains: “… there’s “a down-regulation of the immune system, a suppression of the immune response, [as a reaction] to the easing of stress. In addition, the surge-and-fall of stress hormones could knock down dopamine levels in the brain, which can trigger overeating and substance abuse as people (unconsciously) try to raise their dopamine levels so they can feel reward and pleasure again.”

To avoid such a letdown and its consequences you need to prevent the strain from getting to you in the first place.

You have to listen when your body screams chill out. Make yourself stop, get some rest, and replenish your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional reserves with healthy food and exercise. Your task won’t be completed as quickly as you might like. The task will get done.

Interludes of rest have kept me sane for the last six weeks. I think I’m going to keep them as part of my daily routine permanently.