4 ways to stop taking your work stress out on your significant other

Experts share their strategies on keeping your emotions in check and your love at the top of your to-do-list.

At the end of a long and tense day at the office, we often take our work stress out on our significant other. As pressure builds with job worries, your partner is often the brunt of your job stress.

We’ve asked experts for their strategies on how to keep your emotions in check and your love at the top of your to-do-list.


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Re-channel your stress

When you feel like your stress levels are peaking, turn to mindful activities to de-escalate.

“Try to find an activity that helps reduce your stress levels – such as meditation, mindfulness, journaling, exercise or reading,” suggests Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, PMH-C, a therapist specializing in women’s mental wellness. This mindful approach can not only help stress it can be the catalyst for self-discovery and creative inspiration.

Appreciate your relationship

Monte Drenner, a licensed counselor and life coach, says that your significant other is “significant” meaning that they can help you deal with the stress by talking about it.

“Making your significant other feel insignificant by being angry or rude to them about your stress is not fair to them,” Drenner explains. Rather, they deserve to be treated in a loving and respectful way, he says, which in the long term decreases your stress because the relationship will be stronger.

Make yourself a priority

Consider what you need to do on your own behalf after a day or week of high stress and integrate it into your life.

“For some people, that’s alone time, for others it’s time with friends or family, while some need to ‘veg out’ in front of the TV, others take a long hike,” says business consultant Linda J. Carpenter, Ph.D. “If you matter to yourself, you both take care of yourself and value your unique demands and needs. It is critical that you matter in your own life if you are going to have the fuel to care for the people and organizations you love the most.”

Negotiate for what you need

Don’t assume the people you love can read your mind or that their needs stop because you are stressed.

“Sit down with the people you love and negotiate how you can get what you need and how they can get what they need during this high-stress time,” suggests Carpenter. “Look for the ways you can all matter and be fierce about holding to what you’ve negotiated.”


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Eric Barker|is the author of "Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong." He is also the author of the website by the same name.