Author Topic: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief  (Read 13355 times)

Thegoblinchief

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Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« on: February 21, 2014, 04:59:22 PM »
My wife has been super stressed lately and I keep gently suggesting that exercise will help.

It's gotten to the point that MY stress level goes up when she gets home, but I can't exactly say "look honey, you're not fun to be around and, frankly, you're being a bitch."

I saw the thread about getting SO to bike to work, but that was so focused on safety I thought I'd start a new thread.

Thanks all.

sheepstache

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 05:03:36 PM »
I have nothing to say except that we may be the same person.  I also can't get mine to eat or sleep properly.  Or change jobs to one that's less stressful.  Or cut down on side job commitments. 

So if you figure it out, do let me know.

Eric

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 05:09:37 PM »
How long has it been going on for?  If it's a short term thing, I think you actually should tell her she's being a bitch. (Or you could frame it more gently if needed)  Long term is more problematic.

momo

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 05:09:55 PM »
I have nothing to say except that we may be the same person.  I also can't get mine to eat or sleep properly.  Or change jobs to one that's less stressful.  Or cut down on side job commitments. 

So if you figure it out, do let me know.

Hot dang sheepstache!  Your situation resonates with ours.  Everything from the less than desirable eating, sleeping, and job situation.  Tis frightening there are others who share the same hardships.  Will say successfully encouraged mine now saves 15% into her 401k, a major accomplishment IMHO since she use to spend like water on happy hour, cosmetics, massages, trips, clothing (are two full-sized closets enough dear) and eating out daily with friends and her sisters.  Mercy me!

momo

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 05:12:38 PM »
How long has it been going on for?  If it's a short term thing, I think you actually should tell her she's being a bitch. (Or you could frame it more gently if needed)  Long term is more problematic.


Agreed!  No one wants to be around a grouch or constantly negative person.  The emotions are toxic and can easily corrupt / drain even the most optimistic.  I actually say I am going to gym want to join me?  Usually she will unless she is too tired from a late night watching netflicks or websurfing.  Two activities that we do together that works is walking together to farmers markets and hiking to beaches.  Her dog is visiting this week so it has been a good experience but it only works if you have a dog and you really don't mind picking up the poop too. :P

Good luck with your talk!  Btw, framing your observation might produce a more positive feedback and even a open discussion on what bothers her.  Good luck supporting each other and hang in there.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 05:21:45 PM by StashtasticMomo »

TrMama

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 05:15:40 PM »
Suggest doing some sort of activity together? Perhaps start with something that doesn't allow you to talk much while you're doing it so you don't have to be subject to her attitude. Swimming maybe?

Lead by example? Perhaps if she sees you coming home all relaxed and tired she'll get the idea?

Buy her the lessons/time/equipment/whatever she needs and give it to here as a gift.

DH and I have the kind of relationship where when one of us is being a bitch the other is brutally honest about it. However, I get the sense we're kind of unusual in this regard.

LDoon

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 05:24:44 PM »
I have nothing to say except that we may be the same person.  I also can't get mine to eat or sleep properly.  Or change jobs to one that's less stressful.  Or cut down on side job commitments. 

So if you figure it out, do let me know.

Sounds like my situation as well.  Except I now call her my ex-wife. ;)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2014, 05:29:58 PM »
How long has it been going on for?  If it's a short term thing, I think you actually should tell her she's being a bitch. (Or you could frame it more gently if needed)  Long term is more problematic.

I would say short-term, but I'm worried it's becoming long-term.

Two problems:

1. *I* don't want to be another source of stress. I talk about how great I feel with biking. I've offered, despite our finances, to find a way to pay for running shoes/machine/bike, but the answer is so non-committal I don't want to spend the money.

2. She's the kind of person that when she's grumpy, she just shuts down and refuses to talk about it. In the past, it's never been more than a day or two. This is longer, or at least periods that are much closer together.

