Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Taking Time - 6 Tips For Effectively Managing Relationship Stress

Trust me, I've been quite stressed lately. I don't actually know many people that aren't stressed. Hopefully these tips by a reader will help you if your stress is affecting your relationship with your significant other.

Feel like you’ve had enough? Juggling work, kids and life can be hard enough without dealing with stress arising from your significant other. It feels like when it rains… it POURS!

On top of this, if your spouse just seems to care more about how your crankiness impacts him, rather than being understanding of the reasons you feel that way, and doing something practical to alleviate the situation, it can be very frustrating.

But, before you let this stress damage your relationship, have a read of these 6 tips for effectively managing relationship stress.

1. Communicate your feelings

There are so many things that can push your buttons when it comes to relationships. It’s so easy to lose it when your partner takes out the trash only once in blue moon, or the mother-in-law makes yet another back-handed compliment (with no one stepping in to defend you).

Focus on your feelings beneath the anger, rather than just yelling. Have you tried talking it out with your partner? It may relate to a sense of under appreciation or something else, but the point is to open up an honest dialogue in order to address why certain things are triggering stress in your relationship.

2. Just breathe

Whether it’s finding out your 8-year-old has been using snapchat, having to explain to your youngest what happened to the dead guinea pig, or standing hour in line for some new gizmo on the xmas wish list... all this can lead to you lashing out at your partner BIG TIME!

To calm down, you need to slow your ever-quickening intake of breath. Take a few slow, deep breaths. This will allow you to think more clearly and thereby lower your heart rate/stress level. Even if it doesn't save your relationship...it may just help you from getting any more grey hairs!

3. Appreciate the smaller things

Stay grounded by appreciating the smaller things. It may sound a bit like some ‘new age mumbo jumbo’, but it’s easy to forget what’s important until you no longer have it. So, whether it’s listening to music, doing some gardening, or just allowing yourself to curl up on the couch with some wine and cheese (without a major case of the guilts), do what makes you feel happy and content.

When your partner does do something nice (even if it’s small or rare these days) try to make way for some gratitude. It’s a flow-on-effect. More smiles equals less stress ...and much happier relationships!

4. Practice healthy detachment

As a modern parent it’s easy enough to be bombarded by so many competing things on a daily basis, and you can be too tough on yourself. Don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations and don’t overextend yourself because you can and will face burnout. Accept that sometimes you do bite off more than you can chew.

Think about practicing healthy detachment. This means that it’s not your job to fix everything, you don’t always have to fully engage and you CAN get off the roller-coaster! It’s a lightning bulb moment when you do master this technique, and a healthy sense of detachment can work wonders for a relationship.

5. Reframe your perspective

Adjusting your perspective is always a good idea. You can focus on the positive qualities that your partner possesses… or, the negative. It’s ultimately up to you which way you look at it. If you do find that it’s really not working for you anymore, remember it’s NEVER too late to turn the page on a life chapter.

Don’t do things by half measure as it’s ultimately your happiness on the line. So, take a stand one way or the other. This will allow you to let go of the emotional turmoil and move on!

6. Take time out

Sometimes it’s just time to take a ‘time out’. Plain and simple...your need some space. This might be a temporary situation, or it could possibly be something more permanent. But, you’ll never be able to make that assessment without taking a step back.

Consider contacting a family lawyer if separation is on the agenda. Sometimes, problems can be more situational than behavioural, but you have to have enough room for clarity in figuring that out. You may also wish to seek professional relationship counselling.

Simmer down on relationship stress

If relationships have you tearing your hair out… and let’s be honest that’s what they do most of the time, make sure you take the time to simmer down and recalibrate. This can be ‘make or break’ territory for your love life. At the very least, it certainly keeps you (and your neighbours) from feeling very overwhelmed, and may help improve your relationship in the long run.

See my disclaimer.