Sometimes I listen to all the things that are going on in a client´s life and realize how easy it is to keep filling our own plate without ever acknowledging how full it has gotten. And sometimes it is just that acknowledgement that can make a big difference and bring some relief.
In psychology there is a system of "life points" for major events in life. Each event counts for a number of points. The points get added up and give a score about how much stress a person has from major life events on top of daily life. Now there are the obvious events like death of a loved one, divorce or loss of a job. But what might surprise you, there are just as many points for events like getting married, having a child, or getting a dream job.
What they all have in common is that they mean major changes for our daily life, for our routines. There is a lot of not-knowing involved. All that - whether bad or good - is stressing us out. The thing is, there is also a social aspect to it. There is a lot of social support when bad things happen to us. It is easily understood how distressing it is when we loose someone or when we are in a tough spot in life. But there is not much understanding when the most wonderful things happen in life. We have no place to go with our stress then (other than professionals). Also, how could we possibly complain?! We don´t even think of it as stress ourselves, when great things happen in our lives.
That missing acknowledgement of how stressful a happy life event can be, adds even more stress. We don´t stop to think that our energies might be challenged by the change going on. We expect to get just as much done as usual - for example having a child should not change anything around our usual things we take care of. But the truth is, it does change a lot. It is not possible to go on as if nothing had changed.
I always find it brings my clients relief once I acknowledge how much change they are going through and how it amazes me that they are still asking so much of themselves. It opens their eyes, and they start to be more gentle with themselves. Then they start to relax and to incorporate the changes into the whole picture and are making healthier and less stressful decisions for themselves.
We all tend to ask the most of ourselves and can get a bit overboard with what we expect from ourselves. Sometimes it is good to remember that we are just like every one else: human.