Psychologist Jennifer Garth answers your questions
PSYCHOLOGIST JENNIFER GARTH ON MAKING ‘ME TIME’, A FRIEND IN DEBT AND A LIFE IN DISARRAY
I need to lose weight, but with everything I do for everyone else, I barely get a chance to exercise or eat well. How do I find time for me?
A Healthy eating and exercise are usually the first to go when you put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. The key to finding time for yourself is acknowledging that doing things that benefit you isn’t selfish – in fact, if you want to be the best mother, partner, daughter or colleague, it’s essential. Get into the habit of prioritising you and learning to say no. Start by spending 10 minutes a day doing something just for you; it could be a walk, meditation or preparing a healthy meal. After two weeks, add another 10 minutes so that it becomes the norm, building up to 60 minutes or more of me time each day.
I lent a friend money a few months ago and she hasn’t paid me back, but has been on an overseas holiday. She recently asked me for another loan and I don’t feel comfortable lending her more money, but I don’t want to lose her friendship either. What should I do?
A Your friend’s not reliable with money, or she would have paid you back before she went overseas. You may think it’s saving you stress by saying yes in the shortterm, but if you proceed with the loan and don’t get paid back, it’s likely the debt will come between you anyway. Instead, be honest. Respecting each other’s decisions is essential in a healthy friendship, so tell your friend your concerns and how the loan relates to your own finances. If she doesn’t understand how you feel, you’ve made the right decision not to lend more.
When I’m out socialising with my partner, he often leaves me to go to talk to other people. I feel hurt and alone and can’t help but wonder – are we right for each other?
A If your partner was flirting with other people, I could completely understand your pain, but that isn’t the case here. Your hurt suggests that you may be looking to your partner to fill you up emotionally in some way. Love can be stifled when you’re constantly needing someone to prop you up, and when your partner doesn’t give you the reassurance you need, you’re inclined to blame him for making you feel rotten. Try asking yourself, ‘Am I avoiding taking responsibility for my feelings?’ Then look at how you can resolve your problems. When you take responsibility for how you feel, you put yourself back in control of your life.
Through poor business decisions and some bad luck, I lost my business and home. Now I’ve lost faith in myself. How can I get out of this when my confidence is so low?
A When you’re hit with a number of stresses, it’s easy to lose sight of your strengths and focus on the negatives. You need to spend some time considering the other challenges you’ve faced in your life and how you got through them. Use past experiences of success to tap into your resilience and inner resources. When you realise that you’ve survived tough times in the past, it’ll help you rebuild trust in yourself. If you’ve done it before, you can do it again.
‘Doing things that benefit you isn’t selfish’ ‘your friend’s not reliable, or she would have paid you back before’