Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Services Offered: Coaching

Hi Everyone!

So, you know that I'm not over on this blog much anymore since I now live back in the United States; however, I haven't gone away ... I have kept up a different site - Becky Cavender - for the past year where you can find all my writing. As luck would have it, I've been fortunate enough to have publications with Huffington Post, too. So you can check those out here

In the meantime, I have some great news that I'm sharing here because I feel that it may benefit some of you. 


I'm excited to announce a new service that I'm offering: Relationship Coaching.

The focus is working with individuals who are in transition, a state of change, and feel a pull to realign ... to get back in touch with their true desires. Any of you expats are not immune to what that feels like. Big moves are hard and can sometimes take its toll on your relationships - not only with others, but also with yourself. There often comes a time where you feel a bit ungrounded and wonder who you are now, in context to your new experiences.

I believe that relationships are our most powerful teachers. The people in our lives present an opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves, what we want, and what we don't want. They serve as reminders of who we really are at our core ... if we just pay attention. Though it's difficult to view challenging relationships and circumstances in this way - including moving to a new country - it's exactly these challenges, these difficulties, that allow us to look within most deeply and decide which path we want to take.  

Navigating uncertain territory is something I'm familiar with ... all of us are. When we travel through the rough patches, we can feel a bit lost and off-balance. I'm grateful and humbled for the opportunity to be part of the journey in reclaiming your sense of direction through coaching.

If you're interested in coaching sessions with me, or wonder what coaching exactly is, check out my new Coaching page over on Becky Cavender. You may also email me to ask about my process, available openings, and fees.

I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with any expats - either those currently living overseas or individuals who have recently repatriated. After living in five different countries on four different continents and repatriating twice (the last time as a single parent), I understand that sometimes this life can be a bit challenging. I'm more than happy to be there with you as you travel on your journey, advocating for you, and helping you remember who you are.

If you live overseas it isn't a problem to connect. We can chat via Skype and trust me - I understand difficult internet connections - so I will be flexible. Payment is typically made via PayPal, so if you live in a country where that service is blocked, let me know, and we'll come up with a different plan.

Note: Coaching is not counseling or therapy. Think of a coach as your personal trainer, your advocate. I'll support you in the goals you set for yourself and focus on forward movement to achieve those goals. Consider a counselor/therapist more like the surgeon you'd go to when you're unwell and need to remove acute pain. Coaching operates from the viewpoint that you're already well - just simply want to tighten up/tone up an area of your life.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Letter to the Nice Girls

Dear Nice Girl:

You know who you are. 

You’re the one who doesn’t raise your voice in argument. You raise your hopes that understanding will prevail. 

You’re the one who helps the elderly couple struggling to carry their luggage.

You’re the one who tidies the dishes on your table at the restaurant to make it easier for the server.

You know who you are, Nice Girl. 

You pick up the fallen peanut package off the airplane floor so the other passenger – a sleeping soldier – can eat them when she wakes. 

You’re the girl who calls after a truck full of strangers, waving them down to give them the book that flew out the back. Your boyfriend will look at you and shake his head saying, “Nobody does that.” You, Nice Girl, will think he’s weird because you do stuff like that all the time.


  • Smile at the person frowning with sad eyes in the grocery store … just to help them feel a little less lonely.  
  • In fact, make yourself a bet that one day, by the end of the year, the grumpy, foul butcher will smile back at you. You make it your mission and smile bigger, brighter each time you see him.
  • Didn’t conform at school. You didn’t have one clique. You fluttered between all groups, getting along with everyone: the cool kids; the smart kids; the nerds; the gangsters; the jocks…everyone.
  • Giggle and laugh without abandon until you snort and juice spurts out your nose after you’ve succumbed to the floor, tears rolling down your cheeks.
  • Pull forward in the drive-through to put your cash back in your wallet so the car behind you doesn’t have to wait a fraction of a second longer.
  • Always check behind you and around you to see how you can move out of another person’s way. You’d never dream of making someone get out of your way. (Maybe you should.)

