Stress is contagious. In this age of high expectations and long work hours, it’s easy for men and women to bring their worries and frustrations home and spread them all over their relationships.
Grandparents might treat loved ones with the same approach as a boss, which can be very destructive. Or some grandparents might start resenting their close relationships, and expect to just relax on the sofa when they get home. Of course, that’s an insult anyone who cares for them.
What can we do?
First, recognize the value of “decompression time.” Take some time in the car-or in your first few minutes home-to adjust your frame of mind. Exercise, read the newspaper, shower, change clothes. After a few minutes alone, you can shift gears and be ready for relationship time.
Second, keep communicating-even about the stresses you’re facing. It’s easy for loved ones to feel like they are going through the stressful work situation with you. But if they are informed about your work stresses, that will be a positive factor. Communicating will help everyone stay aware of the stresses, and can make you both more forgiving when one of you is in a bad mood.
Third, realize that sometimes bigger steps are necessary. If you’re stressed out or blaming your loved ones for your tension, or if there’s a growing distance between you, it may be time to start thinking about a job change. Have a heart-to-heart about your true values and priorities.
Looking for a less stressful, more flexible position may cause more stress for a while, but you know you’re doing it for the right reasons. Even if the new position pays less, that’s an adjustment that most families can make. And aren’t your relationships worth it?
You know, there are a lot of emotionally disconnected grandparents right now-still working in high-stress jobs-who regret not making changes sooner to try to save their relationships.
Grandparent, don’t let a stressful job slowly erode the foundations of your key relationships. Take steps to protect it, starting today.