Normally I can be brutally honest with her, but the last few times I've done that, she gets royally pissed off and goes into shut-down mode. Hence not wanting to do the whole "hey, you're being kind of a bitch right now" thing this time.

horsepoor

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2014, 05:37:02 PM »
"Dear, you seem kind of stressed out.  Do you want to take a walk around the block to blow off steam?  I can have a hot bubble bath ready for you when you get back."

Kinda' high maintenance, but maybe if you can get her working on that walk around the block, she'll realize it feels good and make it longer/faster/more regular thing.

golfer44

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2014, 05:37:42 PM »
but I can't exactly say "look honey, you're not fun to be around and, frankly, you're being a bitch."

Avoiding the B-word, why not? Can you not speak frankly to eachother?

StarryC

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2014, 05:40:20 PM »
What is the stress caused by?  For me, stress is usually caused by too many tasks in too little time.  To help me, if I were your SO, here's what I'd recommend:  Decrease the number of tasks on the list while suggesting some personal time.  If that means that you clean the house/ do the laundry/ buy groceries/ take the kids to get new shoes/ cook dinner or whatever thing that is usually the SOs job one day/ week/ or month ALONG with suggesting she do something relaxing during the time, that might be good. 

When I'm busy and someone says "You should take some me time" I always want to scream "OH Yeah! How will YOU feel about my ME TIME when it is YOUR request that is late/ not done, huh?!" 

Other causes of stress aren't so easy to fix, but I think suggesting something "fun" is better than suggesting "exercise."  Maybe a bike ride on a sunny day, a zumba/ cardio dance class/ yoga/ a day at the beach/ a hike to someplace cool etc.  Yes, daily, boring cardio is stress relief too, but when your SO says "exercise more" that can sound like an insult.   

lizzzi

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2014, 05:46:31 PM »
Goblinchief, this is just a thought…based on years of coming home stressed. And I've never had a husband do it, but you know what would be sooooo fabulous? A good back rub, or even just a good shoulder rub when I was sitting in a chair. I think that if a husband told me to do something to relieve my stress, that it would just make me feel more stressed. But I've never had either of my two husbands do a back rub, and that would have been great.

BPA

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2014, 05:52:56 PM »
Goblinchief, this is just a thought…based on years of coming home stressed. And I've never had a husband do it, but you know what would be sooooo fabulous? A good back rub, or even just a good shoulder rub when I was sitting in a chair. I think that if a husband told me to do something to relieve my stress, that it would just make me feel more stressed. But I've never had either of my two husbands do a back rub, and that would have been great.

I like this idea.  Telling me I'm a bitch when I'm already stressed might not be a good idea, but that's me.

Soooooooooooo glad I don't live with my SO. 

No Name Guy

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2014, 06:03:12 PM »
My wife has been super stressed lately and I keep gently suggesting that exercise will help.

It's gotten to the point that MY stress level goes up when she gets home, but I can't exactly say "look honey, you're not fun to be around and, frankly, you're being a bitch."

I saw the thread about getting SO to bike to work, but that was so focused on safety I thought I'd start a new thread.

Thanks all.

"Hey Ms. Thegoblinchief, how about we take a stroll this evening.  And look what I'm bringing, yes, they're travel coffee mugs with lids, but look, it's not coffee in there, but some wine [or her fav beverage] for us to sip on while we enjoy the walk."

Make it a fun activity TOGETHER.....don't pitch it as exercise, that's too obvious.  Pitch it as something you're interested in doing, but that would be fun to do TOGETHER.  and if that doesn't work....go the whole back rub way....and then get her some bubble bath and cheap candles.

lsalinas

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2014, 06:17:58 PM »
I have an incredibly stressful job and when I go home all twisted up about something my husband asks me if there is anything he can do to help me relieve the stress.   He does suggest pleasant things like drawing me a bath or talking a walk on the beach and sometimes I take him up on it.  Sometimes I do have a something in mind for him to take care of so that I can take that thing off my "to do" list.  However, usually just the offer puts me in a good mood and the stress lifts and he doesn't even have to do anything else.

