We've seen our very articulate vibrant well-educated clients become completely paralyzed during the process of moving/downsizing when they become overwhelmed.
Webster's Definition of "overwhelmed"
Here's how Webster's defines "overwhelmed":
1. upset, overthrow
2. a: to cover over completely:submerge
b. to overcome by superior force or numbers
c. to overpower in thought or feeling.
To submerge? Yes, that is really is how our clients feel. So submerged by decisions, memories and stuff that they find it difficult to breathe. With the lack of required oxygen it is merely impossible to call on the higher brain functions needed to plan and make decisions. As a result, they do nothing. Completely locked up and unable to make any decisions or take any action. We hear our clients say "I would like to move to senior housing, this house is too much to take care of. But, I'm so overwhelmed. I'm not sure where to start."
These feelings of being overwhelmed tend to happen most severely to our clients who are the big thinkers. The one's that can sit back and see the project of downsizing from the 100,000 foot view. They see the process of selling their home, and downsizing as an event - a list of tasks to complete. And wow, that list is long - no, I mean really really long. So long, that's it's easier to struggle through another winter of snow shoveling rather than move. It's just so much easier to ignore that daunting list and do nothing. Except, those feelings of wanting to move continue to surface, until they remember that long list that must be tackled to be able to move.
Just the one next thing
I'll share with you the technique we use with our clients to help get them unstuck and breathing again. It usually helps whether our clients are experiencing racing thoughts or all thought has ceased to exist because of the perception of lack of oxygen. We simply ask them
- "What is the one thing right now that is top of mind when you think about moving?"
- "You've thought about moving for years. If you had to identify the top 1 or 2 things that kept you from being able to move, what would that be?"
- "What do you need help with to be able get moved?"
Here's where my team at RE/MAX Results The Change AGEnts Group really shines. We work with our clients to get started on just the one next thing that has kept them stuck. For some of our clients the one next thing is organizing that room or that desk. (You know the one--the one that has become the catch-all for all the tidbits that enter your home that you'll get to later. Later never comes, and you know it isn't coming, but you tell yourself that anyways.) For some of our clients it is the fear of not being able to afford to move or not knowing where they will move to. All of these one next things are very easily addressed.
- Hire an organizer for 4 hours to start the process of organizing that room
- Hire a financial planner (one that doesn't sell any products) to help you figure out a realistic monthly budget
- Work with a senior housing placement specialist to help you find your next place to live.
Our team helps our clients get started with these kinds of services. There's something magical that happens when our clients don't have to tackle that very long list of tasks by themselves to get moved. They don't need to make any other decisions or worry about anything else except the one next thing. The process of downsizing a lifetime of living is a process. It isn't an event. Once our clients get that one next thing completed, and have some inertia and momentum, and they have hope. Hope is a great oxygen mask for those feeling submerged and overwhelmed.