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The Best Way to De-Stress After Work for a Happier Relationship

Going from busy at work to busy at home will increase those stress hormones, so it’s important to reset yourself into a state of calm before you arrive home.

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There’s nothing worse than arriving home from work tired and grumpy. This can upset the balance of your relationship with your spouse, children and other people you live with. If you find yourself annoyed by your partner’s sexual advances, being short-tempered with your kids, or constantly drained with no energy, consider implementing this 10-minute practice on your way home from work each day, to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

When you are feeling emotionally triggered, your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated. The release of stress hormones throughout your body, including adrenaline and cortisol are what make you feel so intensely wired!

Going from busy at work to busy at home will increase those stress hormones, so it’s important to reset yourself into a state of calm BEFORE you arrive home. This will ensure you are able to easily respond to your family’s needs instead of losing control, shutting down or overreacting (when all you want to do is connect).

It also means you get to enjoy essential time for yourself so you can be a more relaxed, balanced and happy individual.


Consequences of Not Dealing with Stress

Conversely, if you don’t deal with those stress hormones they will continue to have a detrimental effect on your overall health and wellbeing. Your adrenal glands pump out excess cortisol when you're anxious or under intense stress. This will negatively affect your health if the levels stay too high for too long.

Ongoing stress leads to cortisol accumulating in your body. This results in belly fat as well as wide-spread inflammation that can cause major health problems including heart disease and diabetes, as well as contributing to erectile dysfunction challenges in men.

Stress hormones, especially cortisol, are exhausting to your body. Irritability, depression and anxiety have all been linked to high cortisol levels. There’s only so much stress your body can take before being compromised, so it’s best to deal with those stress hormones before they accumulate and become a bigger problem.

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 How to Stop Feeling Stressed Right Now

By taking a small amount of time for yourself in between work and home (or at any time throughout the day) you can reset your body into a state of calm. While it won’t solve all of life’s niggling problems, it will certainly ensure you improve your ability to cope with them!

Know that this is an essential component of taking care of your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Practicing this simple technique every day will also make you a nicer person to be around.

On your way home (especially after a particularly stressful day), stop somewhere peaceful or simply pull over and park your car on the side of the road. If you are on public transport, just close your eyes and use this time to rejuvenate yourself. Set the timer on your phone if you are concerned about falling asleep. Tune out the outside world by closing your eyes and turning your attention inward. You are still able to hear outside noises but they are in the background and no longer your point of focus.

With your eyes closed, feel into your body. If there's any tension, instead of trying to ignore or suppress it, just place your conscious awareness there and let your body unwind. Focusing your attention into the sensations in your body immediately stops distracting and disruptive thoughts and results in a feeling of calm. To enhance this process, take a few slow, deep breaths.

Slowly inhale and slowly exhale. If any random thoughts come to mind, quiet them by returning your attention to slowing your breathing and the feeling of the seat beneath you. You can even imagine you’re melting into your seat. You’ve got this. 

 

In summary

If you take this essential time for you EVERY day to get rid of stress and relax your body and unwind, you will find yourself more relaxed and open to receiving your partner's sexual advances, your children’s demands and anything else that life presents you with. It also means that if someone else is going through a challenging time, you are more able to show them empathy, support and encouragement they need.

However, to truly be in charge of yourself, requires resetting your thinking and emotions so you don’t overreact due to a perceived threat or hurt.

ERT (Emotional Reset Technique) is a method that helps you establish a calm physiological state when feeling emotionally triggered. It will convey cues of safety to others by resetting and regulating your facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice as well as improve your ability to hear clearly and articulate any concerns. ERT also helps calm your heart, down-regulates defense systems and increases the flow of beneficial hormones and neurochemicals within your body such as oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.



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We were laying together in bed, but he seemed distant. After a deep breath he said: “I love you, but I don’t see a future for myself with your two kids and an ex-husband.” My heart stopped. With a shaky voice I asked: “What do you mean, I don’t understand?” He had already made up his mind. The next morning he moved out, complained Marisa.

She could not stop crying. This came as a shock to her. He never told her something was wrong. She wondered: “Why did this happen to us?”

Marisa’s partner didn't feel like he was getting his "wish list" fulfilled. He didn't know how to clearly explain what was wrong. He just felt frustrated and wanted to find a way out. It is tricky when a person with kids and a person without kids date, because they have different priorities and expectations. To give you an idea, I have chosen four challenges from my own life.

