How to Handle Stress in Your Relationship

It is not easy to compartmentalize stress. Issues from work may bug you at home. Stress over your financial situation can pile onto the responsibilities you have in your relationship. 

Don’t let outside issues put a strain on an otherwise healthy relationship. Use these tips to help you and your partner manage stress. 

Stress Prevention Tips 

  • Get outside and get active! Studies show that even five minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging, swimming, biking, etc.) can reduce stress. 
  • Hit the hay. Even if you can’t shoot for the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, adding just one hour of sleep to your day will help to reduce stress and increase positive emotions.
  • Take a few minutes to meditate each day. Let thoughts come and go without judgment. Practice acknowledging these thoughts without chasing them. Apply this practice when stressful thoughts come up throughout the day.

How to Recognize Stress 

  • Stress and sleep affect each other. If you are tossing and turning at night, you might need to take direct action to combat stress.
  • Keep a journal and let your thoughts out on the page. You may start to notice patterns about what is on your mind. Focus on dealing with these problems.
  • When you start to feel upset over your relationship, take a step back. Ask yourself, “Is there something else that could be bugging me? Work? Finances? Health?”
  • Take some time to focus on the muscles throughout your body. Are you clenching your jaw? Do your hips feel tense? We hold stress in many different places. Even just focusing on releasing this tension can help to alleviate stress.

Stress Management Tips from Oregon Relationship Therapists

  • Create a routine that helps you de-stress. Exercise or stretch in the mornings. Give yourself an hour at night before bed to read or turn off your screens. Recognize the routine that brings you the most relief. Then pursue that routine daily.
  • Talk to your partner about stress. They may not understand that your work, finances, or past traumas are causing you to lash out.
  • If you see that your partner is stressed, let them talk about what’s bugging them. You may not understand their work drama or feel stressed about issues within your partner’s family. But understand that their feelings are valid. And show your support. 
  • When you do listen to your partner vent, ask them what they would like from the interaction. Do they want advice? Do they want you to just listen? Do they want you to take action? Ask this beforehand so you know what your role is in the conversation.

Talk to Oregon relationship therapists about how to have an effective discussion around stress. Tim Hidgon or Norene Gonsiewski have 60 combined years of helping couples handle stress and grow together.