Life’s an adventure whose demands induce stress, more or less of it, depending on the hurdle we need to overcome.
When trying to support your spouse in dealing with stress, remember there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Thus, in assisting a stressed partner, you need to be flexible and creative.
A couple leaning on each other in the face of hardships enjoys many benefits. If you want to be one of them, you need to learn how to help someone with stress in their life.
Before you move on exploring ways to cope with stress and support your spouse, familiarize yourself more with the signs someone is experiencing stress.
Symptoms your partner is in stress
Is your partner stressed with work? Or, is it something else that is bothering him?
Whether it is a stressful job, a health crisis, or a family matter, stress can take a toll if not dealt with. Couples often become so accustomed to experiencing stress; they might overlook some of the signs:
Sleep irregularity (excessive sleep or insomnia)
Change in eating habits (overeating or loss of appetite)
Enhancing dyadic coping may impact the risk of stress-related immune disorders since research shows that partners low in dyadic coping showed immune reactivity to the stressor whereas partners high in dyadic coping did not
Better management of emotions and less impulsivity
Validation doesn’t mean you are justifying their actions or staying in the comfort zone. Validating means understanding where they are coming from and why they see things the way they do.
Try saying, “ I understand how that could be scary or overwhelming” instead of “On the bright side, you never had to deal with an illness.”
Comparing their situation to someone’s worse won’t resolve how they feel or get them any closer to the solution.
8. Brainstorm solutions together
When they are ready, and not a minute sooner, brainstorm solutions together. Ask them when they want to have that conversation and allow them to come to you.
List the alternatives and potential ways to solve the situation. Then, look at each individually and ask about the pros and cons.
Also, include a question about potential challenges they perceive could happen if they opt for a particular option. This conversation will bring clarity, and it is one of the best ways to support your spouse.
9. Know your limits
Keep in mind that you can only help them; not do it for them. Therefore, be there for them, but don’t expect too much from yourself.
You can’t control what happens to them.You can only help them go through the problem and not be alone.
Be mindful of this boundary when trying to be there for them, so you don’t end up exhausted, and they don’t feel pressured.
10. Take some things off their to-do list
You can’t solve the problem for them, but you can make other things easier, so they have more energy to deal with it. Offer to do some things instead of them.
If your partner does the grocery shopping, picks up the kids, or takes care of the car, offer to do it for them.
Never underestimate the worth of practical help. Their stress will go down as their to-do list shrinks.
11. Be more active in eating healthy
One of the first things that we neglect when we are stressed is our eating habits. We might save some time to dedicate to solving the problem by grabbing a bite out or getting some fast food.
You can be there for your partner by making sure you both can have something healthy to eat or snack on at home. It will boost your energy and make you feel good because you are doing something healthy for yourself.
12. Show you support and believe in them
While you are attempting all these different ways to support your spouse, always show your trust in their ability to overcome this. Your opinion matters to them, and it can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Regardless of how things seem, a simple “I know you can do this” can go a long way.
13. Find pleasurable activities together
If they are to have the energy to continue fighting this or any other problem, they need to find ways to re-energize. Whatever the activities you both enjoy are, make sure to put them on the to-do list.
While you are overcoming this problem, use it as an opportunity to build a list of rituals that help you battle stress regularly.
Don’t just wait to feel stressed to take care of each other and yourself. Rather prevent the problem by making sure you have ways to cope ahead of time.
14. Make time for relaxation of body and mind
A part of the stress-reducing equation needs to be relaxing activities. What can you both do on a daily basis that helps you relax, both your mind and body?
Give each other a massage, take a bath together, meditate, or do body scan exercises.
While being active in resolving the problem and getting better is important, so is decompressing.
15. Encourage further search for support
You can’t and shouldn’t take on yourself the whole weight of supporting your spouse.
Not only will it make you exhausted, but you also won’t be as effective as a network of close people can.
Encourage your partner to reach out to friends, or organize for them a night out if your partner feels too tired to do it. It will revive them and fill their batteries so they can approach the problem fresh.
16. Stay interested and check-in
Dealing with stress is not a battle; it is a war.
Therefore, short term help is not enough to support your spouse in a real sense. Come back to the topic and check in on how they are.
Don’t overdo it, but remember to ask how the situation is developing.
17. Help them find a therapist
If you notice it is becoming too much for either to bear, don’t postpone finding external help. The longer you wait, the more exhausted you will both be.
If they do not feel they can search for a therapist alone, assist them. Ask them what kind of person and approach they would prefer and present them with a few options.
18. Keep your own needs fulfilled
If you want to be there for your partner long-term, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
Who do you reach out to when they are distressed and can’t be there for you? How do you provide for yourself? Do you have your own list of engaging and relaxing activities to keep you from feeling drained?
Answers to these questions can help you support your spouse in both the short and long term.
19. Shower them with love
When you feel like there is nothing you can or offer to a stressed wife or husband, remember the power of love. Encouraging words for someone who is stressed can get you a part of the way, but physical intimacy will get you the rest of it.
You are never helpless because you can always hug them and be there for them. Stay present, and the weight of what they are feeling will decrease.
20. Stay open to new ways you can be of help
Stress differs, and so does our approach to it. As time goes by, keep updating your list of strategies to cope with stress and support your spouse.
Keep an open mind for new ways they need you to support them.
Also Watch : How To Help Your Partner with their Stress
Prolonged stress is unhealthy for partners and their relationships.
Unchecked stress can lead to relationship dissatisfaction and estrangement of partners. However, there are things you can do to mitigate its impact.
Watching someone you love go through a stressful period is difficult, but there are ways to comfort someone who is stressed.
Shower them with love, take things for their to-do list, actively listen and brainstorm solutions together.
Don’t forget the importance of taking care of yourself as well. You can’t help anyone if you are not in the state to do it.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.