Stress and Relationships

Finals are coming soon.  It can be hard to balance school, friends and relationships.  You may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed with the end of the school year almost here.  Feeling stressed often causes problems in relationships.  Here are some tips to better handle that stress and prevent conflict.

Talk with your boyfriend or girlfriend about your schedule coming up.  Make them aware of when you have a lot of tests and papers due so they know you aren’t trying to ignore them on purpose.  Some couples spend A LOT of time together.  It can be hard when life forces you to spend more time apart.  Let your partner know what you need.  Tell them if you need more time alone to be able to study or get things done.  Some people get easily distracted and need to be alone when studying for big tests or writing a paper.  This can be harder to understand if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t go to college.  They may not realize the time it takes to get your work done.  Help them to understand where you are coming from so they can change their expectations.

If you are in a new relationship it can be hard to force yourself to stay away from the one you love.  You almost have to shut your phone off or you’ll be too tempted to text them the whole time you are studying.  Or you find yourself putting off your paper because you want to hang out a little longer with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Remember, its about balance.  I’m not suggesting you put your relationship on hold for a couple of weeks.  Its okay to take a break from studying and text for awhile, but when you are studying, really try to focus.  If you know you’ll put off studying once you see this person then try to study for awhile before taking a break.  The person will still be there in a couple of hours.  Then if your break goes a little longer than planned you won’t feel so guilty because you already got a lot done.

Stress makes a lot of people more impatient and irritable.  This can cause stupid fights in the relationship.  A lot of people say things they don’t mean out of frustration.  You usually take the most out on the person closest to you.  Hopefully your boyfriend or girlfriend will cut you some slack because they know you are stressed, but it still isn’t fair to take it all out on them.  Here are some ways to handle your stress level.

First, take care of yourself.  Schedule time to eat and sleep.  And if possible, get a little exercise in there.  If you skip meals to study you will most likely bite someone’s head off later when you have a headache and feel hungry.  Also, if you are pulling all nighters to study you will definitely not be a fun person to be around.  You will do better on your tests if you do actually get more sleep, even if that means you study less.  Sleep helps transfer those things you are trying to learn into your memory bank.  If you can find the time to exercise with your partner you can have some together time and release stress.  Go for a walk around campus, lift weights together, or walk on the treadmill while the other gets on the bike.  Even if its only for 15-20 minutes that can have a huge impact on your attitude.

If you are feeling impatient and irritable and don’t have time to sleep, eat or exercise at that moment, try to take a few deep breaths.  Getting oxygen to your brain can do wonders.  Plus it will slow down your heart rate and help your racing thoughts to slow down as well.  That way you can think before you speak.  You can also stretch for a couple minutes to relax your muscles.  Stretch your arms over your head or across your chest.  Your back and chest muscles can get very tight when you are stressed.  Also stretch your neck muscles while sitting at your computer.   Bend over and tie your shoe while standing up to stretch out the back of your legs.  It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to reduce stress.  This way when you do get to spend those few precious minutes with your partner you aren’t snapping at each other.

The last thing you can do to reduce stress is be kind to one another.  Think of little things you can do to  make your partner’s day a little easier.  Offer to rub their back, hands or feet.  A little massage can go a long way to feel connected and reduce stress.  If you have more time that day then they do you can offer to get their lunch or bring them a snack while they are studying.  Write each other notes of encouragement to help the confidence when going into a big exam.  A big hug also goes a long way to show your support during this stressful time.  It is hard to balance taking care of yourself and your partner, but it can be managed if you think ahead, stick to a schedule and be a little more forgiving of each other for a few weeks.

One comment on “Stress and Relationships

  1. My friend and I were just talking last night about how much stress affects your sex life and intimacy with your partner. Sometimes you feel like you can’t afford time and energy to take care of yourself like going to the gym or eating right but it does pay off in the end. And, on the other hand, using the relationship to avoid responsibilities only puts more pressure on you in the end.

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