How to Maintain Healthy Relationships Despite Work Stress
Maintaining healthy relationships when you're under stress is difficult. For example, this past week, I had a really tough time at work. I was feeling sick, working on a lot of projects, and struggling just to keep my head above water. As the week went on, I became progressively more focused on myself, trying to figure out how to get through all of my work and stop feeling so stressed out by it. Unfortunately, this meant that I was devoting most of my attention to myself and wasn't supporting my girlfriend as I normally would. By the end of the week, I was struggling to figure out what I could do differently to be supportive despite the stress I was experiencing at work ("Anxiety at Work - Stress in the Workplace").
A difficult work week can make it really challenging for us to maintain healthy relationships by supporting the people in our lives, whether that means significant others, a son or daughter, parents, or even close friends. It's easy to focus on ourselves and become wrapped up in the problems we're dealing with and to lose sight of how we can better care for others. Unfortunately, those weeks where we just feel overwhelmed by work will always be there, so we need strategies to help us maintain healthy relationships even during the most frustrating times. Here are three tips I've used to draw myself away from my work stress and focus on others.
3 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships in Spite of Stress
- Be perceptive. For me, this is the most important step I can take to improve my relationships, but also the most difficult. When I'm busy and stressed with work, it's easy to get sucked into what I'm dealing with and not consider what other people are experiencing. This past week, for example, I was frustrated by an interaction I'd had until I started considering what the other person was going through. Once I did, my frustration and stress dissipated because I became focused on what they were feeling instead of on myself. Whoever you're struggling to interact positively with, start by setting aside your own concerns and focusing on what the other person is feeling. You may be surprised by how much better you feel and how much your interactions improve as a result.
- Be open. When I'm stressed out, I usually want to keep it to myself and not discuss it with others. This doesn't work very well, however, because it reduces communication and can create new problems. In the same way that thinking about someone else's perspective can help you understand that person better, being open about how you're feeling can help others understand you better. For example, if you're feeling underappreciated by someone, it doesn't benefit either of you to keep that to yourself. Instead, share what you're feeling in a direct and (importantly) collaborative way. For example, "You make me feel unappreciated" is very different from "I love it when you compliment me", and the second is more likely to generate positive change.
- Be present. When I'm working a lot, I have trouble staying focused on any one thing. My mind jumps to the work I have to do tomorrow or meetings I have to schedule, and this makes it difficult for me to be present. Attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give to family and friends, and so when listening to others I try to fully attend to what they're saying. I've found that having a to-do list written before I leave work helps me think less about it once I'm home and this allows me to be more attentive.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will always be a challenge, but being more perceptive, open, and present can improve our relationships and reduce stress in the process.
What other strategies do you use to improve or maintain your healthy relationships?
Abitante, G. (2019, February 3). How to Maintain Healthy Relationships Despite Work Stress, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2019/2/how-to-maintain-healthy-relationships-despite-work-stress
Author: George Abitante
I need to read this daily lol Thank you so much
Hi Teri, thanks for your comment, glad to hear the article was helpful!
Dr Musli Ferati says:
February, 7 2019 at 12:31 am
Work stress presents acute and serious problem, which one merit more attention from public and personal perspective, as well. As you justify the best way to overcome the dangerous outcomes of work stress is to maintain and develop healthy relationships, either in the work place or in other social circumstances. Three tips of maintenance healthy relationships are good and hopeful start point to prevent ruinous effect of work stress. Indeed, to be perceptive, open and present against work stress exhibit great help to make effort on rescue oneself from this common and harmful factor. In addition, when it is known that the voice of mental health experts is undervalued, in spite of crucial psychiatric postulate that healthy relationship constitutes the main prerequisite for healthy mental condition. So, we ought to promote and develop sincere and amicable interpersonal relationship everywhere, in order to soften work stress, as the most ruinous psycho-social agent for our mental wellbeing, and not only for it.
Hi Dr. Ferati, thanks so much for your comment! Maintaining positive social relationships is absolutely crucial for sustained mental health, especially in stressful environments, and merits our attention.
Work stress present acute and serious, which one merit more attention from public and personal perspective, as well. As you justify the best way to overcome the dangerous outcomes of work stress is to maintain and develop healthy relationships, either in the work place or in other social circumstances. Three tips of maintenance healthy relationships are relationship indicate good and hopeful start point to prevent ruinous effect of work stress. Indeed, to be perceptive, open and present against work stress exhibit great help to make effort on rescue oneself from this common and harmful factor. In addition, when it is known that the voice of mental health experts is undervalued, in spite of crucial psychiatric postulate that healthy relationship constitutes the main prerequisite for healthy mental health. So, we ought to promote and develop sincere and amicable interpersonal relation everywhere, in order to soften work stress, as the most ruinous psycho-social agent for our mental wellbeing, and not only it.
This is such a wonderful read! In today's day and age, work stress is completely common and very present for many of us. Navigating our relationships through work stress is something we all need to deal with. Being open and being present are two key factors in embracing work stress and staying connected throughout it.
Hi Lizanne, thanks for your response! I agree work stress is becoming a more significant challenge every day and requires us to adapt in different ways!