Dear Nice Girl, you have a unique capacity for love and compassion.  This is uncommon. See, it’s not usual for a person to:

  • Consider at one point, a taxi driver and a young, poor boy who shines shoes, your closest friends.
  • Feel gutfuls of sorrow watching people beg. You will want to give everything you have to help them while finding a way that truly helps rather than makes the situation worse. It will hurt your tender, aching heart.
  • Give up (without question) your job, your home, your possessions, and your family/friends for the man you love because you stand, always, bravely, in love.
  • Keep others’ secrets. Nice Girls are professional secret keepers.
  • See the truth behind fa├žade, see the person behind the mistake and continue to root for them – even if you got hurt.

You attract those with war and conflict on the soles of their feet. You recognize complex Achilles-aches and provide calm. You lay down a peaceful salve and they’re grateful; but their feet are too tired and too wounded to carry you. Their war too bloody.

After helping conflicted men, hurt men, men in crisis, they’ll ask you to let them go; so, with love, you do – even with your heart full of confusion and cracks – you bless them, holding them in your hands, and blow them away to freedom.

But … dear, kind, Nice Girl:

You have to, you must, learn that not all people are nice. 

You must learn there are others who genuinely admire your niceness. They may even care about you. Perhaps love you. But they also know that because of your unique ability to forgive, to understand them, to see the big picture, they can make choices that may bring you a level of discomfort and pain … then not work hard to rectify that or perhaps even acknowledge it. Maybe they’ll push the boundaries of hurt … because they can. Because they know you’re nice.

They might betray you. They may not keep their promises. They may not show up for you. They may not be your friend, be there for you because they’re too deep in their own hurt (all while you, Nice Girl, are empathetic about their pain and try to help them through it … even if they were the cause of your subsequent pain, too).

What about you? Really, you just want someone to heal your hurt, to reciprocate and show you the same kind of love. Often … mostly … you won’t get that from romantic relationships until you learn some lessons.

Maybe you will get a thank you, though. And sometimes, the Nice Girl will carry that gratitude around in a pearl box knowing it’s precious, that words and thankfulness matter. That will be enough. For awhile. 

Your pearl box overflows with the kindness you have given others. You put your pearl boxes in a meadow of gold filled with abundant light.

Learn, please … soon … that not everyone earns the honor of going to your golden meadow. Don’t you know this?

It’s a hard lesson. You think everyone should see a beautiful meadow warm with wildflowers.

But not everyone can appreciate wildflowers, gold, and pearl. They may “Ooh” and “Ahh” over those flowers so colorful and rare. They might pick some – possibly without asking – and make an arrangement for their kitchen table, then forget to invite you for tea, to sit with them. You smile despite the lack of invitation with the hope your flowers bring some beauty; but you deserve to be invited for tea. To be asked how you are. You deserve that. 

See, you learn that “You’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever known,” comes with a slap-down and “But…” You’ll disappear from their lives. Nice can mean lurgy.

Look, some people click their words and snap their tongues at Nice Ones. 

You must begin to see that there are even some, who at worst, will instantly see your gentleness and know how to turn your compassion inside out – just to squeeze something for themselves. Why? Because they know they won’t have to try hard to do it. 

They know you will graciously, openly, without pause, simply and beautifully hand over whatever may help them. You’ll do that without considering the possibility that it might burn you.

They may even set fire to your meadow and rub ashes on you; but you know those ashes will fertilize the soil and gold will grow again. 

Those that prefer arson will try and burn your soul. You’ll burn, yes; but you’ll burn brightly and the moon will smile at you from afar and know you are the fire. 

You know ashes are story kindling. Stories that will alight, stories you will share because … you’re nice.

Not everyone wants a meadow, peace. They might like the steel cut of a knife or the desert sting in the wind. They might like sparse, edgy, storms.

