I told my brother, Gary, that this summer I had one toe dipped in work, one in helping with my sick sister, and one in planning a wedding.

He replied, “It’s a good thing you have 10 toes!”

Doesn’t it always seem that when you are feeling maxed out, someone puts your frustration in perspective?

As I juggled a challenging job with coast to coast travel, my sister’s terminal illness, and planning my baby girl’s wedding, I sometimes wondered how I would manage. On a stress level, with 10 being high, I was hovering around 12.  And, just when I would start to get a case of the “poor me’s”, I would realize how thankful I should be.Thankful that my daughter’s wedding came at a time when it could give some happy reprieve to a sad situation. It was not unusual to be entrenched in hospice decisions, when I would get a text from my daughter that read, for example, “Do you think the cupcake liners should be yellow or silver?” I would pause, take a deep breath, and enjoy the break. Her texts and calls always seemed to come at a time when I needed a break and some fresh perspective.

I created my own terms for the types of stress I was going through. There was the “heavy stress” and then there was the “fun stress.” Fun stress was the stress I brought on myself by getting worked up over things that were in my control, like, the wedding! We made it as stressful or stress-free as we wanted, with every decision we made. Heavy stress was the stress that felt out of my control – such as making life decisions around an illness that no one could control. And, sometimes, we would get a little giddy and turn the heavy stress into fun stress. Thanks to my sister’s positive attitude and sense of humor, we were able to do that as well.

I found that creating some fun stress in my life – like planning a wedding with some guidelines and expectations – gave me fresh perspective when I found myself embroiled in my heavy stress.  I learned that it is healthiest just to lighten up and be grateful for what was going right in my world.

Think about the stress in your life — are you making what could be fun stress into heavy stress? A change in your perspective can help you step back and look at the situation differently. It may help you take some steps to make changes you need to make, or maybe even to accept the things you can’t change.

Betty Lochner_trainerBetty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website: www.cornerstone-ct.com