Monday, December 17, 2018

I stress, eustress

As we get ready to wrap up 2018, I can’t help but think of all the changes there have been in my life in the last year. Most of them have been really great. Here are some of the big ones.

1.     I quit all my jobs and got a salaried position. This year when Christmas break arrives it will include paid time off for the first time in four years.
2.     I took a sabbatical from my wellness business. I needed to prioritize personal happiness over professional greatness. I had the entire summer to travel, attend special events, and truly enjoy my life rather than just stage it for social media.
3.     Probably the biggest change of all is that I fell in love this year. Swoon. If you know my story, you know what a huge flipping deal that is.

Basically, the last 11 months have been like a movie montage with Natasha Bedingfield in the background singing, “Feel the rain on your skin…” 2018 has been one of the happiest years I’ve had in a long time. Insert freak out right about here.

Freak out? Why, you might ask. Well, it’s all because of eustress. Eustress is stress that we subjectively experience as positive. It usually comes from exciting changes such as the ones mentioned above. But, you have to realize that eustress makes you stress too.

Have you been there before? Maybe it’s the anticipation of the holidays. It could the energy around your goals for the new year. It could be life transitions such as marriage, children, graduation, or relocation. These are generally seen as good things that we welcome into our lives. But they still mess up your homeostasis for a while. So, what do you do when you stress because of eustress?

1.     Understand that when things change it takes time to adapt. It doesn’t mean you’re not happy. It just means you need time to adjust to the new. Consider talking to a counselor to help you wrap your mind around all the amazing changes that are taking place.
2.     Create a new normal. Just as you developed various rituals and habits to cope with your previous life, you can do it again in your new circumstances. It also helps to carry over old grounding techniques to remind yourself that you’re still you in the new situation.
3.     A final tip to manage eustress is to intentionally practice gratitude. No, your old life is no more. Yes, you have to make room for the new. But doesn’t the blessing of the new outweigh the familiarity of the old? When you keep the blessings of the new season in mind then you can navigate them with a heart of thankfulness.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Life is crazy and hard and scary. It’s also amazing and exciting and unpredictable in the best way. When the tide turns and you experience a season of the latter, embrace it. Hold on tight with both hands. Just give yourself tons of grace and compassion if it takes time to adjust to the new. It’s okay. I stress, you stress, we all stress because of eustress.

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