Psy­chol­o­gist Jen­nifer Garth an­swers your ques­tions

PSY­CHOL­O­GIST JEN­NIFER GARTH ON MAK­ING ‘ME TIME’, A FRIEND IN DEBT AND A LIFE IN DIS­AR­RAY

Good Health (Australia) - - Content - If you’d like one of our ex­perts to an­swer your ques­tion, email it to health@bauer-me­dia.com.au. No per­sonal cor­re­spon­dence will be en­tered into.

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’

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