You know how to do storms, too. Nice Girls are storm experts. You see the front coming in and unlike most – who retreat – go straight out. You see how far you can go and swim in the middle of it. The waters change from warm to cold. The rains come and smooth across your sweet face. You smile and brace for those winds and let it rip through your hair. You want to spread your arms out and scream, “BRING IT!” It’s in those storms that you can feel alive and feel the energy, the hot, raw, visceral energy of storms piercing through you. They give you compassion, calm, patience, understanding, love, gratitude. Perspective. They always brew deep in your soul – but most people don’t know that. I do, though. 

You have to learn how far to go out and when to come back in. You know – always know – the sun will break through the gray, heavy clouds. Once again, you’ll tilt your head back and let the sun spill on your face, dry the rain and salt. 

You know the ache is worth it … that you’re imperfectly lovely. The salty film can be washed, even if you are left feeling a little scratched up.

See, Nice Girl, you will get scratched up. The storm has its beauty, but driftwood has left splinters under your nails. It pokes you and reminds you that you went deep and hard. You’re a survivor and know the splinters will come out when they’re ready. 

You’ll put them in a special box – not pearl – but with wood from pine, eucalyptus, breadfruit, palm, evergreen, oak, and acacia trees. You know you can grow something beautiful from driftwood splinters … and you know you’ll get a lot of them. 

You’ll build a unique, salt washed, wind-torn door. 

You’ll build that strong, glorious door in front of your golden meadow. Only you can open it. 

You will learn to decipher the deserving. 

See, you’ve been so busy watching out for those to take care of, you don’t know how to let others care for you. Let them.

At some point, you’ll feel restless and want to yell (but you’re too nice to yell) “I just wish people could stand in their truth and be HONEST and communicate!” A friend will tell you most people don’t. You’ll decide from then on only to let the minority come close enough to touch. 

You will watch for those who seek you (not those you have to go after). You’ll watch them climb over dunes, swim, go down a path unknown. They’ll be the brave ones – the ones that go out into the storms. 

You’ll watch on the horizon for the storm chasers, for those who feel alive through love. The ones that show up. The ones whose hearts are filled and open. 

They won’t have hearts with something else etched into it: another name, a job, a dream, freedom.

Their hearts will be etched with only one word: Courage. 

Nice Girl, you’ll begin to recognize the courageous heart because it is you.

Look for the few who go it the way you do. The ones who will drive hours to just have coffee and see your face. 

The ones who would move for you. 

The ones who notice things: the tiny mole above the knuckle on your index finger and the one under your toe; that you curl your toes and move your mouth to the side when you’re nervous. They’ll love this and kiss your crooked mouth still until they know, you know, that you are loved. Just the way you are.
The ones that not only love you, but accept you. 

You’ll see the ones that open your door, smile, hold you, tell you you’re beautiful, that you matter. The ones that kiss your face, your forehead, hold your hand and walk in stride.

The ones who connect and recognize your heart … then stick around and don’t get scared. 

The ones who know how to love in quantities the galaxies hold – the ones who go so high, they grab handfuls of stars to put in your golden meadow for when you have nights that go dark (because they know you get them). 

Their soul clicks and their arms spark when they see you. 

They’ll fly to you. 

They’ll watch your children and hold your hand. 

They return your calls. 

They tell you the truth. 

They know who they are. 

And if they hurt you, they apologize.

They always try to understand themselves, others … you.

They’ll show up when you’re on your knees.

They’ll stay. 

And when – if – the time comes they leave – they’ll say, bravely: they love you; they see you; and they are better for your meadow. 

They won’t pick your wildflowers … and you’ll have stars.

There are times you’ll want to quit the Nice Girl gig. Maybe you’ll even try; but don’t. It’s not who you are and that kind of pain – the type where you pretend to be something else – destroys your soul. 

So, be nice … but be smart. 

You’re a treasure, Nice Girl. 

Go on being her. 

Go on keeping your palms open to the sky. 

Build your door. Carve beauty all over it. Place a crystal knob with glitter there. It will let others know it’s a happy place. 

