Burnout, it’s a term we hear often in our society. You get burned out emotionally, physically, and mentally when we are under excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs often times when you are feeling overwhelmed and drained. It can occur in any part of our lives – at work, at school, or even in our relationship. Being burned out in any one area of our life can lead to a lack of motivation and issues in the other areas of our lives.
Relationship burnout can happen to any of us. It doesn’t matter if you have been with your partner for 2 years or 20 years, you can come to feel as if your relationship has hit a wall. It may be the things that used to excite you, now seem commonplace or predictable or even that you feel depleted and worn out by the day-to-day monotony that surrounds you. In my experience, I’ve discovered that when people start feeling this way, their relationship tends to suffer the most.
I get it though. It’s easy to let this happen, especially when you have work, kids, and extracurricular activities to worry about. In a world chock full of to-do lists, meetings, and other activities, we have little time for ourselves, let alone our relationship. It’s not easy penciling in a time for you to be with your partner when the rest of the world feels like it’s going to fall apart when you step away.
On top of that, it may feel like the time you used to enthusiastically carve out for your relationship has been transformed into a daunting task that only gets pushed farther and farther down your to-do list. When approaching a period of burnout, you are more susceptible to feelings of frustration and irritation. This can lead to unnecessary arguments and tension between you and your partner.
Many things can lead to relationship burnout. It may be that your partner used to represent a safe place for you. That you used to be able to go to them and know that you were going to be understood. Now it may seem that anytime the two of you talk, it only leads to an argument or you feeling like you simply aren’t being heard. You may find yourself asking, “What happened to us?”
In order to find an answer to that particular question, you need to take a moment and consider what is happening with your own self. Sometimes you just feel lost. No matter which direction you take a step in it never feels quite right. I have found that when people take a deeper look, they most often realize that they have simply stop caring for themselves. It’s difficult to stay connected with our partners when we haven’t been staying connected to ourselves.
Keep reading for 3 EASY ways to help you not only care for yourself, but to prevent burnout in your relationship as well.
Communicate your needs. It’s like the saying goes, “If you’re not at your best, then you can’t be your best for those around you”. It’s important that you and your partner are open about what each of you need. No matter how much we think our partners should know what we like and dislike, they aren’t a mind reader. We often experience dissatisfaction in our relationships simply because we aren’t being clear about what we are wanting. This leads us to feel like we are putting too much effort into the relationship only to get nothing in return.
Communicating your needs with your partner may be difficult, if it’s something you are not used to. It will require a little bit of vulnerability, compassion, and empathy, on both sides.
The benefit is, communicating what your needs are will help create a safe space to share, build trust and respect. The hope behind using this tool is to have a relationship that thrives on realistic expectations and healthy boundaries.
Have care days. Life can be very demanding and stressful. It’s important for you to not only take time for your relationship, but for yourself as well. Care days are all about getting away from the demands of the world and shifting your focus to something that makes you happy.
Self-care days can consist of doing something just for yourself such as getting a manicure/pedicure, going to the bookstore alone, or just taking a walk.
Relationship-care days are composed of doing something with your partner that’s just for the two of you and not based in what you have to do. For example, going out to dinner or simply watching a television show together on the couch are great options.
Show Appreciation. It’s really easy to only focus on the negatives in your life or in your relationship. I challenge you to find things about your partner that you enjoy and communicate those things to him or her at least 3-4 times a week.
These don’t have to be huge, grand gestures to warrant your appreciation. Maybe your partner picked up a snack you like at the grocery store when they went shopping or maybe they took a few minutes to start your car in the mornings before they left.
Telling your partner what you appreciate about them adds to your overall commitment and connection to each other. By sharing with them how much you appreciate even the little things that they do, it makes them feel wanted and loved while also reminding you about the positive aspects of their personality.
The above are 3 small actions that can have a big impact. Start implementing them in your relationship this week in order to create the best relationship for you and your partner. No one wants to be in a relationship that makes them feel bored, unwanted, or stressed out. Relationship burnout can be avoided through taking small actions now before things get to their breaking point. A little bit of care and attention to your relationship will go a long way. Avoiding relationship burnout, and knowing how to manage it, is important for keeping your relationship going.
If you find that you are still struggling in your relationship, please contact Solid Foundations Therapy today to schedule your appointment with one of our skilled and knowledgeable therapists. We would be happy to help you get back on track.