Psychologist Jennifer Garth answers your questions
PSYCHOLOGIST JENNIFER GARTH ON RENOVATING AND RELATIONSHIPS, CHANGING YOUR CAREER AND HOW TO SAVE A FRIENDSHIP THAT’S COOLED
‘Renovation fatigue is real so take time out’
I’m in the middle of a home renovation. My partner and I seem to be fighting about everything. How do we finish the renovation with our relationship intact?
ARenovating a house can be highly stressful. Ballooning budgets, things that go crash in the night, tradesmen traipsing through your place and limited access to those amenities you love, like running water and working appliances – these issues can get to any couple. Keep your relationship healthy by making decisions together. If you and your partner disagree, use the renovation as an opportunity to learn how to compromise. Renovation fatigue is real so make sure you take time out. Create an escape hatch – a corner of your house that’s completely renovation free. No dust, no tools and no mood boards. It’s a place where you and your partner can get away from it all, order some takeaway and relax.
I have a successful career in public relations, but I’m unhappy in my job and my life. I want to change careers, but I’m worried what everyone will think. I don’t want to let anyone down.
A Goals and desires evolve, so it’s normal our decisions will evolve with them. It’s okay to admit career choices you made in the past are no longer right for you, and you have decided you want to move in a different direction. If you want to make the transition you’ll have to overcome your fear of what others might, or might not, think. Change is not a sign of weakness and you should never beat yourself up if you decide to change tack. And if your decision doesn’t affect anyone, there’s no need to feel you owe people an explanation. Use your boldness in changing direction to inspire others.
I find lots of things irritate me now such as bad drivers and unhelpful sales assistants. I quickly become abrupt and aggressive. How do I deal with my hostility?
A The key to handling irritating situations is to reduce your overall stress. Plan your day so you’re not pushed for time. Other strategies to reduce stress are being realistic about what you can achieve in the time available, or scheduling some ‘buffer’ time into your day. Meditation or yoga can help too.
My best friend seems to have lost interest in me. We were so close but it’s as if overnight she decided to stop making an effort with me and I don’t know why. What should I do?
A It could be you’re misinterpreting what is going on. Maybe she is distracted by something in her life and needs space to process it, rather than talking about it. There could be any number of reasons why it feels as if there’s been a change in your relationship and it may not be the worst-case scenario you have jumped to. You can only find out what is happening by asking. Why not try something like, ‘The connection feels different to me. What’s going on?’
It’s okay to admit choices are no longer right for you now