You love your guy but you’re starting to really worry. He’s so stressed out ALL the time. He’s exhausted, edgy, distracted and sometimes short-tempered. Stress is taking a toll on his health, your relationship and quality of life. What can you do?
First you need to clearly recognize the signs of chronic and dangerous stress. Here’s what to watch for:
· He’s constantly fatigued and irritable for more than just a few days. In fact, you almost can’t remember a time in the last six months when he was energetic and able to relax and enjoy doing an activity whether resting in front of TV or going out on the town or just having a nice dinner at home.
· He’s having exaggerated reactions to seemingly small annoyances.
· He’s forgetful and absent-minded and can’t remember plans you’ve made, work appointments, or even simple things like picking up the dry cleaning you asked him to do on his way home.
· He’s unfocused, unmotivated and lacks concentration.
· He’s unable to sleep, restlessly tossing and turning in bed all night. Then when the alarm goes off, he can’t get up.
· He’s lost his sex drive. When you’ve tried to initiate sex, he couldn’t get an erection.
· He’s in physical pain, complaining of aches and pains in his neck, lower back or suffers recurring headaches or indigestion.
Any one of these symptoms over an extended period of several weeks or months can be cause for concern. More than two signs can cause significant increases in the risk of illnesses. Add to that the potential of poor decision-making, irrational fears, and addictive behaviors and you have a path to disaster.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Get over your own reactions to how he’s behaving and get on with exploring the solutions. Stay calm and centered so you don’t inadvertently contribute to his nervousness. Be loving, understanding and supportive without being intrusive. Studies show that giving too much uninvited help can actually cause more tension for a guy. So wait to see if he seeks your assistance. If he doesn’t, don’t nag him about what he needs. Be subtle and avoid any fanfare or you will contribute to his withdrawal and he’ll just worry about you worrying. So dig deep into your inner resources as you follow these steps from a place of kindness. Here are 3 suggestions:
1. Put some love in his meals. Provide healthy, nurturing food. Avoid a heavy meal or sugary desserts which can produce a negative impact on his debilitated system. You might even make some delicious super-food smoothies as a power-packed treat. (If you need some free recipes, email me and put “smoothies” in the subject line.)
2. Grab his hand and take him for an after-dinner walk. Or join him for a work-out at the gym, a yoga class, or something physical. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever. Coax him into doing something physical even if he resists at first. The stimulation will help him move through stuck energies and he’ll feel better.
3. Axe his “to do” list. Avoid putting demands on him and encourage true relaxation and early to bed. Sleep deprivation can contribute to heightened stress levels and an inability to cope. So make the bedroom dark and comfortable. Remove the TV and any other electronic distractions which can interfere with the release of sleep hormones. Create an environment that encourages quality sleep. Set an example by getting into bed at an earlier time and invite him to join you. Sex is a great stress-reliever but if he’s having performance issues, be sensitive and patient. Forcing the issue can create more stress.
Allow him the opportunity to work through his own stress but be available to seize the moment and redirect his energies in soothing unobtrusive ways. It will take some serious mindfulness on your part not to feel abandoned or unloved by him. So make sure you take time to replenish your energies and make sure you’re taking measures to feel empowered so you may more easily transition through these times.
Your awareness and focused attention of the situation can make a big difference for both of you. Be sure you’re checking your ego at the door and you’re functioning from your heart center so he doesn’t feel you’re being a bossy “know it all” or your efforts will not be well received. Your man needs his wife, not his mother. Be sensitive to his fragile state and be patient. If he’s not back to himself within a few weeks, you may need professional help. If he has acute hopelessness, depression or recurring nightmares, get professional help. Consult a mental health practitioner, life coach, therapist, or spiritual guide for support. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) has programs in almost every community and many are free. I also offer a first consultation free if you need my support.