Posted by: Suzan | April 22, 2010

How to Stress Less and Thrive More with Life’s Unknown Challenges

Have you ever felt as if you were trapped in Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream? With life revving up like a bullet train and work piles resembling a small mountain range, it is easy for us to feel this way.

 As I approach my theater performances after 50 plus rehearsals, more evenings out than even my husband’s baseball schedule (Padres), I’m elated. I know it has a lot to do with how much fun I’ve been having, yet it is also because I soon reclaim 20 hours per week of my time. I’ve really missed it.

 While in the midst of my first theater experience, my dream work situation arrived. I don’t believe there is ‘perfect timing.’ Life happens when it happens, so we must be ready to climb aboard. I did this by saying yes, showing up, and combining my new work experience as a trainer in an unfamiliar field with theater rehearsals. With so much to learn this train is moving fast, yet I’m hanging on.

 Then recently my husband accepted an additional, extensive work project. Not here in San Diego where we live. In Cincinnati, Ohio. So he’s away just when I could appreciate some big hugs from my dearest friend. Yet I realize it is a positive career move for him, and temporary, even though he doesn’t yet know exactly how long. He insisted to be flown back for each week-end of my performances, and I’m grateful he’ll be in the audience. With the bright lights on the stage, I won’t see him. Knowing he’ll be there brings me joy.

 So, how does one cope with this current pace of life? Do we cling on and suppress our screams? So often our day-to-day realities require every ounce of energy, courage, and willingness. We aren’t meant to muffle our voices or hold our breath. This is when we must embrace self-care, set healthy boundaries, and allow our voices to be heard.

 Here are five suggestions on how to deal effectively with life’s unknown challenges:

  • Be mindful. Stay in the present. Do not anticipate negative things which may occur. Handle things as they happen rather than making up stories and suffering needlessly.
  • Avoid distractions and anything unnecessary. Focus only on your top priorities. By doing this you are putting yourself first.
  • Be patient with yourself. If you are beginning something brand new accept that it will take some time to ‘learn the ropes.’ Don’t use the ropes to hang yourself!
  • Re-frame situations. For example, I’m choosing to use the time Jim is away to enjoy the freedom in time alone; and to get a lot of my work accomplished. I sure appreciate him more when he is around!
  • Set healthy boundaries. For example, I asked to be excused completely or early from some of my rehearsals to accommodate my new training schedule with work. During the two weeks with performances, I told my new colleagues I could only work a light schedule. I ensure I have time for rest, daily exercise, and mindful eating practices. My health and energy are at stake, and I rely upon them to get me through life’s unknown challenges.


  1. You sound like you’re really thriving. Good tips on how to minimize stress and maximize joy. You are so talented, acting, coaching, writing. Inspiring!


    • Thanks, Gina. I feel very blessed with the gifts I have. I appreciate your support : )



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