The four biggest stressors in life are: Marriage, Having Children, Moving and Starting a New Job. Of course, there are many of stressors in life but I believe these four can be the biggest largely because they are life changes that you continue to live with and develop over many years. It is often a struggle to go through just one of these. But what if you go through multiple stressors at one time? How do you manage that?
In the last six months I have successful managed to get married, move halfway across the country and start a new job (just this week). While my fingers are crossed that we won’t experience the fourth stressor (having children), this year, you never know what God might have in store. But as a result of experiencing three of the four biggest stressors in life, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to move through these life changes with ease. Hopefully they will help you live through one, two or possibly all four life changes.
1. Make sure you have a solid partner – Of course, this may not be available all the time but I am making the assumption that, if you are going through the life change of marriage or having children, you have a husband/wife experiencing this change with you. If you do not have a partner that can support you when you are crumbling under the pressure or don’t know what to do (like trying to back up a uHaul with a trailer in a motel parking lot), then these will be infinitely more challenging. Any of these changes, on your own, can be defeating. Having something there to encourage you, pick up your slack occasionally and ultimately yell at rude drivers with you can be a huge help. If you are moving or changing jobs, make sure you find partnership in your friendships. In major life changes, like these four, your truest friends will really rally in support of you so take advantage!
2. Call in all favors! – Moving, especially, can be absolutely exhausting. Your friends (and any family that lives close) love you and are available to help. So don’t be afraid to ask! One of our biggest regrets was not getting ourselves organized enough to truly utilize the help we were offered. Don’t make that mistake yourself. And be willing to step in and help other people if they are moving, doing craft time (or wood shop) for a wedding or need to take a 15 minute shower for the first time since having a baby. The good energy and support will come in handy when it is your turn to ask for help, and this will inevitably happen.
3. Have a plan – Think of how much time and energy people put in to planning the perfect wedding. We should, undoubtedly, be putting the same or more energy in to the other three stressors: children, moving and work. Make sure you are approaching each with education, research and lots of conversation. These four things are not great places to allow for spontaneity or going with the flow. To ensure that you have captured all the necessary tasks you need to do, it is important to think ahead.
4. Be in the moment as much as possible – While each of these moments are significant life events, they are fleeting. Before you know it, you are in the car on your honeymoon and hardly remember what happened at the wedding. Or you turn around for a moment and turn back to see your newborn baby is six months old. Or maybe you drive for 16 hours on day 2 of your journey to your new home, determined to not have to stop another night. Life does not stick around and wait for us to notice what is happening. It keeps moving. I remember ready or hearing something about how life keeps going faster as you get older because the percentage of life you have left to live keeps getting shorter. That may be a little morbid but it certainly feels as though life gets faster each year that we live it. So be present, as much as possible. One day, you might find that you didn’t take advantage of the things you had when you had them.
Hopefully your stressors (and any other life journeys) are successful and that these tips help you make the most of them!