Originally posted on Bustle
Relationships can get incredibly stressful and it’s not always your fault or partner’s fault. When you’re in a relationship with someone, you just have a whole other person’s life stress — work, family, friends, whatever — to deal with, as well as your own. It doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, but it definitely is tough. So we could also use some relationship stress help from time to time.
When the stress is coming right from your relationship or your partner, that can be even tougher. But it certainly happens— and it can get very consuming very fast. “Your partner might be draining you emotionally when you spend an unhealthy amount of time focused on intrusive thoughts,” psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. When you are thinking about what they are doing, who they are with, what they are doing with this person, or what the nature of this relationship is — this can be draining.”
So whether it’s coming from your relationship, from your partner, or just from the outside world, it’s clear that relationship stress can take a massive toll. What can you do about it? Well, there are lots of things you can do, both with your partner and by yourself, to help.
Here are the best relationship stress relievers:
1. Spend Time Together
Sometimes the source of stress is that you don’t have enough time, but you still need to make sure that you find it. “Whether it’s pillow talk, dinner conversation or time on the couch while watching TV, give yourselves plenty of time…” Tina B. Tessina, aka Dr. Romance, psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, tells Bustle. Make sure that you’re getting time just relax and be yourselves around each other.
2. Try A Phone Detox
This is helpful for any relationship stress, but it’s extra important if you’re one of those couples who doesn’t feel like they get enough time together. Putting your phone down and spending time together is so good for your relationship. Firstly, because it’ll make the time you do have together feel longer, because you’ll really be engaging with each other. Secondly, we’re because always half-distracted with a phone in our hands and, even when one is nearby, it’s a reminder of the looming work stress or whatever else we have going on. Make sure it’s out of sight, out of mind.
This old chestnut. It may be cliche, but it works. “As always, communication is preferred; while it seems juvenile, many couples experience unnecessary stress due to a lack of communication,” author and relationship expert Alexis Nicole White tells Bustle. “Communicating with your mate can simply mean to just listen. Be attentive, by demonstrating that you have heard what they’ve said by doing something to signal to them that you have heard them. If something is bothering them, do something to correct that irritation in their lives.”
Not only will it help you work through whatever stresses you’re going through, it’ll help you re-connect as a couple.
Meditation can help you deal with stress, whether it’s relationship stress that’s existed for years or that anxious feeling at the start of a relationship. “In the beginning, a part of your brain called the amygdala is sounding the alarm a lot,” Dawn Maslar, a.k.a. “the Love Biologist,” tells Bustle. “This can make you feel nervous and stressed, but you can do something to reduce the about of anxiety… Researchers have discovered that meditation actually shrinks the mass of the amygdala. With a few minutes of meditation each day, you can may turn your five-alarm fire into a quiet little chirp every now and then.”
Try it yourself and recommend your partner tries it too — or another stress-buster like exercise — so you guys are working separately and together to deal with the stress.
5. Have Alone Time
You also need to make sure you’re just getting enough time to yourself. “First, pause and take some time to reflect, alone,” Tiya Cunningham-Sumter, certified life and love coach and author of A Conversation Piece, tells Bustle. “There is power in pausing. Next, understand the source of your stress and be specific. Don’t just say it’s your partner. Name the specific behavior or action that’s causing the stress.”
Taking some time for you — and time to work out exactly what’s stressing you in the relationship — is a great step toward getting rid of the stress. Or, at the very least, thinking of constructive ways to deal.
6. Try Something New
Doing a new activity together, taking a trip to somewhere you’ve never been, or even a new restaurant can all be helpful if you’re having relationship stress. It’s a bonding experience, but also the novelty will help shake you out of any stress rut that you might be in.
7. Try Therapy
Finally, don’t be afraid to go for the big guns. If you’re having reoccurring relationship issues, but you’ve invested a lot of time together and don’t want to give up the relationship, therapy might be the answer. Maybe it’s going separately or maybe couple’s counseling is necessary, but I know a lot of people who’ve benefited from therapy in one form or another.
If you’re feeling relationship stress, remember that every couple I know — and probably every couple you know — goes through it at times. Work on it independently, and as a couple, and you should be able to push through the stress patch.