OK, I’ve had a blissful few years, where my only stress had been my headstrong teenage daughter. But now at 50, I am facing the challenges of going back to work in a demanding job after a very long absence.


I am sitting at home getting myself prepped up and feeling (ever-so-slightly) stressed. And going through this makes me grateful for the support I have to make this transition, but at the same time, I regret I have not been as supportive as I could have been for my partner (in my defence, he is the sort of self-sufficient sort of guy who HATES being fussed over and gets annoyed about in).

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology recently published a study to show that IT MATTERS so much to a person’s wellbeing to know that he/she is fully supported by his/her spouse: Their stress decreased, they slept better, they generally felt healthier, and their emotions were simply more positive.

Interestingly, the PERCEPTION of being supported is actually more powerful than actually receiving the support itself, according to Katy Sweeny, Ph.D., a UCR psychology professor and co-author of the study.

Indeed, how you support your partner could make or break a relationship….and I am not only talking about occupational stress, but also when it comes to health and family. You need someone who is going to be strong for you, however strong you yourself are, to navigate the choppy waters of life.

So, how to support without annoying the stressed partner? This list, prepared in conjunction with my other half:

  1.  Don’t baby me. You are not my parent and I am grown-up.
  2. Don’t ask too many questions. It could add to the stress explaining the complexities of my work to you. BUT please be there for me if I need to talk (you are afterall my nearest and dearest).
  3. Please don’t burden me with “activities” that you think might make me feel more relaxed, like seeing friends, for example.
  4. Don’t look at me with that concerned look all the time, as if expecting me to fall apart.
  5. BUT please be a little more tolerant for my snappish moods.
  6. Reaffirm your love for me by being you that I fell in love with – don’t morph into a nursemaid/psychologist/management consultant.
  7. Be constant for me. Our life goes on.
  8. PPPST! Hot chocolate/a cup of tea is always welcomed 😀