Stay in your meadow. Don’t venture out to another’s place. 

Let them come to you. 

And then, decide, Nice Girl, if they have enough Courage for you to open the door.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

All the Possibilities - Blog Circle Post

It’s easy to limit ourselves. We do it often, usually without even thinking. For many, it’s our default setting. Our auto-pilot. Anytime we think of taking a risk, of doing something that might scare us, or stretch us, or possibly cause discomfort (and perhaps great happiness!), we balk, cower and think, “Oh, hell no!”

I get it. Anti-risk is usually is my default and I have to take moments of quiet and reflection to get past fears and push through what could be waiting on the other side of that line – the line you cross when you open yourself up to possibilities. 

The thing about possibilities is that they seem to come at a risk. We could get hurt. We could find our destiny (and that might be scary). It might mean doing something that makes us face a phobia. We might fail. We might succeed … and why is it just as scary to succeed as it is to fail? 

A year ago, I joined a group of over 600 phenomenal women who took a creative business e-course by renowned artist, Kelly Rae Roberts. Kelly Rae calls herself a possibilitarian: A person who looks for possibilities, not limitations. This is brave; she inspires and encourages others to be brave, too.
As part of this month’s blog circle (because of moving back to the United States and The Divorce, I’ve slunk out of the last few months’ circles), the group decided to celebrate how we are seeing possibilities, how we’re pushing ourselves. 

Since September of last year, I’ve jumped. High. Far. Long. I have flown. I finally accepted that I’m a writer; I wrote a book and published it; I’ve made this blog successful and turned it into a resource for people moving to Myanmar; I’ve become a professional writer (earning my income writing) – magic happens when you declare who you are; I’ve interviewed several inspiring, incredible people. I lived in a mysterious, beautiful country. 

But what I think I’m most proud of is being brave enough to pack up and move home to the United States with my daughter after her dad said he no longer wanted to be married. In that sorrow – and that sorrow continues – I choose to see the possibility for good, for strength, for growth, for renewal. I see the possibility of finding a home in my own skin that I feel good about. I see the possibility of remaining a familial unit in a very untraditional way: a family in the sense that my daughter has parents who love her and who respect/care about each other, too … just not parents who are married to eachother. 

Don’t get me wrong: I get super scared sometimes and I’m still not exactly sure how all these pieces are going to fit together. I live in my home, I work from home, and I’m writing. My daughter has just found a new school that I think will suit her. I’ll figure out how to fit in my community, make my own mark. Over a year ago, I don’t think I would’ve had the faith and the conviction that things would work out. But they do. 

You might not know how it will turn out: Well, the truth is, you never – ever – know how something will turn out. You have to see the potential for beauty, though. Even in a failure. Even in a mistake. (Though I try not to believe in the word “mistake” much.) 

Occasionally we make choices that bring us pain. What I’ve learned, though, is that even in pain, there is possibility. There is a beautiful, messy lesson in there that will cut through the pain and bring you to face the sun. That makes it worth it. 

You learn about yourselves and others. You learn who you really are and you begin to stand firmly on your own two feet. And when you know you’ve got soft ground beneath you, you start to jump. Dive. Swim. Leap. Whatever. But you move. You get out. You try. You make an effort. 

And you believe that no matter what – no matter the success or the flat-on-your-face smashed-up hurt –  you’ll be OK. You’ll wipe the dirt off your knees and go for it again and again and again. Soon, you will look for possibilities and this view of the world will become your auto-pilot. Your new default.

Worst case scenario? You’ll have lots of material for writing good stories. 

I believe this with my whole heart and wish for you all the possibilities you can see. 

What are ways that you’re brave and seek out possibilities?

Next, please go check-out my flying sister, Lisa Ullrich, and her post about how she’s becoming a possibilitarian over here

P.S. If you want to know how things are shaping up over in the Pacific Northwest (USA) for my daughter and I, check-out my professional writing blog, Becky Cavender.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What They Don't Tell You When You're Getting Divorced

They don’t tell you that you’ll buy crumpets at the grocery store because they were one of your husband’s favorite.

