The race for property and privilege seems to have gotten tighter over the years. Although there is more tech today than ever, people are still working just as long if not longer. There is more haste in the air and this is impacting lives on so many different levels. The stress brings health issues and even productivity suffers.
But one effect of the fast and stressful modern life you might be ignoring is its impact on your relationship. A study revealed that 52 percent of the workforce feel that the demands of work affect their relationships with their loved ones. A good number of people are overworked and in the quest for more feel that their relationship is injuring their performance. It actually turns into a cycle where stress at work spills into your relationship, and the stress that builds up in your relationship cripples your performance at your job. If the situation is not controlled, people often times start wandering. They begin to think the job is not the right fit, or worse, that they are not compatible with their partner when they actually are.
The fact that our technology has made it easy to work anywhere does not help the situation. It becomes hard to feel the shift in environments from the tensed up air of your job to the more relaxed atmosphere of your home and the company of your partner.
Work-related emails and phone calls out of work hours are still work and they rob you of the time you are supposed to spend with your partner. This upsets the work-life balance, essentially favouring the work side. But as has been said, the chaos in the relationship soon creeps back into your job.
It is of paramount importance to maintain a healthy balance between the two worlds. If you sense that things might be spinning into chaos, here are some tips to help you keep them under control.
1. Avoid Bringing Too Much of Your Work Stress into Your Relationship
Relationships are primarily for companionship and that primarily means communication. Therefore, your partner might be the best person to share your work stories with. But if these are always complaints and negative, the stress might slip into your relationship. Keep the really negative aspects of your job at work. Balance things up and bring up the good as well.
2. Listen Less Than You Talk
Listen as much or less than you talk about your work stress. Everyone wants to be understood but if all you do is explain the hell at your job without taking the time to listen to your partner, tension slowly builds up. Show that you are actively listening when your partner shares their work woes as well.
The screens that surround modern life can add a great deal of stress to your relationship. Most people are glued to their phones and barely have solid chunks of time they can dedicate to their loved ones. Everyone is either responding to a notification, taking a call, responding to an email, or have their eye fixed on the TV. This results in a feeling of disconnection between the two.
Take some time off especially the first few hours when you get home. Steer clear of the temptation to respond to text messages, take calls, emails, and social media.
Share With a Friend Instead
Although your partner might be your best friend and so the one that just feels right to share your work issues with, make sure you do not over-do it. It is easy to drown your partner with your work stories without even realising it.
But sometimes, you just have to share some things with someone. That, however, does not have to always be your partner. Instead of bringing everything at the feet of your partner, share with a friend instead.
3. Avoid routine complaining
As Albert Einstein puts it, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is an insanity. This couldn’t be further from the truth as far as keeping work stress out of your relationship. In cases where work-related stress is clearly affecting your relationship, you need to figure out how to break the cycle. This can be achieved by changing the tone and expectations from your relationship as far as workplace stress is concerned. While discussing workplace stress with your partner make sure you are more receptive and okay with your partner lacking an opinion on the matter.
4. Work on a hobby or Exercise
Unplugging from electronic devices is a good idea. This however should be supplemented by engaging in a hobby or exercising. This could include your partner’s hobbies or preferred exercise. This enables you to unplug from the workplace stress and challenges and engage your mind in a completely different task. It further improves your listening skills by exploring different tasks that require mental engagement outside your work life.
5. Processing thoughts
Often when stressed, human beings remain with unprocessed thoughts and a lot of energy. It is therefore important you figure out how to process your thoughts before getting home or talking to your partner about the challenges. In the event that you feel depressed and anxious, learn to express yourself calmly without gassing up your partner. Remember with unprocessed thoughts, your partner could end up receiving macroaggression. This is often passed through a comparison of challenges that are experienced in the office to his or her challenges thereby belittling your partner’s struggles. This could easily lead to an argument or confrontation.
While work stress may be troubling you, you must accept the world is not a perfect place. Your partner is therefore more than likely going to experience workplace stress as well. While active listening is advocated, in certain cases you must offer advice judiciously. This means that you must probe the problem enough to make sure you understand the challenges he/she is facing before giving advice, empathy, or sympathy. It is very easy to believe you understand a situation simply because you think you can relate only to mislead your partner into the wrong decision-making process. Probing the issue therefore gives you enough time to reflect on the challenges listen to her/his idea of what the solution should be and work on resolve together without being too individualistic.
7. Have a candid conversation about your workplace.
Avoiding a conversation about your workplace stress is not advisable, it is therefore rational that you have a candid conversation about your work life. While it is easy to complain about the inconveniences of your work life you must talk about the simple wins or the convenient part of your work life. This enables your partner to understand your journey and appreciate the different handles you are experiencing. It further enables your partner to reflect on the challenges that you are facing and offer better advice. Talking about the bright side of your workplace also enables you to process the different thoughts and emotions you have about your workplace thereby making more enlightened decisions.
8. Seek help from the right sources
It is important that you put an effort to resolve the workplace stress that you are experiencing. This is in part achieved through soliciting professional help such as going to therapy. Therapy should enable you to process your thoughts as well as receiving unperturbed opinion on a number of issues. The sessions will therefore either change your opinion on issues or confirm your opinion on different issues thereby finding a resolution to the challenges. This will enable you to talk about your challenges with your partner in a more refined manner thereby enabling both of you to converse about the issues concisely and conclusively.
9. Finding space to talk about work stress
Finding space to talk about your work stress is both figuratively and literally. You should develop a culture of finding a ‘safe space’ to talk openly about your stressed life so that the gravity of the challenges sinks in. Besides the figurative ‘safe space’, you need to find a physical space that is private and comfortable where both of you can have a respectable conversation with each other. Both the figurative and literal meaning of space enables you to have a meaningful and respectable conversation where you can engage in active listening as well as communicate your challenges and stressful workplace challenges.
10. Recognize stress symptoms
Recognizing stress symptoms in general is important. Not only does this help you to self-regulate while you learn that you are stressed it also enables you to react responsibly when you learn your partner is stressed. In cases where your partner is stressed, talking about your workplace stress could easily turn into a confrontation with each other. Learning stress symptoms therefore enables you to know appropriate times to address your challenges as well as refrain from stressful conversation. These skills should further enable you to know when your workplace stress has been transferred into your relationship unintentionally. You will therefore be in a position to conclude such cases in a more rational manner thereby saving your relationship.
11. Plan effectively
The first task in your plan is to create time for each other to enjoy companionship. During this period avoid all talks about your work life and focus on relationship goals and other parts of your life. Planning effectively will ensure you have enough time for each where you can easily tell if you are becoming overbearing. This will further enable you to work on corrective measures hence ensuring you have a healthy relationship where you can balance your work life and relationship. Planning effectively also enables you to have ample time to speak about your relationship stress and workplace stress without sinking into a cycle. This improves the comradery of events thereby improving the quality of your life in general.