A young couple hugging, as they're helping each other out while coping with stress

How To Support Your Partner When They're Dealing With Stress, According To An Expert

by Ginny Hogan

If you're anything like me, you've experienced stress at some point in your life. If you've been in a relationship, maybe your partner has gone through a stressful period too. Many things can help with stress, including yoga and essential oils (which I like as a birthday gift year-round, FYI), but the support of a partner in times of stress can often be critical. Everyone has different tools to cope with stress, but providing support for someone on their path to stress-relief is extremely helpful. To find out how to support your partner when they're dealing with stress, I spoke to an expert to give you everything you need to know.

Making your partner feel seen can help alleviate anxiety, so let them know you're aware of their stress. "Acknowledge the situation," relationship expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. "Let your partner know that you understand that they are under a lot of stress, and invite them to tell you what they need during this time." Your partner may or may not be ready to talk about their stress, but knowing that someone is there for them can be helpful. "Bring up a blanket offer of help," Masini says. "'Hey, are you OK?' or, 'What’s going on?' Something simple like that may be what your partner needs to get a conversation going." Once your partner knows that you're there to listen, they might be willing to open up and talk about the problem.

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Being open to change if your partner needs support at a specific time can help them feel less stressed, particularly if they're stressed because of too much work. "Change plans," Masini says. "Instead of having your extended family for dinner the weekend that your partner is stressing over a deadline, change the venue. Have the dinner at one of their homes, give your partner a pass if they need the time to attend to the deadline." If your partner is too busy for something they've committed to, and this is causing them anxiety, don't hold it against them if they need to cancel. Everyone deserves a break sometimes. Think about what you'd want when you're stressed out, and try to offer your partner the same support.

If you think your partner might be stressed but they haven't brought it up, keep open the lines of communication so that they know they can talk. You can also let them know that you've noticed they might be going through a stressful time, and you're there to support them. "Mention something specific," Masini says. "For instance, say, I notice you didn’t sleep well last night. What’s going on? Or, can I book you a massage?" Telling them that you've noticed a change might help your partner feel ready to open up to you, and offering something specific like a massage could be particularly helpful if your partner isn't yet ready to talk about the cause of stress.

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Be careful not to make your partner feel like you're taking their stress too lightly. Stress is different for everyone, and for some people, it's not something they like to joke about. "Don’t post on social media that your partner is stressed, and take funny photos to make light of the situation," Masini says. "In the moment, this is just going to stress your partner out even more. And it’s disrespectful. Humor has to do with timing." Personally, I tend to turn to humor myself to alleviate my own stress, but I have found it frustrating when someone else tries to joke about it. Of course, some people love a light-hearted joke, and you know your partner, but make sure you don't make them feel like their stress isn't important to you. If your partner is dealing with stress, let them know that you hear them and understand that it's a challenge.

Going through a stressful period is difficult, and watching someone you love go through it can be difficult as well. Make sure to show your partner support and kindness when they're dealing with stress, and be open in your communication so that they know that they have you there if they need to talk. Your partner may benefit greatly from knowing that you're there for them, and you can work through your problems together. Essential oils only go so far (that doesn't mean I don't still want them for my birthday), so take these tips to support your partner in times of stress.