They don’t tell you it’s suddenly strange to have double sinks in your en suite when you’re single. 
(You know that you’ll find a way to make use of the space with all your toiletries ... but it’s weird.)

They don’t tell you that sometimes you’ll sleep better alone.

But sometimes you won’t sleep at all.

They don’t tell you that slicing pain will beat through your chest and you’ll doubt everything you are and everything you’ve ever done.

When you place your duvet in its new cover, you’ll think of the day he taught you how to do that. 
They don’t tell you that suddenly he is there – arm deep in cotton – shaking his head at you.

They don’t tell you he becomes part of your new duvet, so hasn’t really left your bed.

You lose all your bearings. You feel floaty, ungrounded, spinny.

They don’t tell you you’ll misplace your mojo … that you will think you’re unattractive, untalented, and not good enough.

They don’t tell you that he is no longer your home. The thought of that will choke you.

You’ll have to bite the inside of you cheek to stop tears when a medical receptionist asks what your marital status is and if your former spouse is still your emergency contact.

Your spine must turn to steel when you answer “no.”  


They don’t tell you there are days you already feel OK and happy.

Your friends will gather around you and hold up your heart so you can see it.

Your family who will remind you of who you are and that you’re loved.

They don’t tell you that your kid will try to be strong but make forts to cry in, alone, because she misses her dad who is on another continent.

They don’t tell you that your daughter will act out, be angry, lash her tongue at you and you’ll feel like you’re the worst mother. Ever.

But your brothers will help your daughter and give her examples of strong men who will be part of her daily life, keeping an eye on her.

Your daughter will later crawl in your lap, cuddle on the cuddle couch, and tell you – when you’re practicing daily gratitude – that you are the thing, the person, she is most grateful for, and that she loves you “beyond one quadzillion” and that she’d have to keep counting until she’s dead, even when she’s dead, to find a number of how much she loves you.

In those moments, you’ll feel like a hero, like superhuman, like you can do it all.

They don’t tell you that you will be OK.

And your daughter will be OK, too … because you’ll make damn sure of it (and so will many others, including her dad).

You will see love and find it in places, with people, with family, with friends who do love you exactly the way you are.

They tell you you’re OK. Not a failure. Not a nothing.

Yet, you’re scared to write, to create, because you’re afraid of what will come out of you and you’re just doing the very best you can right now to keep your head above the water with a smile on your face.

You don’t know if you’re ready for what will come out of you. Yet. 

They don’t tell you a renewed love for your community will emerge.

You notice things you didn’t before – like how the wind comes into the valley and cools off the dry, hot summer nights.

The cul-de-sac will host iconic summer nights: While the full moon rises against the pale blue sky, you watch children – including your beautiful daughter – lay on the cement and get sprayed with water by a neighbor’s father.

They don’t tell you that you can be broken, or feel broken, and feel completely whole and at home. Simultaneously.

They don’t tell you that you are a package of contradictions.

There will be moments of great strength, then moments of great sorrow.

But you get to rediscover parts of yourself.

Your own style can splash all over the house in beautiful throws, pillows, colors of your choice – and 
that can feel liberating. Empowering.

In fact, alone can be empowering, too … like when you put together the TV stand without help.

It will take you awhile to notice when another man flirts with you – you haven’t been flirted with in years.

They don’t tell you that you’ll feel weird – and like there’s something deficient in you – for liking the sniff of your new freedom. Even those flirts … sometimes.

The beautiful people who love you will give you guidance and help you find your own spirit while deep in hurt.

They’ll gently push you back to art, to beauty, to connect with your creative self: to be who you are.

Friends and your family will bring you full circle.

You’ll bring yourself full circle … or at least to a different circle (you don’t want to repeat it all, after all).

You’re not a failure or loser.

Also: there’s nothing wrong with you.

While you pick yourself up off the floor, you’ll see fragments of happiness blowing towards you, around you, below you.

