Free photo 95868525 © creativecommonsphotos -
Free photo 95868525 © creativecommonsphotos –

Relocation Overwhelm is the relocation surprise that occurs somewhere between closing and the end of the 1st move in month.

Relocation Overwhelm is a stealthy adversary that does not present as itself but as exhaustion, frustration, lack of focus, shortness with others and in my case tears.  It comes up and attacks in the most simple moments such as trying to find the honey at the grocery store.

I at the grocery store staring blindly at a 18 years old stock boy.  Tears are welling up and a spurt out, “Where is the honey.  I can’t find the honey.”  A tear hits my shirt.  Helplessly, he points to isle 3 and says, “half way down.”

It’s not about the Honey

Any relocation survivor I tell this to looks at me with warm understanding and shakes their head up and down in an accepting and connecting way.  We have all experienced it.

If you have not walk through this yet on your first relocation, know that it is coming.

The inability to find the honey is just one more of a million activities and decisions that a blown up your expectations.  It is on the heels of walking kids into school, just to be rejected because their immunizations are not what is required.  It is the presentation of pink eye with no know doctor to go to.  It is a kitchen that has no place for your favorite roaster.

But it adds up

It is not like any of this or most everything else that happens are critical issues that cannot be solved.  However, because you have landed in a new town, everything…every issue…every decision requires your full and complete attention.

This is not like pre-relocation life where you knew how to do everything and had the resources on speed dial.

Being out of real control and having to reel it back in with every decision is why it adds up.

Relocation Overwhelm Pre-work

One of the best ways to head off Relocation Overwhelm is to know it is coming.

Know that the decisions will beat you down.  Know that expectations will consistently be not met and adjusted.  Know what you will do in the face of this happening.

Like with most of Relocation, planning ahead to set relocation specific expectations is your key to traversing this with more ease.  The plan begins with knowing this will happen.  The second step is to plan what you will do in the face of all of these.

You are not planning an exact reaction to I can’t find the honey I like, SO I will order it online.

You are planning your reaction.  Deciding ahead of time how you will face the disappointment and yet another missed expectation is the way to go through each and everyone of these.

You will not QUIT

We both know quitting isn’t an option, even though we may sit in the foyer with tears for a few minutes.

We get up brush ourselves off and get after it again.

At the primal level of who we are, our brains will not let us stop until we get back to normal.  See the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

So we get up brush off the frustration and work to solve the need for a new veterinarian, a doctor for those vaccinations or a way to get our child in hockey or a similar sport in a town without hockey.

Include a Pause in the Plan

So you know it is coming, you know how you want to react and you know ultimately you will not quit.

But what you do need is a pause.

This pause, which you will fight for, pushes back the walls of Relocation Overwhelm.  It allows you to recognize it and make peace with its presence.  The lack of fight and acknowledgement conserves your energy for “getting back after it”.  But only after you have gathered the peace that is right in front of you.

Relocation for the trailing spouse is a BIG JOB.  One that you only know after you have walked through it.  Not impossible, just big.

You will make it

So keep after it relocation warrior.  You are a survivor and you will do what you need to for you, your family and your marriage.  Trust in yourself.

You will find you have strength you didn’t know you had on the other side of this.

More about you…

Annette Walters is a ReloMom of 13 moves and 2 EXPAT years.  She is passionate about helping other ReloMoms find their groove and want to help encourage strength in the face of the battle.

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