Helping Your Spouse Cope With Work Stress
In our daily struggle to manage deadlines and juggle multiple responsibilities, we end up accumulating toxic work stress that affects our relationships outside work. In such situations, what can you do as a partner to relieve the stress of your spouse and strengthen your marriage? Read on!
In today’s fast-paced world, every new day brings a new challenge, along with a generous helping of stress. From various areas in both our professional and personal lives, stress is increasingly becoming a key player in our lives but doesn’t have to be. We have compiled a few useful tips and hope it would be of use to you in better understanding your spouse and help you in dealing with a stressed partner.
On average, an individual spends anywhere from six to eight hours at the workplace and ends up accumulating most of their stress at the office while dealing with various professional commitments and pressures pertaining to their career. This stress is then carried forward to their homes, where it is often manifested in the form of irritation and frustration at minor issues. These minor issues can sometimes snowball into major arguments and affect your relationship with your spouse. Additionally, if stress is not managed appropriately, it can lead to anxiety and depression and may even cause you to withdraw within and isolate yourself from the world.
Not only does stress affect relationships, but it also has an impact on your health. It is therefore extremely important to manage work-related stress in due time. It is always helpful if you have someone to share your problems with and lean on when the going gets tough. If you’re married, your spouse can be your biggest strength during such times. We are often asked by our readers, on how they could better handle and encourage their spouses when they are experiencing stress.
Dealing with a stressed partner
Here a few points to keep in mind when dealing with a stressed partner:
Identifying the symptoms of stress
It is important to recognise and identify a problem in order to resolve it. As individuals constantly on the run, we have become so accustomed to unchecked stress that we end up overlooking or ignoring it. This pent up stress can have destructive consequences if not addressed in time.
What are some common signs of stress that should ring warning bells? Observe your partner’s behaviour and check if your spouse is cranky, withdrawn, moody, snappy, restless, agitated, overly excited, easily teary or angry. These are some easily recognisable symptoms of stress.
Further, pay attention if your spouse is self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, food or any substance or behaviour that you think may show signs of subtle addiction. Once you recognise this, approach your partner with a compassionate demeanour and ask if something is bothering them and if they would like to share. Once your spouse opens up to you, you can proceed with offering them the much-needed support they are no doubt craving.
Actively listen to Your Spouse
When you’ve had a bad day at work, all you want is to go back to the comfort of your home and talk to your significant other who you hope would listen and relate with your situation. In households where both partners work fulltime, chances are that both of you will return home tired and exhausted after a long day at the office.
In such situations, it is possible that when your spouse is recounting his/her irritations you may not be completely invested in the story. You might feel distracted or too tired to listen to their frustrations which is likely to trigger more frustration at their end.
Be patient and actively listen to your partner; take in every word with undivided attention and allow your partner to vent out everything without interrupting them in the middle. Sometimes, simply listening to them can make them feel a lot better.
Offer Support and Discuss Solutions
Having someone who will support you in all your ups and downs in life is a blessing. Be that one person for your spouse, whom he/she can turn to for support and encouragement in times of distress.
However, in order to become that person, you need to empathise and sympathise with your partner when he/she is feeling low, without being overly judgemental. Do not belittle or trivialize their troubles or bring up your own problems when your spouse is sharing their frustrations with you. Listen to their problems, understand their situation and discuss all possible ways to resolve the problem.
Ask questions to understand the whole situation and then offer your perspective. Healthy discussions often lead to ideas and interpretations that your partner may not have considered before. These newfound perspectives can really help your spouse to view, and deal, with the situation differently. Ensure them at the end of the conversation, that you will be there to help in whatever way you can.
Encourage them to pursue their interests and connect with friends
Encourage your partner to actively pursue hobbies, or sports, and to have a life outside of work and home. Pursuing hobbies can result in personal happiness and satisfaction and will make a world of difference for your stressed-out spouse.
Engage in activities that both of you enjoy, or seek the company of like-minded friends. By connecting with old friends or cultivating new friendships, your partner can feel much better. Spending quality time with family and close friends can do wonders in relieving stress.
Stress is omnipresent in everyone’s lives, but not many want to address the issue and deal with it when it is at its initial stages. It is that elephant in the room, which must not be avoided at any cost. Stress that is not dealt with appropriately and in due time, can lead to a disconnect between partners and may sabotage a healthy relationship.
Keep these pointers in mind if you are someone who suspects your spouse may be showing signs of stress, and let us know if they worked for you in the comments below!