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#15 Positive Practices Stress Less Series III Stress and Relationships: How to Navigate the Tough Stuff

focus frustration honest talk mindset stress stressful situation Jan 25, 2016

Stress and Relationships: How to Navigate the Tough Stuff


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         Have you ever been guilty of taking your stress out on someone like your kids or spouse? Has someone you live with been able to sense your stress before you get completely through the door at the end of the day?

          It’s quite natural for stress from one area of our life to seep into other areas. When you are feeling stress in other areas of your life and it is affecting your relationships, try doing a “pre-emptive strike.” Before your frustration starts to bubble over, have an honest talk with the people closest to you. Let them know that you’re facing a stressful period. Reassure them that it is not about them, but about another issue you’re facing. (Unless, of course, it is about them, but that’s a different message.)

The talk may go something like this:

          “I’m anticipating a lot of stress over the next two weeks at work. My boss has asked me to complete a project on a short deadline, and I’m working with a colleague that is difficult for me to get along with. I may be grumpier than normal, but I want you to know it’s not about you. I’ll try not to bring my stress home, but you’ll probably see the stress on my face and hear it in my voice. So I appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.”

         Those words in and of themselves can help any relationship navigate through stressful times. Clarify this, and you will have more peace during your stressful time, because your loved ones will feel like a teammate, not an adversary. This alone will lighten your load.

          My biggest relationship stress is between my children and myself.  If I'm stressed I find myself taking it on them.  Shoes in hallway...give me your phone. Thankfully through mindfulness and often just going to a room alone for a few minutes I can recognize I am over reacting due to some other stressful event I haven't delt with. The shoes in the hallway were just a simple annoyance and I could easily ask my child to please come get them.  This is a perfect time for a "do-over".

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