Between the daily news, upcoming elections, financial uncertainty, and ever-changing school situations, stress is inescapable. According to the APA (American Psychiatric Association), over 68% of adults in the US say the upcoming 2020 election is a significant source of stress in their life. Those closest to you, such as your partner, will feel the effects of your stress. An article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that in otherwise healthy couples, 80% agreed that during stressful times, such as political turmoil, they feel less sure of their relationship or partner and report higher levels of disconnect and insecurity.
When stress becomes a chronic lifestyle, relationships begin to crumble. Having a healthy relationship is correlated with a good quality of life and sense of well-being. Couples who manage stress well also have less stressed out children. Below are some signs that stress is taking a toll on your relationship.
Signs of stress in your relationship:
· You can no longer talk without having an argument or fight. Everything is taken personally and clouds your reality. The higher your stress level, the less tolerant you are for anyone or any discussion that doesn’t go your way.
· You feel more irritable. When you’re stressed, you have a harder time seeing the positive or good in anything.
· You begin looking to others for validation or understanding. Excessive stress makes you feel as though your partner doesn’t understand or validate you.
· You feel uncertain about your relationship. If you can’t agree on politics or other issues, you begin feeling less connected to your partner. This contributes to feeling angry and less interested in your partner intimately.
De-stressing to save your relationships begins with you. Below are some methods to begin de-stressing together and on your own:
· Create a plan with your partner. Encourage each other to exercise and get back on each other’s support team. Doing one thing each day that helps calm your partner makes them feel more supported.
· Do what you need to do to calm yourself. Stay away from topics that upset you. Take a meditation class online, listen to music, see your health care professional, watch old movies, or call a friend. You need to manage your stress because only you can manage your thoughts.
· Exchange duties so each of you gets time to relax. No one person in a relationship can do it all. Being part of a relationship means taking more of the load when your partner is stressed.
· Prioritize your relationship. Having balance means some days will be good and others not so good. Your relationship doesn’t have to be perfect nor does it have to be a fairy tale. You don’t need to agree on all the issues, so keep your relationship separate from the stress of the world. Being able to laugh at the craziness and lean on each other is far better than trying to do it all on your own.
· Don’t be afraid to accept help. When life gets hectic, don’t forget those who support you. Asking for help from your parents and friends and seeking healthcare when you need it is a step in the right direction.
Stress is here to stay, but it’s up to you how damaging the stress will be to your relationship. Having awareness and a plan of action for life’s unsettled times is good for you and your relationship.