Moving Due to Downsizing or Retiring — GROW Counseling

Moving is ranked as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, clocking in the top 20 on the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, a widely used scale that examines the emotional impact of various major life events.

When that move is due to retirement (which ranks in the top 10 most stressful life events!), or downsizing due to children moving out (ranked # 23), the combined emotional toll and stress impact can’t be ignored!

These already difficult transitions can be magnified by having to sort through all of the possessions from that chapter of raising a family or from an entire career.

There is often joy in being able to retire and find more free time, but it can also be accompanied by a change in how you view yourself and your identity. Watching children launch and begin their own careers or families can prompt many of the same reactions as you look forward to empty nesting or becoming a grandparent. Even looking at having less home maintenance or yard work can prompt a sense of emptiness or uncertainty of how to organize and manage your time.

When moving due to retirement or downsizing, there are a myriad of reactions that can arise:

  • A sense of loss as you sort through and discard belongings
  • Mixed joy and sadness as memories of raising a family come back
  • Pride or disappointment as you reflect on accomplishments or setbacks throughout your career

As you move through this major life change, it is important to honor your past so you can look forward to the next chapter with excitement and anticipation rather than a focus on what has been given up or lost. Create the space to acknowledge the significance of the change and giving yourself the time to grieve what has been discarded.

While one important aspect of the moving process is finding a real estate agent you trust, a team of trusted professionals may be necessary to address the other important pieces. Your team may include a real estate agent to help with finding the right house for the next phase of your life, a reputable mortgage company to guide in the financial aspect, and a licensed therapist or counselor who specializes in major transitions to help you manage the cumulative emotional toll.

Written by: Molly Halbrooks

Originally published at on September 28, 2020.




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GROW Counseling

GROW Counseling

Atlanta, GA | Become more resilient, learn to develop better coping skills, and begin to find meaning and joy!

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