Picture this: you’ve just about managed to get into the rhythm when it comes to your work. It took you a while to get started courtesy chores, meal prep, getting the kids ready for their day, and other household activities to take care of, but just as you’re about to get into that meeting, your partner has started pacing around you because he is frustrated or stressed about an incident or deadline. He doesn’t know what triggered it, but he’s now in your personal space and has managed to break that rhythm. What do you do?
As most of the world has come to understand, working in an office setup is far more focussed as compared to when working from home. And given that a large part of the workforce is still working remotely, there’s a new dilemma that’s arisen: balancing the professional and personal. It’s stressful when you’re living with your partner and are with them 24x7; it’s a lot harder when you have to co-work and manage your home.
Naturally, your work pressures will be different from that of your partner’s, and it’s bound to manifest differently. You may find him/her distant, irritable, or worse, lashing out at you. So how do you work as a team when you have a different stress response? Let’s review:
Listen and support your partnerWe often feel that we should fix a certain problem our partners have. Sometimes, just lending an ear can go a long way. Perhaps, they just need to vent and get things out of their systems. Knowing that you’re around to listen to them is enough to help them calm down, and figure out their next steps. You may not realise just how powerful silence can be at times like these.
Respect each other’s coping mechanismsMaybe you like to clean; maybe he likes to pace… the fact remains, if he’s suddenly in your space, instead of getting annoyed, take it as an opportunity to move around, getting your blood circulating, and find a way to just be there for him without intruding. When he’s had time to internalise the problem, he will open up on his own. Prying or asking too many questions when he doesn’t know what’s bothering him to begin with, can backfire and add to the stress.
Stop the comparisonsIn every romantic equation, there’s always that presumption that one partner tends to do more, sacrifice more, or be the more accommodating one. While that may be, it’s best to not blatantly point things out. The same goes for how you cope with difficulties as a couple. One may prefer to shut off and decompress in solitude while the other may need to talk it out loud with the partners. Stop comparing which method is more effective, and try and embrace each other’s individuality. Moreover, you definitely want to refrain from comparing your partner’s time management skills to a co-worker he or she may already be constantly compared to.
Take up a couple activityWhether it’s a walk in the park, cycling, or an at-home workout, make sure that you’ll indulge in some stress-relieving activities together. You can even use this time to cheat on your job, and kids. Besides, it’s fun to play hooky every now and then, so long as you do it responsibly. Perhaps reliving those college days can act as a great way to beat the stress, and spend quality time with your spouse. Crack silly jokes, do stupid things, and just be there for each other in that moment. After all, laughter is a guaranteed way to loosen up.