Stress can be terrible for relationships. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right kind of support and de-stressing activities, a loving relationship could be just the tonic you need to keep stress levels manageable. Here are our top stress-busting tips for people in relationships.
Share the burden
Keep an eye on your partner’s stress levels, and step in to help out when you can. We’re not saying you should micro-monitor your partner’s every mood. But, sometimes, it’s helpful to have someone there to pick up the slack when you’re pressured. If you can tell that your partner is struggling with stress, there are always little things you can do to ease their burden. Do the washing up, take out the bins, sweep the floor…Small things like a pile of dirty dishes can really add up when you’re stressed. Taking care of those little things will give them the time and mental energy they need to tackle the bigger things.
Talk things through
Talking, as we all know, can be very good for expressing and relieving negative emotions. It’s not for everyone (pressuring someone to talk about what’s stressing them out when they don’t want to can, in fact, make things a lot worse) but, for many people, talking can help their stressors to feel less weighty. If you’re the one doing the talking, be honest, polite and unashamed of the way in which you feel. If you’re the one doing the listening, be non-judgemental, and understand that offering ‘solutions’ may not be welcome. Unless they’re specifically asking for solutions, your priority should be comforting your partner. Sometimes, we just need to vent!
Offering your stressed out partner a massage is not just a lovely romantic gesture, it could also make a tangible difference to their stress levels. For many of us, being touched by another human - especially in a relaxing environment - sends signals to the brain that everything is ok. So, pop on some soothing music, find an oil that you both like, and brush up on your massage skills!
Go for a walk together
Something as simple as going for a walk can work wonders for stress levels. Exercise and getting outside are both great stress busters. Plus, a stroll with your partner will give you space and time in which to talk, to bond, and to generally enjoy yourselves outside of your normal environment. Perhaps throw in some beautiful scenery or (/and!) a destination pub, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect, romantic, and relaxing date.
Give each other space
This one can be difficult to process (particularly if you yourself are also stressed and seeking comfort), but sometimes the best thing you can do for a stressed-out partner is to leave them alone for a bit. If they ask for space while they work through their stress, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t value you or appreciate your input. It may simply be that they’re an introvert, who is drained by company (however much they love that company!) and needs all their energy to focus. Knowing when to step forward with comfort and when to step back and let them tackle things on their own is not always easy. If you’re not sure - ask. Honest and judgement-free communication is crucial to getting this balance right.