If he tried to tell me how to relieve my stress instead of asking me how he might help or if he pointed out to me that I am not fun to be around, I would not be happy. 

« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 06:19:43 PM by lsalinas »

sheepstache

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2014, 06:45:12 PM »
The weirdest thing for me is his argument that exercise will make him more tired.  He categorically refuses to accept my argument that exercising actually gives you more energy.

Of course the problem is that having the shitty mood yourself is worse than being the partner dealing with you.  So it's hard to be hard on them.  But sometimes you're so low that you need someone to give you a (gentle, supportive) kick in the rear to improve your situation.

Pro tip: telling them "the Money Mustach forum would agree with me" is not the way to go.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2014, 06:52:12 PM »
It's gotten to the point that MY stress level goes up when she gets home, but I can't exactly say "look honey, you're not fun to be around and, frankly, you're being a bitch."


I was going to recommend heavy bag training, but it sounds like you got that covered.

meteor

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2014, 06:58:04 PM »
Exercise is just a temporary band-aid.  If she is stressed, she needs to deal with the primary cause of what is causing it, and then do something about it.  Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it.

Carolina on My Mind

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2014, 06:59:08 PM »
This is a tough one, goblinchief.  I'm also constantly trying to convince my SO to manage stress better and get some exercise, and it's an uphill battle. 

When I try to spring an exercise idea on him ("Hey, let's go for a walk after dinner"), the answer is almost always no.  I have better luck suggesting things in advance ("Will you walk up to the grocery store with me tomorrow morning?" or "Let's walk over to [restaurant] for lunch tomorrow" or "Let's take the Metro downtown this weekend and wander around," etc.).  I even convinced him once to take dance lessons -- I had to drag him there every week, but once he committed to the class, he stuck with it.  He always admits afterward that he enjoyed the outing and is glad we went, but when someone isn't used to exercising it takes patience to get him/her there.  It's hard to be persistent without feeling like a nag (and as you point out, potentially adding to the stress level). 

I keep reminding myself that I haven't always appreciated that exercise relieves stress.  I had to figure it out for myself, and so does he, and eventually he will.

One other thought:  if you can find a more sedentary activity that you both like and can do together, such as playing cards or doing a jigsaw puzzle or something like that, that can be a real stress reliever too.  I've had success suggesting things like that, although even that took a while.  Some people just get really mired in their job woes, and they don't realize how much it helps to step away and think about something else for a couple hours.

Anyway, good luck, and don't give up!

Noodle

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2014, 07:14:56 PM »
Unless your wife has always liked exercise as a stress relief and for some reason is refusing to partake now (which would be its own question) you might be getting ahead of yourself if you are jumping straight to the solution...it's not everyone's preferred way of getting a break and for some people it's really freighted.

I do think it is entirely fair as a spouse, since this seems to be a long-term pattern and not just a couple of days, to gently point out that the stress is spilling over onto you at home. (Preferably not at a moment of major meltdown.) Then it really is up to her as to the solution, although you can offer support or, if she wants them, suggestions.

ch12

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 07:32:24 PM »
What is the stress caused by?  For me, stress is usually caused by too many tasks in too little time.  To help me, if I were your SO, here's what I'd recommend:  Decrease the number of tasks on the list while suggesting some personal time.  If that means that you clean the house/ do the laundry/ buy groceries/ take the kids to get new shoes/ cook dinner or whatever thing that is usually the SOs job one day/ week/ or month ALONG with suggesting she do something relaxing during the time, that might be good. 

When I'm busy and someone says "You should take some me time" I always want to scream "OH Yeah! How will YOU feel about my ME TIME when it is YOUR request that is late/ not done, huh?!" 

Other causes of stress aren't so easy to fix, but I think suggesting something "fun" is better than suggesting "exercise."  Maybe a bike ride on a sunny day, a zumba/ cardio dance class/ yoga/ a day at the beach/ a hike to someplace cool etc.  Yes, daily, boring cardio is stress relief too, but when your SO says "exercise more" that can sound like an insult.   