Four surprising challenges of a blended family

I have always loved children so I didn't think it would be a problem to date a man who already had three little kids. We had a great connection so I opened my heart for them too. At first it went great. I played with them and they loved it. It was easy to do, when it was just once in a while. Every other week we had fun dates with my partner. We were amazingly happy. After half a year we decided to live together. Suddenly things changed.

1. Fight for space

Before I moved, my apartment was my space. In his house the children had already taken over everything. He didn't see a reason to limit them in any way. After all, it was their home. He thought that if I had a bed and a closet, I would naturally be “at home” too, but I felt more like a guest or sometimes even an intruder.

Parents know their children want to have their own room, that is off limits to anybody else. However, they sometimes forget that their new partner has the same needs. Parents don’t realize the partner gave up all his or her privacy in order to be with the new family.

I had a feeling there was no space that I could call mine. Toys and mess were all over the house, regardless of how much I cleaned. Resting in the living room or watching TV was off limits till late at night. When I was reading in my bed in the evening, kids were furious, because they wanted to sleep next to their dad. Having “no space” in his big house was very frustrating. Finally we agreed to turn an unfinished attic into a room, where I could keep my things, work or simply relax. I could design it the way I liked. It is my sanctuary, my piece of home.

2. Time priorities

I was suddenly a step mom with all the household duties and child care. For my partner, it was natural to think that I would fill the missing space that his ex left - meaning we both focus on the kids and split the work evenly to get everything done. We weren't having so many dates anymore and our discussions were about the household practicalities. I felt overwhelmed and lonely. After a few months I started having panic attacks, doubting whether I could do this. I loved him, but it was so much adjustment on my side, I wasn't sure if it was worth it.

Finally, I explained to him that he has to find balance between time with me and the kids, instead of balance of splitting duties. At first he felt guilty taking even one evening for us when kids were there. Eventually we found a solution. We spent two hours dancing every Wednesday, while the favorite auntie watched the kids. It was a win for everybody and the regular date night had a therapeutic effect on our relationship.

3. Complexity of the role

I was expected to be as close to the kids as a mother would be and taking on also the disciplinary role. We both had unrealistic expectations how a blended family works. Soon the children realized that the new mommy wasn't as much fun as they thought. After all, she didn’t play with them as much as at the beginning and now she even had some requirements! And there started the complains: “We don’t need her here, things were better without her!”

When the kids heard about the planned marriage, they panicked. Their dream of having their parents back together was about to be ruined. Children tried to do everything to get rid of me in hope that their mother would come back. They were clueless that it was actually their mom who left for her personal reasons.

And so has my perceived role changed from an amazing entertainer to a demanding woman to an evil stepmom who breaks the children's biggest dream. I was devastated: “How did this happen? I had the best of intentions and accepted the children from the start and yet I am the bad one.” This psychological complexity puts a lot of stress on the couple, because despite best efforts, nobody in the blended family has it ideal. It is easy for any members to become resentful, thinking that somebody gets it their way and that's unfair.

4. Stuck location

Parents with 50/50 shared custody are fixed to a location where their children go to school. The location was chosen by the ex-spouses as the most convenient for their work and family. Parents are unable to move without their ex’s approval, which is practically almost impossible.

For the new partner however, this location might not be suitable at all. After I moved, my commute to work increased from twenty minutes to more than an hour each way. On top of that, opportunities for work promotions required that I moved to another country. I basically had to choose between my partner and my career, I could not have both. Being stuck in any location can be too much of a sacrifice, that the other partner doesn't even realize.

As a solution, I started building my own business that I can do from home, in order to get a sense of freedom. I found out that my dating coaching works as good online as in person. It allows me to have clients from different countries.

Conclusion

I mentioned four of the challenges, however there are many more. Being a step parent is a whole other thing than being a parent. I stepped into it with a big dose of love and naivety.

If I had to do it again, as a single woman I would not choose a man with kids. There is so much psychological complexity, even if the partners are a great fit. However, I am truly grateful for my husband and what I can experience with him. That makes it all worth for me. Meanwhile our baby was born. We adjusted our expectations, we are grateful for the days when things go smoothly and we help each other to keep our family together. 

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