Image description: The photo shows a person with ME/CFS with exhaustion due debilitating fatigue when moving house. The title reads: Moving house when you have ME/CFS

Moving house when you have ME/CFS

By Caroline Cavey, Editor, ME Essential magazine

Article Extracts

Moving house is listed as one of the most stressful life events, alongside getting married and going through a divorce, so it’s no surprise that the very idea of it can put your head in a spin. Add ME/CFS or any chronic illness for that matter into the mix and the general stress of moving is multiplied ten-fold. Pacing is one of the most important aspects of living with ME/CFS and it particularly applies to moving house.

Consider your plan of attack

Make a plan and a time-schedule that works for you and stick to it. Pacing is vital, more so than on regular days, so start by looking out for yourself and tell everyone around you that this is what you’re doing.

Write a checklist of all the things that need to be done before, during and after the move. This will help to make sure nothing is forgotten. Brain fog can cause confusion and a lack of focus and clarity, so lists are pretty essential.

Do it in your own time

Once you have your checklist, consider how long it would take you to organise everything, then add plenty of contingency time for rests and breaks.

Scale back your activity well before moving day and focus on conscious rest and self-care.

  • Start any decluttering, sorting and packing well ahead of when you need to. Do what you can when you can and start by sorting, disposing, and packing things you don’t need until after the move. If you don’t love it or have use for it, dump it. Pack methodically and keep just what you need around you until the move.
  • Do anything you can from your bed or from the sofa. Make a list of when those things need doing and do them on alternate days so you’re not getting so physically tired.
  • Listen to what your body is telling you and rest regularly. You know how long you can keep going without getting overwhelmed, so stop before it gets to that stage.
  • Be flexible. Don’t expect your plan to run smoothly. If you suddenly get a lot of pain or fatigue simply change the plan.
  • Set achievable goals to help retain your energy levels. Avoid the big tasks – get help for those.

Recruit friends and family

Remember to ask your family and friends to help you. Set them specific tasks and accept any help that’s offered. It will help to take some of the strain away. As well as giving practical help with the packing and moving, they can also give you the time and space to relax, rest and even manage social time which will be beneficial emotionally.

Professional movers

Don’t underestimate the power of the removal man. If you can afford to do so, hire professional movers.

They know what they are doing and can mean the difference between having a stressful, exhausting move that may cause a flare-up and leave you struggling with your health even more than usual.

This article was first published in ME Essential magazine.

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