Big events that are supposed to be enjoyable can be surprisingly stressful - especially milestones like getting married, having kids, or taking your dream vacation. Experts point out that anything that disrupts our daily routine, and tosses in big emotions, can create severe stress. For example:
- Getting a new job, or a promotion - where you're faced with your boss's expectations, a learning curve, new people, and new environments. In fact, 3-in-5 managers say the stress of a new position is only slightly less than the stress of getting divorced. The fix? Divide big goals into smaller ones so they're not as daunting.
- Birthdays - especially biggies, like 40. They're a yearly reminder that we're getting older - they bring up past regrets, and uncertainty about the future. How can you reduce birthday stress? Practice mindfulness to help keep yourself in the moment - like focusing on conversations with friends instead of stressing about your regrets or future.
- Being engaged can also be super-stressful. According to the wedding website The Knot, half of brides find wedding planning very stressful. To cut the stress, focus on what's really important. In other words, having your grandma at the wedding is crucial - having specific flowers is not.
- Retiring. A lot of people find that leaving work and adjusting to a more low-key lifestyle is a huge source of stress and anxiety - especially for people who were workaholics. The fix? Add structure and purpose to your life with a new hobby or activity, so the transition isn't so abrupt.