+1

Seriously, this post could almost have been written by my roommate. I don't live with a significant other, but I do live with my best friend. Around the same time as this post was written (in Wisconsin, no less), we were having a discussion about how stressed out I am about my job. We work at the same company and I have a harder time saying "no" to work than she does. She has more autonomy than I do, or else people ask her to do fewer things...probably both. She works about 80% of the time that I do for almost the same pay. (We log our time in 15 minute increments, so it's quantifiable.)

Taking on your wife's tasks at home will lighten her cognitive load and make her less stressed out. Make her life as low key as possible. http://danariely.com/2012/08/15/understanding-ego-depletion/

Stress relief today was chilling with my translation team and playing with bunnies plus board games. Distraction is good.

mlipps

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2014, 07:55:09 PM »
Have you considered that there might something larger at work? The comment about her being too tired due to late nights on Netflix sounds like it could be mild depression. Maybe it'd be worth seeing someone if she's open to it?

Otherwise, happy to see I'm not the only one with a stressed out spouse. Mine brought his exercise bike into our 850 sq ft apartment at Thanksgiving and has rode it once. Lovely...

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2014, 07:56:07 PM »
Goblinchief, this is just a thought…based on years of coming home stressed. And I've never had a husband do it, but you know what would be sooooo fabulous? A good back rub, or even just a good shoulder rub when I was sitting in a chair. I think that if a husband told me to do something to relieve my stress, that it would just make me feel more stressed. But I've never had either of my two husbands do a back rub, and that would have been great.

Multiple times a day ;)

It's mainly work-related. Hopefully it will pass now that some personality conflicts have been resolved and, in one case, someone was fired.

She's also had really low energy. Weather around here doesn't help. But that's why I jumped to the solution of exercise, trying to (hopefully) nail two birds with one stone.

The weirdest thing for me is his argument that exercise will make him more tired.  He categorically refuses to accept my argument that exercising actually gives you more energy.

Pro tip: telling them "the Money Mustach forum would agree with me" is not the way to go.

Oh man, I would NEVER say that, lol. She already thinks I'm in a cult of some sort.

tariskat

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2014, 08:27:57 AM »
As a stressed out bitch, lol, I love getting back rubs and hand massages. I would also take up SO's offer of I go for a quiet walk while he draws a hot bath and gets me a glass of wine or cup of tea. That's never happened. I should suggest he add it to his arsenal.

A book is more relaxing than TV to me, to, if it's fast reading, like jack reacher or Dresden files. you can easily lose yourself minus the noise of the screen.

I also am far more relaxed if SO does the dishes and cleans up the kitchen, etc, stuff that bugs me faster than it bugs him so I end up doing it first.

Maybe you guys could try setting up something social? Tonight, for example, The Walking Dead is on, and we go meet our friends for drinks and all watch it together and scream at the screen.  We do this once a week during season and it's fun to reconnect with friends.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2014, 08:29:06 AM »
Found a gentle way to bring up "hey, your stress affects the rest of us too" without getting her mad or further stressed out but no success yet in getting her to seek stress relief, so I can't really offer any tips.

Things are better right now but we'll see what happens when the work week starts back up.

Rukkh

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2014, 05:17:34 AM »
Polite persistence.

I think you're on the right track with the exercise thing - despite a comment earlier about getting to the source of the issue I think that the type of person who tends to let stress get to them, and then shuts down when criticised is the type of person who is likely not yet equipped to tackle the issue head on.

My missus has had lots of trouble sleeping since the baby, lots of unnecessary stress and anxiety over the tiniest thing but she's started to see that my quiet answer of 'diet and exercise' for why i wasn't suffering so bad at the sleep deprivation stage might be accurate.

A few things helped:
- Make Time - in my case it was responsibility management but massive to do lists like mentioned above will also cause the same problem.
Put more effort into doing housework or whatever free's up her time, in my house that causes another guilt/stress cycle but I can live with more silly stress here for the time being.

