It’s so easy to worry about things — so much easier than not worrying about things. We all carry around worries and stresses in our lives, professional and/or personal. That’s reality; it’s called being a human being.

From your perspective, this time of year can be very stressful. Many of you are dealing with freezing temperatures (and a lack of business because of it), working in the snow and/or ice, high expectations, shrinking budgets, shrinking staffs, problem customers, equipment issues and long, long, long hours — just to name a few.

Welcome to working in tree care, right?

Add to the normal stress factors most of us experience like financial issues, family problems and personal health, and you’ve got the recipe for constant worrying, anxiety and pretty much a miserable existence — if you let all of these things get to you, that is.

Keep in mind, you do have a choice. Yes, you can succumb to all of these different stressors and live in a perpetual state of misery. Or, you can take the other road, the one that leads to a not-miserable existence. All you have to do is let some of it go. Put some of it down, especially the ones you can’t control.

Not long ago, I was having a discussion with a colleague, discussing how best to manage high-pressure, high-stress situations in regards to our jobs. The colleague told me that, for him, the key is this: “Being organized and having multiple plans in place make it easy to not sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.”

That really stuck with me when I heard it, and it still sticks with me to this day. Think about that – “it’s all small stuff.” What my colleague meant is that issues that bother you at work, whether you’re a tree care professional, business owner or magazine editor, shouldn’t become the “end-all, be-all” in your life when compared to your personal happiness, health and being there with and for your family and friends along life’s journey.

Let me explain further. Take this anecdote as an example:

A psychologist walks around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raises a glass of water, everyone expects they’d be asked the “half empty or half full?” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquires: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

The audience begins calling out answers ranging from 8 ounces to 20 ounces.

She replies, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed.

“In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continues, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed — incapable of doing anything. It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night.”

So, do yourself a favor and please remember to put the glass down.