Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Dear Ellen, life's perfect so why am I in tears at the least little thing?"

Feet over a ledge

Dear Ellen,

I've got a new job that I love, a new apartment that's just beautiful and I've finally met someone I think is The One. So why am I in tears at the least little thing? I feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff, about to fall off. I should be happy. 

Am I insane?


Dear So Not Crazy,

Moving house is considered one of the most stressful life events. There's all the hassle of packing and moving, which is physically demanding, plus there's the symbolic burden of ending one life and starting another.

On top of that, you have a new job.  Again, while this is wildly exciting, it means new routines, new and possibly unknown expectations, working with new people, and possibly some extra hours while you're trying to orient yourself.

Plus, in your private life you have found love.  Possibly The Love. While that's wonderful, it's also scary. There's all the pressure of wondering if it's really the partner you want to spend the rest of your life with, and all the other changes that will inspire, balanced against the fear of whether you're going to be disappointed again.

Stress is not about bad things happening to you, it's simply a reaction to change.  

That means that positive change is stressful. And my dear you're piling up change as if it's going out of fashion!  It's not at all surprising that you're uptight.

From what you say, the tears and that cliff feeling are probably just an effect of your life changes.  However, to be safe, do pop into your family doctor and ask for a quick checkup.

When you're declared perfectly healthy, pay attention to your stress. Make sure you eat properly, get your full 7 to 8 hours sleep, and keep your body moving so that it stays exercised. 

In addition, note your stress, know where it comes from, and spend some time relaxing.  A massage, a trip to the hairdresser, or a nice long movie marathon curled up with that lovely new partner - whatever makes you happily tranquil.

This letter is part of the November 2016 free agony aunt column service. As it's the last day of the month, it's the last issue.