Coping With Other People’s Stress

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re all having a great weekend, today I would like to broach a topic everyone loves to talk about – stress. I’m not here to talk about personal stress (we all know what gets us down), but dealing with stress from those around us.

Let me elaborate.

My partner is currently halfway through his university degree (I finished halfway through his second year), and if I was a good student, he is an amazing student. The only problem with that is he takes on so much personal stress and anxiety about his grades, and he might be right to, but from the perspective of someone who has finished their degree I have a hard time watching him “sweat the small stuff” (by this I mean that one midterm, or one B+ will wreck all his chances at grad school). I personally try to support him as much as possible but I am not used to dealing with his level and type of stress.

We all know (or eventually get to know) how to calm ourselves down when we start to stress out, be that by removing ourselves from the situation, taking some personal time, going for coffee with our friends, or hanging with our families. I come from a family where I can remember my mother going through her masters and doctorate, so I know how to deal with my mother and her stress (chocolate. Seriously – oh and Mulan). My roommate and I have had similar stresses in the past so I am familiar with his mannerisms and how to help him out (veggie burgers, beer, and a good chat).

However, my boyfriend seems to struggle with how to deal with his stress. He will try to calm himself down and have some chill time with me, but it ends up stressing him out more. He’ll lie awake at night for hours and then stress the next day about how much sleep he got the night before. Everything comes down to the grades and the impact they have on his potential for graduate school/life opportunities.

Now I don’t know if anyone else has someone like this in their lives, but I have found the only thing that helps is giving him a lot of leeway. If we had plans and he’s stressing about getting homework done, I reschedule. If I’m over at his place and he’s feeling exhausted, I walk home instead of accept a ride. I’m trying to be understanding but it’s hard sometimes! If anyone else has suggestions on how to cope with stress (or deal with stressed loved ones) I’d love to hear it!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

K

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