Managing stress for strong relationships and busy lives

Providence Health Team

Juggling a family, work, travel and life in general can be hard. We recently sat down with two people who are pulling it off. They make it look easy, but they will tell you it takes work.

It’s not easy managing a family and busy careers. But former NFL player Ephraim Salaam and his wife are doing it. Read our blog to learn how they deal with stress.

Ephraim Salaam and his wife of 10 years, Renece, are two very busy people who find time for their careers, their family and creating a low-stress home for their two kids.

Ephraim, who played in the NFL for 13 years, is a TV football analyst for FOX and ESPN. He’s also moved into acting and owns his own production company, work that often requires traveling around the country. Renece is an entrepreneur managing her own event and decorating business, and together they are raising two young children.

Hear what they have to say when we asked them how they manage to make it all work and what tips they had for others.

Relationship Pitfalls to Be Aware of »
Activities With the Kids »
Handling Stress Together »
Meals with the Kids »
Keeping in Touch with the Kids »

Dialing down stress

Here are some ways you can manage stress and your relationships:

  • Recognize stress symptoms. Couples often become accustomed to unchecked stress that they may not recognize. When this happens, they can overlook the destructive ramifications of stress.
  • Approach your partner. If you see signs of stress, ask your partner what’s going on in a kind and compassionate way. Try asking your partner how his or her day was. Do they want to talk about it?
  • Listen. We all want to be heard, and we want to feel cared for.
  • Comfort first. Many partners forget to console their significant other and instead try to problem solve. A simple hug can often provide relief.
  • Get active together. Participating in physical activities is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Plus, new activities can reignite your relationship.
  • Adopt stress-reducing rituals. Make a list with your partner of ways to relax and find time for activities.
  • Check your “stress temperature.” When both you and your partner are stressed, comforting each other can get tricky. It’s important that people in relationships have a handle on their own stress, because you can’t comfort your partner until you have comforted yourself first. Some psychologists recommend taking a “stress temperature.” This means checking in with yourself to see where you fall on a 10-point scale, 10 being “high stress” and 1 being “relaxed.” Share your temperatures with each other.
  • Ask what you can do. An important way of supporting your loved one is reaching out to help. Try asking, “Is there anything I can do to make your day easier?”
  • Keep up with your partner’s schedule. Knowing your partner’s daily agenda will help you spot potential stressors and be prepared to help. Do they have a big presentation or client interview coming up? Are they taking a test in their toughest class? Is a friend going through a difficult time?
  • Consider if there’s anything else you can do. Of course you can’t ease your partner’s stress completely. But you can pay attention to whether he or she is happy and see how you can help.

Unchecked stress can lead to dissatisfaction and disconnection, and ultimately ruin a relationship. But there are many ways you alleviate your own stress and support your partner.

If you are struggling with stress in a hectic world, talk to your health care provider. You can find a Providence provider in our multistate directory.

Here’s more on staying connected to your family and raising healthy kids:

Family dinners might be good for your health »
Staying connected to your family when you travel »
Screen time for kids: Finding the right balance »
Stress can be contagious at school, work and home »

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