Use time: it was probably said above but exercise might not need be the first step - social activities, movies, coffee dates, games - get out of the house with friends. None of these things help my FI goals in the immediate term but the stress is probably costing me more. (Where the FI talk had failed first time round and every suggestion i had caused ridicule of mr "shake your money maker", a few months on and we're now on the right track)

Pick the right type of exercise. I have two tricks here - neither is FI sensible:
- Pick something that is fun - My SO decided she loves rollerblading and picked up some lessons on a coupon site. It costs but she's out there.
- Team sports or group sessions can add a social opinion factor into the motivation to continue.

Avoiding things like late night netflix binges helps too, whilst movies and books can be stress relief, skipping sleep, binging and solo sessions aren't helping the stress cycle.

Actually that reminds me of another tip... there is a form of exercise which ticks a lot of those boxes, is collaborative and can be worked in after an episode of a HBO drama but before bed, relieves a lot of stress and helps sleeping.

horsepoor

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2014, 09:46:23 AM »
Exercise is just a temporary band-aid.  If she is stressed, she needs to deal with the primary cause of what is causing it, and then do something about it.  Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it.

Maybe, but physical fitness really makes it easier to deal with all sorts of stress in the long-term, in addition to being a short-term pressure release valve.

Frequently, I'll go for a run when I come home from work pissed off, and by the time I get back from the run, I can't even remember what I was so pissed about.  Kind of puts some of those stressors in perspective.

ace1224

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2014, 11:09:05 AM »
glad things are getting better!  question, does she even like exercise? i only ask this because my so is a huge workout junkie and there is nothing i hate more.  when he even starts talking to me about how exercise will make me feel better and relieve stress and anxiety it makes everything even worse.  i cannot get him to understand that just because he thinks its the best thing ever it doesn't mean i do.  i can think of at least 100 things id rather do.
i really like the shooting range when i'm stressed out. 


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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2014, 11:56:34 AM »

Actually that reminds me of another tip... there is a form of exercise which ticks a lot of those boxes, is collaborative and can be worked in after an episode of a HBO drama but before bed, relieves a lot of stress and helps sleeping.

I'm surprised it took so long for the obvious solution to be suggested! :-)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2014, 06:04:55 PM »
LOL. Not going to say anything, but.... ;)

As far as 'conventional' exercise goes, she used to be the gym rat of the two of us back in college. We take walks when it's not Hoth weather outside. Harder/less relaxing with the kids but still doable.

Currently the only intense cardio she gets is, wait, I said I wasn't going to go there.

Eric

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #30 on: February 24, 2014, 06:15:15 PM »
2 minutes of the most intense cardio of her life!

scrubbyfish

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #31 on: February 24, 2014, 06:20:33 PM »
Sorry for the stress of being around a stressed-out person! Great that you've had some advances in this already.

My thoughts are mostly a "+1" of lots of stuff already said by others here.

I am one of those people who has usually found exercise to be more stress-inducing than stress-relieving, so I too encourage caution around presenting this as the solution. This stress-response to exercise is relatively common for tense people (a cortisol thing). There are points where exercise is a happy thing for me, but this is generally when I am starting with energy and joy. If I'm starting in stress, moving my body is an additional factor that simply depletes me.

If I were in an awesome headspace, I would say something like, "Honey, you seem super stressed out lately. Is there anything I can do to help? What would help you feel safe and well?" She might identify things other than exercise. For her it might be heading to a retreat centre for a night, or having specific home-related tasks lifted from her plate, or a day in the library, or whatever. While exercise does little to calm me, the things that do are, in this order: specific dietary approaches, counselling where I can "get it all out", hours and hours completely alone and uninterrupted. I emerge from those like the freakin' Buddha.

ch12

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #32 on: February 24, 2014, 08:49:07 PM »
2 minutes of the most intense cardio of her life!

