Lately, I’ve been thinking about how even positive events in our life create stress. As a mom, I’ve noticed the positive growth of my children over the summer. My middle child learned to ride a bike and dive off of the diving board. My youngest mastered basketball and baseball camps as one of the younger players. My oldest has grown more confident walking by herself in the neighborhood without an adult. Yet, as I watched them walk to the bus this week for the start of school, I was struck by the realization that growing up is stressful, even when it is positive.
As a therapist and practice owner in the Bethesda/Washington DC area, I’ve experienced an abundance of positive growth over the past few years. I’ve added another specialty as an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist. Here at The Sibley Group, we’ve added several specialized therapists to our growing team. And, we’ve outgrown our office space and are planning a move to a larger office space in the fall. We are moving from our office of over 10 years in October! (Don’t worry, we are still in NWDC and less than a mile away from our current location). While all wonderful events, these happenings have made for a stressful summer–the stress of integrating another clinical offering into my busy schedule, the stress of managing new (albeit wonderful!) employees, and the stress of making decisions about moving and renovating new office space.
So I started thinking about the questions–what is the difference between positive stress (eustress) and negative stress (distress)? Eustress is generally short-term and usually something we can handle; it can result in positive energy and can improve performance in our daily living. Distress is usually unpleasant, depleting, and unmanageable; it could be short or long-term, yet often it decreases our overall performance. My staff additions and office expansion are examples of eustress–they are positive events that can be managed and will only improve how we operate as a practice for families and couples. Since my children are developing healthfully as of yet, my children’s developmental gains are also good examples of eustress. In some ways, my positive growth professionally can be compared to my children’s developmental growth; and both can benefit from some of the same coping strategies. So how do we manage our positive events in life that might cause us stress in order to prevent distress? As I worked over the summer to prepare for our upcoming move, here are a few thoughts that came to mind.
Get very organized.
Ask for and accept as much help as you can.
Focus on what is most important.
Acknowledge both big and small successes.
Keep trying when you don’t succeed or hit roadblocks.
Consider the big picture.
Rest assured with good information.
Be patient (my hardest!).
Enjoy the process.
When in need, hire experts.
Communicate well and often.
I look forward to sharing our new space with our clients, our colleagues, and our new neighbors~Please look for announcements about our upcoming Professionals Open House and Community Open House!