- Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
- High-stress careers can often be a cause of tension in personal relationships.
- After an exhausting day at the office, you may be short-tempered or irritable, and unintentionally bring those feelings home.
- To combat this, Morin advises increasing the amount of sleep and exercise you are getting, as research shows that these increases are associated with an improved ability to cope with distress and manage emotions in a healthy way.
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A high-stress job can take a serious toll on your relationship if you’re not careful. After a hard day at the office, you might want to be left alone when you arrive home, much to the disappointment of your partner who can’t wait to talk to you. Or maybe you find yourself short-tempered every evening, so you raise your voice at the kids and get snarky with your partner, all because workplace stress has left you feeling drained and anxious.
A high-stress job can deplete your mental energy, so there might be little patience, tolerance, and kindness leftover when you get home. All of this can damage your relationship.
While a different job might give you some relief, there’s also an equally good chance that a new job might be just as stressful as the previous one. Fortunately, you have other options. Research shows that there are some simple things you can do to manage your stress in a healthy way so you don’t take out your frustrations on your family, no matter how stressful your job is.
Get plenty of sleep and exercise
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida examined how workers can prevent workplace stress from spilling over into their home lives.
Researchers confirmed what most of us likely already know – workplace stress taxes your ability to regulate your emotions. Each stressful experience you encounter makes it harder to control your feelings and your impulses. By the end of the day, you’re likely running on fumes with little energy leftover to filter your thoughts or tame your reactions.
The study found two things help stressed out workers create deeper emotional regulation reserves – sleep and exercise.
Researchers confirmed that sleep deprivation is linked to poor self-regulation. Individuals who lacked sufficient sleep were more likely to take out their frustrations on their families. More sleep was associated with an improved ability to cope with distress and manage feelings in a healthy way.
Additionally, participants who took 10,900 steps each day were less likely to take their stress out on their family members than participants who only took 7,000 steps. The researchers concluded that daily exercise is key to helping workers stop taking their frustrations out on loved ones.
Feel better, do better
Although going for a brisk walk during your lunch break might sound simple, a little exercise might be all you need to replenish your emotional reserves. You might be less likely to leave the office feeling emotionally exhausted when you get physical activity.
As an added bonus, exercise can help you sleep better, which can create a positive cycle in your life. Exercise and quality sleep might help you come home from work in a better mood, which could lead to a better relationship with your partner.
Of course, adequate sleep and plenty of exercise will do more than just boost your psychological well-being. They are also key components to healthy living.
Studies have linked adequate sleep to a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical benefits, including increased creativity, better focus, and even longer life spans. Studies also show that physical activity boosts energy, increases happiness, and improves memory – all of which can help you feel better physically and emotionally.
So if you’re guilty of taking out your work-related stress on your partner, make time for working out and going to sleep at a decent hour. Taking better care of yourself could be instrumental in helping you have a healthier, happier relationship.
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