Be fair now. Wisconsin has an average of 3:22. ;)

http://www.nerve.com/love-sex/which-states-have-the-longest-and-shortest-sex

homehandymum

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2014, 01:33:59 AM »
Having recently *been* the horrible bitch that even *I* didn't want to live with anymore, for me it was diet much more than exercise.

I am a mother of 3 kids in my mid-30s. My body started to go crazy on me and my mind/mood was the main symptom (but not the only one).  I blame peri-menopause.

For me, the answer was increasing my fat intake and lowering my bread.  Basically switching to a paleo diet was what helped in the immediate term - I kid you not but in the space of 2 weeks I was a chilled out lovely person with a sense of humour again.  Now, almost 2 years later I'm not convinced that the bread and carbs were the baddies in and of themselves - but I was eating so much of them that the essential fats and minerals etc for making good brain chemicals and hormones were just not being eaten. 

Nutrition and brain chemistry is a real biggie.  Stress depletes lots and lots of things - B vitamins, Magnesium etc etc.  This little website has been good for me:  http://www.rebuildfromdepression.com/depression-foods/  Her own experience is with post-natal depression but the advice works for all sorts of brain-stress things.

Just you being there and being understanding and supportive will help.  I treasure my DH so much for being solid and reliable and constant, even when I must have been driving him insane.  And now I've got my head back, we're good again :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2014, 07:10:46 AM »

Be fair now. Wisconsin has an average of 3:22. ;)

http://www.nerve.com/love-sex/which-states-have-the-longest-and-shortest-sex

All I'll say is that SSRI medications have highly beneficial side effects in that department ;)

 

Nutrition and brain chemistry is a real biggie.  Stress depletes lots and lots of things - B vitamins, Magnesium etc etc.  This little website has been good for me:  http://www.rebuildfromdepression.com/depression-foods/  Her own experience is with post-natal depression but the advice works for all sorts of brain-stress things.

Just you being there and being understanding and supportive will help.  I treasure my DH so much for being solid and reliable and constant, even when I must have been driving him insane.  And now I've got my head back, we're good again :)

Getting someone else to change their diet is hard. It's hard enough to change your own! I try to do gentle encouragement and reminders but it very easily crosses the boundary into nagging.

The just being there is something I really try to work at and remind myself. There's a great line from "A Guide to the Good Life" that I repeat almost as a mantra. Paraphrasing: "You can't make the beloved love you. All you can to is make yourself more lovable."

LibrarIan

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2014, 07:27:39 AM »
I think exercise is part of the solution for sure. While this isn't a plug for P90X, it's what I've been doing. A friend gave me all the videos and I've been at it for about 10 weeks. It's one of those things where you don't even have to think about working out or how to do it because you just 'show up' to your living room gym, pop a disc in and have four people on the screen show you how to do everything. There are mountains of evidence for the benefits of exercise, and in your situation with the stress problem exercise can only help you. It regulates your blood pressure, gives you more energy in the long run and increases your overall happiness and self-esteem. In my relationship, I try to just lead by example, thereby avoiding arguments. If your stress decreases because you work out, that's a reason for her to join you, assuming she hasn't already.

Go on walks together, rides bikes together, do the deed in fun places, treat her to a spa day, etc.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 07:29:42 AM by LibrarIan »

lifejoy

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2014, 07:50:35 AM »
As the grouchy one in the house, I can tell you what works for me! :)

My bf is very sweet and sometimes tries to drag me out of the house, but when I feel lethargic that doesn't fly. What works is this: he epically cleans the house and makes me a healthy meal. These are things within his control that have a very big positive effect on me. A clean house just feels better, his thoughtfulness and "pitching in" helps my mood, and it's easy to feel depressed when you eat a whole bag of Cheetos, but harder when you've had broccoli with salmon and yam fries.

Encouraging early bedtimes is good. Asking her what she wants to do, and then helping to brainstorm an activity that is lighthearted (video games? Funny tv show?) can help maybe.

