Reader Challenge

Postitivity Challenge Week 22: High Stress Rising

First, I have to start with some apologies for the extended, somewhat unplanned hiatus of the Positivity Challenge. What started as a couple of weeks for vacation turned into much more (which I’ll explain in a moment). After this week’s Challenge, we’ll have a few more weeks of hiatus, but I promise I’ll be back in the fall with more challenges and wallpapers for you.

An image of a computer keyboard with a red key reading "PANIC"
Image: PANIC!, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from krystenn’s photostream)

These few weeks of hiatus have turned into an exercise of dealing with High Stress in short periods of time and they’ve definitely been a test to my positivity levels at times. What’s been going on? Well, shortly before my husband and I had a vacation planned, we got some great news: he’d be getting a job offer for a company he interviewed with. The job would require a cross-country move, though. While we were out of town, details were getting worked out, and the week we came back, we could celebrate with his family about our impending move. When we got home, it was feet on the ground as we needed to find a place, figure out how to get our stuff there, and our cars, and our puppy, and try to do it all in the least stressful but most affordable way possible. Oh, and did I mention, my thirtieth birthday was smack dab in the middle of all this?

While this was all great, exciting stuff, the list of stress-inducing questions or things to do just kept growing and growing. My husband was home for a few days and then out to California to look for places. His search was disheartening and depressing at first, but got better as we adjusted our expectations and eventually he found a perfect place for us. Trying to figure out whether we were going to drive my car across the country or ship it and fly myself and the pup out put me in a limbo where I couldn’t have a set plan for leaving. Getting all of our stuff packed up and loaded into a POD so that everything could be almost done before my husband left (his first day at work was yesterday) was another challenge. In the midst of all this, my milestone birthday got kind of devoured by packing and moving preparations, which was a little sad.

I’ve been using a few tactics to combat negativity during the process:

  • Focusing on the Positive: Yes, it sucked that my initial birthday plans of midnight Batman viewing and a huge party the next day got pushed back to a compromise of definitely¬†seeing the movie on Friday… and then Saturday… and, as it turned out, not until Monday… alone. But I was still surrounded by friends and family, with a full belly of a delicious dinner from my mom. And my best friend drove eight hours to spend the weekend with us, knowing that she and her boyfriend would be enlisted to help move, tag along taking my husband to the airport, and have to sleep in a TV and furniture-less apartment. My husband, friends, and family did their best to make my birthday as special as it possibly could be and that’s love. Besides, I guess I’ll just have an excuse to turn 30 again next year.
  • Planning to Reduce Stress: Lists, lists, and more lists have been my friend during this. Lists of what to pack first, lists of what services to call to have what shut off when, lists of questions to ask at this appointment and that appointment. Segregating areas of the apartment helped, too: the porch is for trash, one corner is for stuff going with me to my parents’ until I leave, one corner is stuff going in the car, one closet is stuff to drop off at a charity shop, and another is donations to my local community theatre. Having a place for everything made it easier to look around and not get overwhelmed at what was left to do.
  • Support Support Support: When my husband had the hard task of flying out to a place he’d been once before and finding a suitable apartment in our price range, all I could do was support. He had all the stress on him, poor guy. I did as much research as I could, emailed him directions and links, sent him my thoughts on the places he sent me and just reassured him that this was a good thing and we were making the right move and yes, we would find the perfect place. I kept reminding myself that I needed to emanate positivity to help him.
  • Let It Out: And, eventually, I needed to just let it out at one point. One night, after people had left, and I just couldn’t make any more lists or answer any more questions about what needed to be done when, I just let it out. I explained to my husband my sadness as the loss of my birthday and that I understood that this was a good thing and there was no one to blame, but it just sucked a lot. I asked him for comfort, for taking it a little easy on me. I communicated to him what I needed and he gave me the time and the space to feel my feelings. This communication avoided me holding it all inside and blowing up at some point, which never helps the stress level of any situation.
This Week’s Challenge

When you approach a high stress time, look at ways that you can counter-act the impending negativity that comes along with stress. Figure out what your process is… your recipe for positivity. Different stress needs different tactics, so make sure that your tool belt is full of ways to bring positivity in.


I’ll be taking another break for about a month to let myself get settled out in our new place, but I’ll be back in late August or early September with more challenges, more mantras, and more positivity!

By Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses.

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