Effects of Stress and Burnout on Relationships
Stress and burnout are two words that are often thrown around quite carelessly. Let's break them down for you: stress is the physical, emotional, mental, or psychological reaction to external or internal stimuli; burnout (or occupational fatigue) is a syndrome characterized by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism, detachment from work, and a low sense of accomplishment—even though someone may be working very hard. These conditions can have disastrous effects on relationships. Burnout causes stress and aggravates the adverse effects of stress on relationships.
1. Poor communication
When you are under stress and burnout, your communication skills are likely to suffer. You may withdraw from your partner and not share your worries or concerns. You may lash out at them in frustration, blaming them for the stress you feel. You may become so tired and rundown that you do not want to communicate at all, or you may share too much – telling your partner everything, from the tiniest detail to the biggest concern. Either way, your partner will notice and be put off by your behavior.
2. Increase in anger and irritability/hostility towards loved ones
When you are under stress and burnout, your sensitivity to the needs and wants of others and your ability to respond to them may go down. You may become angry or emotional with your loved ones, which can put a chill in the atmosphere of your relationship. You may also become irritable with others and irritate them in ways you did not intend–for example, snapping at a clerk when buying groceries, upsetting a neighbor by talking too loud in your home, or becoming upset with friends. These behaviors may cause your loved ones to distance themselves from you. Even if they do not leave, they may withdraw emotionally and become distant. This can cause the very stress and burnout you are trying to avoid.
3. Loss of intimacy or closeness
You may feel that the good feelings in your relationship have gone or that there is no connection anymore. You may feel lonely or disconnected from your loved ones. Love and intimacy are closely linked, and if you lack either, the other often suffers. When you are under stress and burnout, you may not have as much energy or interest in being close to your partner.
4. A strain on the relationship
Since our relationships are so vital to us, we suffer when we do not feel good about them, which can take its toll. Our physical health often suffers, and we may become susceptible to illness. If you are under stress and burnout, your partner is likely to notice you are in a less-than-optimal state of mind, which can also strain the relationship.
You may have difficulty making decisions and feel irritable, depressed, or anxious. These feelings can lead to conflict with your partner over the simplest things, like your grocery budget, what's for dinner, or where to go on vacation. While you are under stress and burnout, you may also be more judgmental towards your partner, also leading to conflict. Your critical attitude could cause your partner to feel emotionally vulnerable or judged by you.
The Importance Of Connecting With Family And Friends
As people transition into different phases of life, their schedules can become challenging to manage. Many people feel less connected and isolated from loved ones who are too busy with work, school, and other obligations. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, exhaustion, and burnout.
Family members and close friends can become even more important as people get busier and busier. They provide a different type of support that can help keep you sane when you are burned out, stressed out, and struggling to make it through the workweek.
Those who are part of a family that genuinely cares about and helps each other tend to be more resilient—they have someone to lean on when times get tough. The support they receive during difficult times can help mitigate how hard they feel and increase feelings of control and security.
Family members also bring a sense of belonging and purpose. They give us a sense that we are supported, loved, and appreciated in our endeavors, and are not alone.
Friends can make the difference between feeling stuck and getting unstuck. They are there for the good and bad and can help us be more resilient in life's challenges. When we have a strong network of friends, we know that someone will always support us when things get difficult or overwhelming. It's easier to truly tackle them head-on, free from that worry of being alone in our struggles.
Making Time For Friends And Family
Every person has the same problem: we need more time. We are so exhausted and burnt out that we don't offer our friends the attention they deserve. It becomes a vicious cycle for some – working more to get ahead leads to neglecting our friends, which only reinforces our further isolation or drive.
It's not inevitable to lose touch with your nearest and dearest as you become more successful or wealthy. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
Making time for your friends and family is the best thing you can do to maintain balance and health. When you prioritize connecting with those who mean the most to you, it is a constant reminder of what matters most. It reminds you of your humanity and keeps you grounded. It keeps you sane.
Here are a few simple actions to take if you want to make time for friends and family:
Check in with family and friends over the phone or in person. Don't have anything special planned? That's okay – simply reconnecting with people is a great way to start a healthier lifestyle. Once you get into the habit of reconnecting, it won't be as hard as it seems and will free up mental space for other priorities. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep up with your friends, so why should you wait until something special comes along before you check in?
Have other people over when you're home. Who is stopping you from inviting over a friend or neighbor? This will give you a great opportunity to catch up with them and see what they've been up to.
Take advantage of holidays. You don't have to travel across the country, or even across town. Plenty of holidays give us a reason to reconnect with people we care about. Making time for friends and family can happen easily during holidays – you just have to prioritize it.
Set up a regular date with your family members and friends. It could be once a week or once a month. Whatever is possible for you and your social circles – make it happen. You can even learn to set up regular dates online with friends worldwide if you cannot meet up in person that often. This is a habit that will pay off if you stick with it.
Eat together. Not so much for the food but for the opportunity to sit and catch up. It could be a simple potluck or picnic – eating together can lead you to countless discussions and shared experiences.
Be proactive about managing your workload so you can have free time. Usually, the less you do in a day, the more free time you'll have. Some people may argue that having more money will give them more free time, but it won't actually happen that way.
As much as we would like to have time for everything, that's impossible. It's always easier to find a few hours for reconnecting with friends or family than to find extra hours in the day; make them a priority.