You slowly see that joy swirls around you always. Even when you’re sad. Even when you buy crumpets.

The home in your heart will be rebuilt.

Eventually you’ll be stronger, wiser, better.

You’ll learn you’re never alone. Ever.

And you’ll be sure to tell others they’re also never alone - because they don’t tell you that when you're getting a divorce.

This is an exercise based on a prompt from Laurie Wagner’s writing course, Telling True Stories

P.S. This is a double post - you can also see it on my professional writing page, Becky Cavender

Monday, July 1, 2013

Culture Shock at Home

It was surreal. I wasn't firing on all cylinders. My mind felt hazy and heavy. Maybe on sensory overload.

The aisles were wider, longer, and taller than what I've been used to for the last 16 months. Though it was my local grocery store and I'd been there countless times over the years, it felt as foreign as the first time I walked into Yangon's CityMart.

American grocery stores are vast and filled with many options. We're kind of spoiled, really ... but that didn't occur to me until I walked down the enormous breakfast cereal aisle last week.

In Yangon, the cereal options were expanding, but you could still count on just a small 2' or 3' square space on the shelves to display availability. There were usually about four different choices or so - not much more than that.

At home, I was shocked to see the entire length of the aisle (at least twice as long as City Mart's aisles) filled with cereal from top shelf to bottom shelf. I could hardly move. My jaw might've dropped open a few inches as I stared.

I still can't get the image out of my head and it's been nearly a week.

Do people really eat that much cereal? Are the flavors all that different? Maybe there were several different box sizes?

Of course I've been down the cereal aisle in the US before, but you adapt to your surroundings: I adapted to limited options (options were treats!) in Myanmar. Often you didn't get options at all: Sometimes items were in stock and sometimes they weren't.

It felt indulgent to buy hummus and my daughter's favorite brand of honey Greek yogurt; but, the ice cream aisle with all the sizes and flavors and brands was almost too much to handle, so I only focused on the section that sold the smallest pots. I grabbed the tiny salted caramel gelato in hopes it would remind me of my recent trip to Italy (even though I didn't have salted caramel gelato in Italy), then got out of that section as fast as I could. My brain was already freezing enough as it was...

Reverse culture shock is as common as culture shock when you arrive to a new country. With each move back home after living overseas, I've experienced it.

Living abroad changes you. Living across the country (in your own country!) changes you. You begin to see things differently. Your values can change.

My idea of bad service at a restaurant is significantly different than what it was before ... so is my idea of bad traffic. At risk of sounding snobby, my tolerance for other Americans' views of bad traffic/bad driving or bad service is pretty low at the moment.

It's not fair for me to get judgy, though. Experience changes perspective. I suspect that after a year, I may give in to complaining about ordinary things that really aren't that important.

After all, I won't live on a road with several bamboo shacks and a garbage heap that the stray dogs eat from. I'll be free to say anything I want about politics or politicians without anyone blinking an eye (except to perhaps argue - but certainly without fear or uncertainty).  My house won't have rats or toads or centipedes or scorpions. I won't have to worry about it raining inside my house every time it rains outside. My concerns will be different. Not easier. Not better. Just different.

If you're repatriating here are a few articles you might want to check out:

Have you lived overseas before then repatriated? How did you handle reverse culture shock?  

p.s. Thank you for your patience during my June holiday! And thanks for re-joining me here to hear about repatriation back in the US and my continued love for Myanmar. 

To read about my journey in the United States as a writer (a single mom writer) and divorcing, then join me over on my professional writing site, Becky Cavender.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to Survive Packing (Especially When You're an Introvert)

Are you good at labeling and organizing all of your things when packing up? Is moving easy for you?

No? Oh, good. We’re in the same boat, then.

I’m awful at packing … especially the organizational part of it. It’s the little things that do my head in – like all the stuff that goes in the junk drawer. What to do with it all? My eyes glaze over and I enter a near-comatose state until tears threaten. 

