The following guest blog post was written by Leialoha, the author behind Naturally Aloha. Learn about her inspiring move from Hawai’i to Utah. She helps people create paradise wherever they are. I’m excited to share this article with you because she’s been through a lot.

This is the second story in the miniseries exclusive to my blog: “Moving with Courage: Overcoming Mental Challenges During a Big Move.”

Moving can be a stressful time of life, especially when you have a mental illness or difficult life circumstance. When I made the move from Hawaii to Utah, people told me it would be difficult to come back to Hawaii, that “once you leave, you never come back.” And once I got to Utah, the people there said belittling and demeaning comments like, “How could you leave paradise for this?” 

You might have a similar experience when you move from one location to another, discovering that the judgment and criticism never seem to stop—from others or yourself. However, there is a simple principle that, when applied, can change the whole energy of your experience.

The Hawaiian word “hau’oli” translates to “happy or happiness.” So is moving a happy thing? Yes! When you close one door, another door always opens. You are making HUGE changes to your life, and this should be celebrated!  Of course moving can be totally stressful, full of anxiety, deadlines, and STUFF… but have you paused for a moment to realize that your move can be a joyful experience? 

You are stepping into another part of your journey… You will meet new people, discover new opportunities, and, of course, change. Change can be a scary thing, but there can be joy in embracing the change. This article will help you find and create the joy in your move, especially when you feel totally stressed and anxious. It will teach you practical strategies to be hau’oli, happy! 

Choose your stresses 

It seems like when you’re in the middle of a life-changing event, everyone and everything piles stressful situations on you. Some examples can include health problems, family drama, unexpected financial twists, and SO much more. Even little events can make you feel like you’re just going to crumble into an emotional breakdown. However, when you recognize your power to choose, you alleviate the stress and overwhelm. You can CHOOSE what to stress over… is it worth your energy to worry about the family drama? Is it worth your time to take a nap in order to have more energy? 

Instead of stressing over every little thing, ask yourself what is worth your time and energy. If you need to, write a list of the stresses you’re experiencing. Cross off the things you won’t stress about anymore, or make plans to address the things that are stressing you out. 

Focus on one task at a time 

Do you start packing one room and then suddenly find yourself in another room, or, more common, you find yourself nostalgically going through your things? You start flipping through your journal or scrapbook, and before you know it… the time has flown by and you feel even MORE stressed! 

To avoid putting more burden on yourself, focus on one task at a time. If you’re starting to pack up the hallway closet, focus on just packing up that hallway closet. If you’re looking up flight details or need to make a call on your phone, focus on just that (basically, don’t jump on other apps or social media). If you’re packing up those things that make you feel nostalgic, give yourself permission to appreciate those memories for a set amount of time (use a timer if you need to!)… and then keep going. Stay focused on one thing at a time!  

Downsize with joy 

Sometimes we just have too many things. In Hawaii, things don’t last very long, due to the climate and humidity, so I learned to not keep a ton of things. Paper gets moldy, clothes grow mildew, and tools and cars start rusting… So, as you move, ask yourself this: Is this item serving me? 

You might be surprised to find that a lot of items in your house don’t serve you, and when that happens, make a conscious choice to gracefully part with those items. When you downsize, cleaning out old things, you make room for other things in your life… whether that be more peace of mind (because you don’t have so much “stuff”), more opportunities to get new things (clothes, kitchenware, etc), or even more space to breathe in your home. 

Be grateful for the things you did have and gracefully part with them, making more room in your life for the things that matter most. 

Make it fun 

Moving doesn’t have to be stressful or boring—it can actually be fun! Blast some music, get some yummy snacks, or even treat yourself to an easy meal like pizza! Remember that this life is to be enjoyed, not just endured, so enjoy your move! 

Take a moment of quiet + peace for yourself 

Make time to breathe and take care of yourself too. Whether you need to break a sweat, take a nap, or treat yourself to something delicious, do some self-care activities during this busy time. 

You can even do self-care by visualizing. Take a moment to breathe and see yourself in your new home. Or, if you haven’t seen your new home yet, visualize a place you love… a place that calms you. My place is Hawaii, lying on the beach with the sun warming my body and the palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. If your move is a huge step to reaching your dreams, visualize and imagine what it will feel like getting to the place you’ve always dreamed. Know that this move is a vital step to getting there, and appreciate this part of your journey. 

Own your decision 100% — no matter what anyone else says 

People will say things to you like, “Why are you moving?” Especially if you’re in a good spot, where it doesn’t “make sense” to others. But remember that this is your life, your choice, and your reason. Give yourself permission to feel well and at peace with your decision, no matter what anyone else says—because, trust me, people WILL say things.

Have a game plan 

Moving in itself is overwhelming, but when you have a game plan, you alleviate loads of stress. Schedule out the days and times you have to pack and move, and then fill in the times with the rooms you’ll clean and pack. Be patient with yourself when you don’t accomplish all that you set out to do in a day. If you’re feeling especially stressed… 

Ask for help 

From God, from friends, from family. You don’t have to do this alone. People genuinely want to help, and when you give them opportunities to help, they’ll make it happen. If you just feel really overwhelmed and on the verge of an emotional breakdown, pray for help from a higher power. God will give you the strength to keep going. 

Write everything down – Don’t try to remember all the details 

Do you ever find yourself in the midst of a trivial task—like washing dishes, doing laundry, or driving—and you think of a million things you need to get done? Instead of stressing out trying to remember all these nitty gritty details, WRITE them down—on a napkin, a sticky note, your planner… wherever you can write it down, and then get to it when you can (obviously if you’re driving, write them down once you’re safely parked). Writing things down essentially tells your mind, “It’s ok… I wrote it down so you can stop worrying about it.” Your nerves calm down and then you can feel at peace. 

Know that this moment will pass, and create opportunities from obstacles 

Unless you’re someone who travels and moves frequently, know that you won’t be moving forever. This time will pass and soon you will be settled in your new place. 

If you do live a transient lifestyle and the frequent change makes you anxious or stressed, see this as an opportunity to learn, grow, and strengthen your resilience. Follow the tips outlined here and do things one step at a time. In time, your resilience grows stronger, and moving just becomes another common scenario in life. 

You got this!!! 

Whether you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious about moving, know that you got this! You can be happy and experience peace, even in the most stressful times of life. The more you focus on the positives and gratitude, choosing your stresses, the happier you’ll feel. You’ll appreciate this time of transition, enjoying the journey instead of just enduring. “Hau’oli” means happiness in Hawaiian, and I wish that (and more) for you on your journey of moving! You can do it! 

Sending aloha and joy, 


Leialoha is the author of “Naturally Aloha,” a travel and lifestyle blog focusing on creating paradise wherever you are. Inspired by the culture of Hawaii and her own experiences, Leialoha’s mission is to help people change their mindset + learn simple Hawaiian principles to achieve daily wellness and happiness. She firmly believes that “bringing Aloha home” will help people achieve their dreams, whether they desire to travel to Hawaii or just live a more fulfilling and happier life. She also shares traveling tips and tricks for those who want to visit Hawaii. And when she’s not writing or creating content, she’s probably eating or hanging out with her husband. 🙂 Aside from her blog, you can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.

Kara Paul

Travel & Lifestyle Blogger. I'm a wife 💍, explorer🗺, writer👩‍💻, and globetrotter🌍.

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