COVID-19 has essentially brought our lives to a screeching halt, but we can’t remain in stasis forever. Following widespread shutdowns in the name of public health, many of us now find ourselves at one of life’s crossroads, where anything is possible. In this way, global pandemic offers an opportunity of sorts: A chance at a new life, in a new community, by relocating.
In fact, 3% of Americans have permanently or temporarily relocated as a result of COVID-19. Those numbers are expected to grow in wake of continued unemployment and mandated business closures. But job loss and financial concerns aren’t the only reasons for relocation under the threat of COVID-19. Many of those who have made a move in mid-2020 did so to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, or because their campus housing closed. Still, others want to be closer to family during these uncertain times.
Thus, major tourism hubs including Nashville are experiencing an uptick in short-term, seasonal rentals, which offer much-needed flexibility and are typically furnished. Unfortunately, not everyone who was displaced by COVID has a choice in the matter, especially where finances are concerned. Some LGBTQ young adults now find themselves back in a hostile domestic environment where pride opportunities and support are virtually non-existent.
No matter the underlying reason for your post-COVID relocation, your safety should be a top priority. Here’s how you can stay safe and keep stressors at bay as you prepare to relocate during COVID-19.
To Move or Not to Move: Making the Choice
In many ways, a looming cloud of uncertainty surrounds COVID-19, and our lives will continue to be altered by the virus into the foreseeable future. And during times of uncertainty, we’re more likely to seek comfort from the familiar, whether it’s a city we love or the laughter of our closest family members. Further, for vulnerable populations whose lives were virtually ended by COVID-19, community support is of vital importance on both a mental and physical level.
Of course, moving just isn’t an option for everyone. Those of us who are in poor physical health and/or are living with a compromised immune system shouldn’t relocate while the threat of COVID-19 still looms. The cost of moving is also prohibitive for many, especially those who have experienced job loss or significantly reduced hours and are worried about paying rent.
Yet you can still reap the benefits of a new start, even if COVID is keeping you firmly planted in your Nashville apartment. For example, upgrading your rental home can keep you busy during lengthy periods of social isolation, giving you a sense of purpose. Simple, DIY rental upgrade projects include swapping out your cabinet handles or replacing outdated tile with customizable tile stickers that are easy to remove. The best part about taking the DIY route when it comes to upgrades? You can easily revamp your living space without breaking the bank.
Reducing Stress During Your Move
And make no mistake, finances are at the forefront of nearly everyone’s minds during these uncertain times. Calculating how much rent you can afford on minimum wage is stressful enough in the best of times. Unemployment or the reduction of your working hours can compound the problem, and living independently may no longer be an option. Relocation under COVID-19 may require co-habitation with family members or close friends, in the name of saving money and reducing or eliminating rent costs altogether. The good news is that the Midwest still enjoys a lower cost of living when compared to coastal areas and major metropolitan centers.
Money matters are just the beginning when it comes to moving-related worries, however. Even if you have little to no apprehension about your upcoming move, don’t expect the experience to be completely stress-free. On the contrary, it’s in your best interest to prepare for the unexpected and be ready to flow with any changes, including those related to mask and social distancing mandates. If you’re traveling across the country, be aware that COVID regulations can vary significantly between states, or even counties.
Along with gathering as much information as you can about your new home, there are various other ways to help reduce moving-related stress. Here’s where relocating offers yet another opportunity to better your life: Moving is the perfect time to purge your possessions. In fact, minimizing your possessions is one of the easiest ways to kick stress to the curb during the relocation process.
By reducing clutter and getting rid of anything that may spark bad memories, you’re off to a healthy head start in your new home. Cultivating a positive headspace is key to ensuring a smooth transition from your old life as you settle into your new home. What’s more, that type of positivity may just fuel your search for community, which is a vital component of pandemic life.
Cultivating and Maintaining Community
Widespread isolation is one of the invisible effects of COVID-19, and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Isolation can lead to depression, substance abuse, and poor overall mental health, so it’s important to stay busy, both before and after your move. Your best bet is to seek out human connection from the comfort of your home, via online channels such as community forums and messaging apps.
You can also further your education during this time, meeting new people as a result. Once you’re firmly planted in your new home, consider enrolling in online classes, whether purely for enrichment or required courses in pursuit of a degree. In many cases, courses in fields such as professional development are completely free to residents, and can help you beef up your skill set to attract more employment offers.
Home Sweet Home
Being queer in quarantine is complicated enough, and COVID-19 made it much more so. But relocating post-pandemic doesn’t have to be. In fact, 45% of renters moving during COVID-19 have no particular concerns about relocation, whether financial or safety related. Rather than looking at your upcoming move with apprehension, try to view it as an opportunity to better your life and build stronger communities.
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