After moving 12 times in the last 11 years, you’d think I’d be used to packing-up, but I’m not. The only thing I’d like to do when moving is go in my room, lock the door, crawl in bed, and throw the covers over my head in hopes of willing it all away … or wishing to be magically transported to my new location with everything set-up and unpacked, ready to go.

Instead, I often feel overwhelmed. Moving always means more of stuff: more mess; more messy emotions; more people; more stress; more boxes; more chaos. I prefer the simple, quiet, non-intrusive life.  A move rips all of that out from your grips and tosses it around the house, into your yard, your garage, your head … not caring where any of it lands. There’s not much of a choice left then: You have to deal with the mess, even when you’re feeling like a big, bundle of mess.

So what to do? How to cope with the chaos and more-ness of a move? And what if you’re an introvert? Oh, and what if you’re an introvert and a HSP (highly sensitive person)? 

Well, to start, you have to hold on tight, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and hope the whole thing will be over quickly. While the moving stress builds, there are some things you can do that will help a bit. Especially when packing up. 

 Before the move

Get a moving company to pack your stuff up for you. No, this doesn’t make it stress-free. You still have to organize all your stuff, put it in piles (air shipment, give away, throw away, container shipment), and oversee their packing; but it will allow you to have less sore muscles and you’ll get time for tea. (I also realize that this isn't a realistic option for many people.)

Fill out a checklist/inventory of your belongings before the movers come. It’s boring to fill out, but super important. Do so with care and if the checklist provided by the moving company isn’t adequate, just walk around the house with a notepad + write down what you have. Type it up. If you’re insuring your belongings, it will be a requirement to complete the form. 

List any individual items worth over $500 (high value items). Take pics of those items on your phone. (And don’t delete them until your belongings have safely arrived at your new destination.) Some people get really into this part and take pictures of everything and really write a detailed list. If you can handle that, do it!

The night before packing

Have a nice meal. Make it easy, simple. Go out if you want. My husband makes a mean Shepherd’s Pie and he took the time to do that the night before the packers came. It was a very kind gesture, especially considering we’re getting a divorce. His response was, “I figured we could all use a bit of comfort food tonight.” He was right. He even did all the dishes after.

Get a good night’s sleep. Take a sleeping pill if you must. (I wish I did this.)

Plan a few days to pack things into boxes before the removal people show up.

Feed the movers + be very polite to them. At least give them drinks and make sure they take a lunch break. Remember: they’re handling your possessions, so don’t piss them off. 

Wake up early. Give yourself time to lean into the morning without too much stress or running around.  Take a leisurely breakfast if you can. If this doesn’t work…

Drink coffee or tea (slowly) before the movers show up. Take care of yourself and do what you need to mentally prepare for the chaos. 

If you’re a HSP and/or an introvert 

You’ll want to take extra care. It can be helpful to reduce the number of strangers in the house and especially the number of children. My extra-loving-advice for youHSP/innies:

Reduce the number of people in the house while packing/moving, or at least limit it to the best of your ability. At the same time, I strongly recommend - if you can afford it - to get packers in because though it's not an easy fix and it is still overwhelming to have to make sure strangers are packing your things correctly, it can afford you little breaks where you can get away for a few minutes.

Have quiet time in the morning before everything is lashed upon you. The sounds of packing, the smells, the sight of your belongings all over, the mess, and the people will all be enough for you to go on sensory overload. 

Ask a friend/partner/family member to help you out. They can help manage the movers and you can have sneaky quiet time in the restroom, a bedroom, or wherever to give you those moments of being able to regroup.

I once had a lovely experience where my friend brought over take away from a nice Italian restaurant. She had plastic wine glasses and after the movers left, we sat on the floor and had a picnic of yummy food and wine. I was so grateful to her. 

Call friends when the movers are packing things. It's a strange time to sit in the house as it goes echo-y. You may not want a lot of people physically around, but it can be helpful to reach out and talk to someone about how you're feeling.  

What are things that help you? I'd love to hear your tricks and tips!