If you feel overwhelmed with stress or your relationship is stressful, there is a way to manage the stress. Relieve stress by implementing stress management strategies!
When discussing stress management techniques, and how to get your mind off something, think about it like a football game. A good coach will use offensive and defensive strategies to confront the problem on the team. In a relationship, we must do the same. Which then leads to fun stress relieving activities (or necessary stress-relieving activities).
Offensive Strategies for Stress Management
Offensive strategies are like putting a pebble in a stream. By putting the pebble in the stream you are taking action to disrupt the flow.
Preemptive Strike- Preventative Measure
If you’re feeling stress in your relationship or struggling with family-stress, take action. Taking action could be making a statement, requesting a time to talk, creating time to talk, it could be an activity, or it could be anything to disrupt a flow that’s not working for you.
The preemptive strike is for the problems that keep recurring. There’s an on-going problem, you can:
- See the problems
- Feel the problems
- Deal with the problems
- And you know they are going to come back up.
The preemptive strike is a way to stop it before it happens.
A lot of times, what happens is you get in the middle of the problem, then you try talking about the problem or deal with it, but the emotions are high, and it ends up in an argument.
The preemptive strike is talking about it when you sense the problem is coming up but before it comes up, that way tempers are cooler.
It’s as simple as saying, “I suspect this problem is coming up, and I’d like to talk to you about it.” Doing it this way avoids the problem and gets it resolved.
Post-mortem Talk– After the fact
Post-mortem talks are discussing the problem after it has happened, but before it gets swept under the rug.
People have a problem, the problem keeps popping up, but they want to keep the problem down the road because it’s “calm” now. They don’t want to talk about it because they don’t want it to erupt again. This is not a good strategy because when things get buried they tend to blow.
Post-mortem comes after the problem when tempers are calm but before it’s a distant memory.
It’s as simple as saying, “The issue that happened last night didn’t go the way I wanted, can we please try again?”
Defensive Strategies for Stress Management
Defensive strategies are like removing the pebble from the stream, letting the flow continue freely.
Creating protective time is crucial to your relationship and in stress management. Protective time is when you and your significant other agree and follow through on making time for just yourselves, regularly. It’s on the calendar, it’s not to be interrupted or interfered with; everything else goes around the protective time.
Get up 30 minutes earlier to have coffee together.
Meet after lunch but before dinner for tea or a drink on the porch.
Sit down after dinner once the kitchen is cleaned, and the kids are in bed and have dessert together.
Keep in mind, when having protective time, you and your partner are not going to have a deep discussion. Instead, plan activities that can be interrupted. Avoid getting into a deep movie, or show, or having ear pods on where you can’t hear each other.
Protective time is about looking at your calendar together, reading the paper or a magazine together. It’s simply hanging out together.
If there’s a problem that’s been going on, now you have the time to talk about it because you both have time set aside on the calendar daily.
Bridge statements are a way to pivot. They’re a way to move from an unexpected display of emotion to protect the relationship. It’s a statement that helps you get away from a situation that is going to run away from itself.
“Let’s stop, this discussion is causing me to be angry, and I wasn’t expecting that. I’m going to head to the office, I’ll be back before dinner and we’ll try again.”
“I said I would listen to what you had to say, but I find myself thinking about work, let me take care of that, and I’ll get right back to you.”
By saying these statements you’re doing two things, admitting to a feeling and you’re not punishing the person. Those two factors make it a bridge statement.
A lot of people tend to be perfectionistic, and that can get in the way of a relationship. Let’s call it a wedge because it wedges right in the middle and causes distance.
Admissions are our way of empathizing and connecting with our partners. The admission of fault or a shortcoming helps you connect with your partner’s faults or shortcomings. Just as we celebrate happy moments, admissions are a way of empathizing with each other over not so great things.
If your partner says something along the lines of “Making this pie crust from scratch calls for lard, do you know where to get that?”
Perfectionistic statement: “Lard is bad for you.”
Admission statement: “You know, I don’t even know what lard is, do you?”
Do you see the difference that an admission statement makes?
If your partner says, “There are some mornings I don’t feel like going to church.”
Perfectionistic statement: “We promised to go every Sunday.”
Admission statement: “Yeah, some mornings I feel like being lazy too.”
Admission statements make such a big difference! You don’t have to correct, right, or hold your partner’s feet to the fire. When you do that it causes problems and pushes you away from your partner. Admitting, agreeing, or understanding your partner is a method to get closer.
Use these five stress management strategies to help manage the stress in your relationship and life. Repeat as necessary.
If you would like more help, feel free to reach out!
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