We all know exercise is good for us. But when you're in the depths of despair, it's an extremely hard sell.

burly

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2014, 08:01:26 AM »
I've been in the same boat as the OP.. and somewhat still am. It's not only exercise but a big difference is how we handle stress... Not to mention some cold weather blues added in the mix.

I will try the offering a hot bath thing..as it's far too cold for a walk here.. Anyways, so I've been chipping away about exercise for my wife for a few months, pricing out gyms with daycare and so forth, however, I talked her into purchasing a treadmill (most cost efficient). This way, we both have at least 30 minutes of solace running with headphones and no little screams to increase the stress levels.

It has worked so far! However, between the stomach flu and recent colds.. we're back to grumpy town... But, once that passes, we'll be back to running 3x a week.

I think your SO needs to find her release.. Often times it's both physical and mental... So working out is great for the physical, but she may need some time to wind down as well.

Just my 2 cents.

jba302

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2014, 08:04:15 AM »
That chart includes negotiating/begging time right?


I have some of these issues myself. If I don't get moving I get really tired/crabby. It's also very hard for me to get moving sometimes. I have depression and am getting pretty good at knowing when it comes on and why and how and I STILL have problems getting moving from time to time. So I would also suspect depression is going on as was mentioned earlier.

The answer for me has always been momentum and goal setting within activities. I don't "work out", I train. For everything. I'll train for a cup of coffee given the opportunity. The mild stressor combined with success (easy success goals most of the time) gives me a huge net stress reliever over time, as long as I keep it up. Once I stop I drop into depression again. Doing that plus meditation has helped me tremendously.

Osprey

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2014, 08:40:10 AM »
I just wanted to chime in and say that exercise is not a foolproof universal stress reliever, even for people who used to be gym rats in the past. If you push her too hard on this she might feel pressure, causing even more stress.

You could try to help her relax by taking care of some things on her "to do" list (chores, cooking, social responsibilities?). It may also be helpful to know why she reacts this way to stressors, and why she over commits. I've found that some people don't have a concept of self care and many don't keep tabs on their own mental/emotional/physical state, so they end up taking the path of least resistance when life gets out of whack. This usually means sitting on the sofa with cheerios from 6-11pm.

fmzip

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2014, 11:46:55 AM »
I just bought this book...

http://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Free-Oxygenate-Excessive-Mindfulness/dp/0954599640

Have to say, I've read alot of books regarding anxiety and this one introduces something quite simple.

Less breathing is the key to calmness, quite amazing! Worth the $12 plus you get a meditation CD with it (order it from the second seller listed here)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0954599640/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&sr=&qid=


homehandymum

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2014, 12:32:54 PM »
Getting someone else to change their diet is hard. It's hard enough to change your own! I try to do gentle encouragement and reminders but it very easily crosses the boundary into nagging.

The just being there is something I really try to work at and remind myself. There's a great line from "A Guide to the Good Life" that I repeat almost as a mantra. Paraphrasing: "You can't make the beloved love you. All you can to is make yourself more lovable."

For sure.  I'm sure you're doing a great job.  Hang in there - it sounds like you've had a good couple of conversations.  And, unlike on Westeros, it is Summer that's coming for you guys, and that usually makes something of a difference.  :)

scrubbyfish

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2014, 01:40:16 PM »
Less breathing is the key to calmness, quite amazing!

Not sure if it's along the same lines, but in a class some months ago, I was taught this technique: breathe in slowly and as deeply as possible, hold for a couple of moments, breathe out slowly and completely -til there's no air left- and hold this state for as long as you can comfortably bear to. Repeat. Such a tiny adjustment to regular breathing techniques and, my goodness, what a magical world of difference it makes for me! I'm going to do it right now :)

I may look into that book!

momo

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2014, 04:09:07 PM »
Less breathing is the key to calmness, quite amazing!

