I took a lot of things into consideration when deciding whether or not to pick up my life and move 600 miles away. I thought about my friends, my family, my house. I considered the “brain drain” phenomenon, access to quality health care, and the pride and gratitude that I feel about being Canadian. I listed pros and cons.
The decision felt scary. It was (and still is) scary.
After some deep introspection, I realized that while I was scared to uproot my life, there was one fear that was far surpassing any of my other worries: I was scared of stress.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of making such a big change. I was scared that the decisions, details, and drama would be too much to take. Most of all, I was worried that this transition would bring up all of my old demons: the control freak, the worrywart, the person who needed antidepressants to get through the pressure of being a grad student.
To be honest, I’m still afraid of these things.
But here’s what I’ve learned:
I am an immensely resilient human being. Life has thrown me many challenges, but as my husband likes to remind me, I “kill it” every time. I’ve climbed mountains, molehills, and everything in between. I’ve been brought to my knees with grief, fear, and sadness. I’ve made myself sick from worry. I’ve fallen. Hard.
But I always get up. I always keep going. I always try to show up in the world as the best possible version of myself.
Because the truth of the matter is that no matter what happens today, the sun will always come up tomorrow. I am unfathomably blessed. I am healthy, strong, and whole. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and the support of people who love me.
So do you.
Unlike my childhood and early adulthood, I now have an arsenal of tools to help me kick stress to the curb. I’ve replaced antidepressants with yoga, meditation, healthy food, time in nature, and self-care.
The trick is that I need to be willing to use my tools.
This isn’t about a quick fix, about popping a pill every day. This is about embracing a radical shift in lifestyle. Instead of seeing my well-being as a fringe benefit that I’ll get to when I have time, I now know that the only way for me to do what I’m meant to do in this world is to place my mental, physical, and spiritual health at the top of my priority list.
If you’re facing a scary life decision, check in and ask yourself, “Am I scared because this isn’t the right move for me, or am I scared of the stress that might come along with making such a big change?”
Only you know the answers. But I will tell you this: Choosing comfortable over self-growth always leads to regret. Growth, by definition, is scary. You’re entering new territory. Pushing your boundaries. Exiting your comfort zone. During these times, know two things:
Stress is normal.
You can cope.
So take the leap. Make the change. Screw stress.
Stop taking life so seriously. Remember, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
Tell me, are you scared of stress?
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
Ready for a stress detox? Check out Bethany’s online program, Stress-Less: 21 Days to Recharge, Regroup and Revitalize Your Life. 21 Days. 21 Dollars. A Totally Transformed You.
*Photo Credit: Ohfortheloveofme.com