If you’re like most people with kids, you come home from work feeling exhausted and stressed. You try to cook a quick dinner and, some days, you’re so tired you stop at the drive through on the way home. Life is too busy; there is no time to get away with your partner or friends.
Emotional stress and fatigue are enhanced when we don’t have time for ourselves or the people who give us strength. During times of high stress, it’s important to remember that there are small, inexpensive gestures you can offer to your loved ones that will express your love and gratitude. Simple things mean a lot, and they help reconnect couples and friends when time is limited.
Research has suggested that a universal cure for lowering stress is feeling connected and supported. Below are suggestions that can make others feel appreciated while simultaneously making you feel happy. If you practice these, your burden of “having to do it all” will be lightened and your emotional connection strengthened.
Tell your partner thanks. Many people grew up with a sense of entitlement or high expectations that a partner should do everything. This is nonsense and maladaptive thinking. When your partner does something - no matter how small - say THANKS.
Compliment your partner or mention something you admire about them. No matter how successful your partner is or is not, if you love them, there should be something every day you admire about them.
Listen to your partner. Listening is an act of love. It costs you nothing to give it, but it costs you your relationship when you don’t. A marriage therapist will gather everything they need to know about their clients by simply watching them listen to each other.
Go the extra mile for them. It doesn’t matter how you express this - partners know when you’re doing something extra or out of the ordinary for them. It tells them you really care.
Hug your partner every day without your phone or distractions. Touch lowers stress and helps partners feel connected. Devices don’t kill relationships, but people who can’t disengage from the device will.
You may not be able to do all of these things every day, but that’s okay. Instead of looking at the list and getting overwhelmed, choose two or three of the suggestions listed and practice them every day. Don’t worry about whether or not your partner practices them; focus on your behavior. You’ll begin feeling less stressed and see the positive changes in your relationship.