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Have you ever considered how stress affects you and your relationship? Stress affects your relationship without you even being aware of it. How many times have you verbally snapped at your partner for no apparent reason? Or, for that matter how often have you felt an unjustified strain in your relationship? If you're up for a promotion, trying to get that new job, trying to buy that new house, or just plain too busy, you're more than likely experiencing a great deal of stress in your life right now. More than you are probably ready to express or even admit. So, just how does this affect your relationship in your everyday life?



If you do not recognize stress as the source of your frustration it could be easy to take things out on your partner. It is taken out in many different ways as well such as snapping and being short tempered. However some people like solitude when they are feeling stressed. Your partner could easily take this separation as a lack of desire to be around them. Stress can also affect the perspective you use when thinking about things. You may find yourself nagging your partner over little things that really don't matter, but because you're stressed they seem to be more important than they really are. Stress is one of the unspoken leading causes of relationship failures. Here are a few ways that you can keep youre your emotions in check and help recognize stress in your life.



1. Recognize when it is stress talking.



If you're feeling like you're being a little more negative than usual, make sure it is really how you're feeling and not stress talking. The last thing you want to do is make your partner feel like you don't enjoy being around them or that your feelings are going to the waste side. It may be too late to take back something you've said, but you can at least stop to explain why it happened. Be open and honest with your partner. Let them know just what is going on in your life to be making you this frustrated. Being open and honest will not take back the hurt that your short tempered words caused, but it will give your partner an insight to why you are feeling this way and help to deal with these emotions better.



2. Learn to balance your life.



Make sure you're spending appropriate time on each area of your life. Don't spend all your time at work, and don't load up all your free time with activities. Too often in our lives we find that there are not enough hours in the day. This tends to add to that level of stress as well.



A great way to balance your loads is to mark on a calendar at the beginning of each month which days you will be spending time on yourself, and which days you're reserving for spending one-on-one time with your partner. If you have children, you should also add days for spending time just with your children as a family.



Try to set aside dates with your partner so your schedule doesn't conflict. If someone asks if you are available to do something, never plan something that will interfere with your previously scheduled dates. Spending quality time with everyone makes sure that no one is left out of the loop and you are not trying to do the balancing act at the last minute.





3. Be realistic in setting up goals or time management.



So many times we expect too much of ourselves. And this goes with what I said earlier that we often find that there are not enough hours in the day. We often times overextend ourselves and leave the candle burning at both ends. When planning your "to do lists", or setting a schedule for future goals, be realistic as to how long it will take to achieve them. In fact, give yourself some extra time to complete tasks to allow for those pesky unexpected delays. Keeping things real and not being too hard on yourself or expecting you are superman or superwoman is making the expectations too high. The only real thing that will let you down in life are your own expectations, so give yourself the time and keep to your time lines as best you can.



4. Make time to go play with your family and reconnect with the outdoors.



When was the last time you went on a walk with your partner somewhere, or played ball with your kids in the park? Have you gone to the park or skating rink as an entire family lately? Make it a priority to spend at least one day a week with your partner outside, away from your daily life, doing something that you love together. Along with that set one day a week for you and your family as a whole. Whether it be bowling, swimming, baseball or soccer, get out and have fun together. One thing that our family likes is to have Carpet Picnics . Now you are asking what is a "Carpet Picnic?". Well what we do is order our favorite fast food for dinner and then we go to the local movie store and get a few movies for the night and grab our blankets and pillows and we camp out in the living room floor for the night with popcorn. Another idea that you might want to try (I have to say that this is something that we have not tried yet) is have a game night. Get out a board game and play as a family. Enjoy your family while you can because your children go up too fast and if you let it pass you by without getting the chance to enjoy it you will regret it for the rest of your life. So get out and have fun.



5. So what it all comes down to is "Just be Happy!"



When looking at the bigger picture it doesn't matter what things you've accomplished, but rather how you felt while accomplishing them. It doesn't matter if you've made it to the top of your company or made your own business the best in your community. If you don't enjoy life when you have the chance then what exactly have you worked for all of your life. Getting everything that you can out of each day makes a world of difference because if you are wishing for tomorrow you will have soon wished your life away. If you learn to live in the moment tomorrow will look after itself.



Now with that being said I do agree that there is a time to work and a time to play. That putting in the hard work when you are young lets you play longer when you are older. Just do not work to the point where you have worked your life away. Now when you feel stress adding and creeping up and breathing down your neck, just take a deep breath and relax. Remember the old saying, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."



Here are a few things that will allow you to unwind and relieve your stress



1. Sleep

2. Exercise

3. Well Balanced Eating practices

4. Massages

5. Friends & Family

6. Relaxing in a nice Hot Bath



To quote from a popular Alabama song... "All you really gotta do is live and die, but I'm in a hurry and don't know why."




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