Not sure if it's along the same lines, but in a class some months ago, I was taught this technique: breathe in slowly and as deeply as possible, hold for a couple of moments, breathe out slowly and completely -til there's no air left- and hold this state for as long as you can comfortably bear to. Repeat. Such a tiny adjustment to regular breathing techniques and, my goodness, what a magical world of difference it makes for me! I'm going to do it right now :)

I was taught that exact same breathing technique in college too!  It does work and helps calm a weary heart and mind too.

Winter's Tale

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2014, 05:58:49 PM »
A few years ago, I was your wife.  I had a full-time job that was quite demanding, was in grad school, and was newly married (to the best guy ever, but still a major life change).  When I am overwhelmed by stress, I tend to shut down completely.  I knew I was doing this and not dealing with stress in a healthy way.  However, what stopped me in my tracks was my husband calmly and lovingly telling me how hard it was for him when I acted that way.  He said how worried it made him and how he felt scared about our future when he thought about me reacting that way to future life events (kids, etc.).

Hearing him say these things was a revelation.  It had not occurred to me how hard it was for him when I was in shutdown mode.  My thought had been that I was really only hurting myself and that it was just for a few years while I got through school.  After that conversation, I really turned a corner and realized that I had to manage things in a better way for both of our sakes.  I think his message got through to me because it was coming from a place of genuine caring and concern rather than one of just "God, it's so annoying when you're acting bitchy!". 

Having experienced things from the other side, my suggestion would be to wait for a calm moment and express to your wife how her stress level doesn't just affect her, but affects you, too.  Good luck.

ch12

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2014, 06:18:12 PM »
That chart includes negotiating/begging time right?


That chart only includes physical movement; the article contains details. New Mexicans (7:02) have around double the stamina of average Wisconsinites (which, of course, GoblinChief surpasses).

Back on the actual topic of stress relief, it's kinda about being there and supporting her, which you already do (and which has been suggested by most posters). Even while I'm conscious of this, I'm totally in your wife's position right now. I'm going to chalk it up to a little cabin fever. I can't wait for Wisconsin to warm up. I think it's balmy when the the weather hits the 20s (and that makes me sad).

Pell mell

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2014, 09:37:36 PM »
A clean house just feels better, his thoughtfulness and "pitching in" helps my mood, and it's easy to feel depressed when you eat a whole bag of Cheetos, but harder when you've had broccoli with salmon and yam fries.

If you have the time and energy (since she might be bringing you down these days), this sounds really nice.  Also, I really like the breathing exercises.  Maybe you could suggest trying them out together.  Good luck.

meadow lark

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2014, 08:29:30 AM »
Fmzip- just watched a youtube video about the breathing technique - how wild!  I hope it works for you.  Seems really cool, and I had a friend in college who was recovering from several years of chronic hyperventilation, so I do believe that is real.  If you find good relief with it, please post a new thread about it.
Thread hijack over.

momo

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Re: Convincing SO to exercise or get ANY kind of stress-relief
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2014, 01:30:01 PM »
A few years ago, I was your wife.  I had a full-time job that was quite demanding, was in grad school, and was newly married (to the best guy ever, but still a major life change).  When I am overwhelmed by stress, I tend to shut down completely.  I knew I was doing this and not dealing with stress in a healthy way.  However, what stopped me in my tracks was my husband calmly and lovingly telling me how hard it was for him when I acted that way.  He said how worried it made him and how he felt scared about our future when he thought about me reacting that way to future life events (kids, etc.).

Hearing him say these things was a revelation.  It had not occurred to me how hard it was for him when I was in shutdown mode.  My thought had been that I was really only hurting myself and that it was just for a few years while I got through school.  After that conversation, I really turned a corner and realized that I had to manage things in a better way for both of our sakes.  I think his message got through to me because it was coming from a place of genuine caring and concern rather than one of just "God, it's so annoying when you're acting bitchy!". 

Having experienced things from the other side, my suggestion would be to wait for a calm moment and express to your wife how her stress level doesn't just affect her, but affects you, too.  Good luck.

What a touching story!  Thank you for sharing it gives others hope and courage.