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A Couples’ Guide to Relaxation

Stress!! Anxiety!!! Panic!!!! (whether in or outside of a disco). Just seeing those in print can send blood-pressure soaring and set your nerves a-jangling. And yes, I realize the multiple !!!'s didn't help. But as much as you feel the effects of your own stress, your partner feels it, too.

How you respond to these daily challenges can lighten your load or add to the pressure. Your home can be a refuge where you both feel comfortable or your relationship can become another source of tension. It's your choice.

You may be dealing with demanding jobs and chronic health issues. You may have personalities that are prone to anxiety. Your cat may eschew his litter box preferring to poop only in your most comfortable left shoe. In marriage what affects one partner, affects both.

So instead of opting for the "B" choice, let's learn how to keep stress from interfering with your mutual health and wellbeing.

Use these tips to work together as a couple to relax effectively.

Benefits: Gain skills. Teaching is an excellent way of learning. While you’re showing your partner how to relax, you’re strengthening your own abilities. Take turns explaining different relaxation techniques like massage or meditation. Then demonstrate them. That's the fun part, especially when it comes to massage.

Feel closer. Working towards any common goal can draw you together. Create your own personal rituals for making mornings run more smoothly. See how they intersect with each other. Discuss how to avoid conflicts so you can start your day off right. Winding down after work is important, too, whether you work from home or outside of it. We all need time to change gears from "work-Loretta" to "home-Loretta" (assuming your name is Loretta). Talk about how you eac

h need to decompress, to shed the weight of the outside world.

Live happier. Chronic stress drains your energy and puts your health at risk. As you become more skillful at maintaining your peace of mind, the world will seem friendlier, and you’ll feel more content. Communication Tips:

Listen closely. Give your partner your full attention when they’re talking with you. Turn your phone off. Make eye contact and ask pertinent questions. Reflect on what they have to say. Encourage and empathize. Resist the urge to pass judgments or give unsolicited advice. That last part is a big trap, particularly for guys. Not everything needs to be fixed by you, Kyle. Start by validating your partner's feelings and assure them they have your support.

Share feedback. If your partner is open to hearing a diffe

rent perspective, give them the benefit of your experience. How do you know they're open to advice? Ask. Respect their need to find their own solutions while providing any assistance you can.

Express your needs. You may find it difficult to be assertive in a romantic relationship even if you’re confident in other areas of your life. Expecting your partner to be a mind-reader is an exercise in futility even if their parents named them Doctor Prognosticatorio. You can avoid a lot of stress by being tactful and direct with your partner about what you need. Activity Tips: Work out. Physical exercise is a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood. Set up a home-gym and promise each other it won't become an expensive closet. Take up golf, whether

mini- or maxi-. Or, bonk. Bonking is good for you.

Develop hobbies. Find soothing hobbies that you can do together or at least in the same room. Play board games or take photographs. Grab your old recorder from elementary-school and practice while your partner assembles a jigsaw puzzle while wearing noise-canceling headphones.

Enjoy nature. Time spent outdoors is another powerful antidote for stress. Take a long walk after dinner. Spend weekends kayaking and barbecuing in the backyard. Go camping for your next summer vacation. Double date. As much as you love each other, you need to cultivate close relationships with other family and friends to maintain balance in your lives. Schedule regular family visits, coffee dates, and poker nights. Going out to dinner with another couple can help you look past minor conflicts and value your partner more, especially if that other couple is a pair of assholes.

Spend time alone. While it’s important to feel at ease in each other’s company, each of us needs some time on our own too. You might find that you’re more enthusiastic about discussing your workday after you spend your first half hour at home listening to music or riding a stationary bike. Talk with a professional. If you and your partner need more help trying to relax, consult your doctor. They can help you determine if there is an underlying medical condition that needs treatment and may suggest other resources such as talk therapy. Learning how to relax as a couple will help you both to become happier and more successful. You’ll build a stronger relationship and enjoy your time together more.


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