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Ad­vice on self-de­vel­op­ment, nutri­tion and ed­u­ca­tion

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RUS­SELL HEM­MINGS Q My hus­band is very hard-work­ing and we have a good life here. The prob­lem is when we are on va­ca­tion. He’s ei­ther an­swer­ing of­fi­cial emails, or at­tend­ing calls from his as­so­ciates. He feels his job pays for such hol­i­days, so I shouldn’t be com­plain­ing. I don’t want to ap­pear un­grate­ful, but I’ve be­gun to feel that go­ing on a hol­i­day with him is point­less.

AYou’ve raised a very mod­ern con­cern. In the past, we’d leave work and go on va­ca­tion – a clear and defin­ing line was drawn. In fact, there was lit­tle or no chance to get or stay in touch and things sim­ply had to wait. But these days we’re no longer ac­cus­tomed to wait­ing for any­thing; ev­ery­thing in an in­stant is the ex­pec­ta­tion.

It sounds like your hus­band feels like he’s miss­ing out in some way. It’s likely he feels his in­put is nec­es­sary and with­out it, the en­tire op­er­a­tion will grind to a halt or a ma­jor catas­tro­phe will play out. Of course, this is not go­ing to hap­pen, but us hu­mans do have a knack of imag­in­ing the worst in any sit­u­a­tion we can’t see or con­trol.

Your hus­band is un­able to switch off be­cause he’s be­come ha­bit­u­ated to be­ing switched on all the time. When there are no bound­aries in terms of who con­tacts whom, it can be very hard to re-es­tab­lish them in­ter­mit­tently when hol­i­day time comes around.

The need to con­stantly check in has be­come part of our lives. The in­evitable con­se­quence is that the more we check in, the more we feel we’ll know. We’re ac­tu­ally in un­charted wa­ters to an ex­tent; how­ever, the ev­i­dence I col­lect on a daily ba­sis, meet­ing burnt out, stressed out ex­ec­u­tives, tells its own story.

I sug­gest you speak with your hus­band about the sit­u­a­tion. Gently voice your con­cerns and con­vey how his be­hav­iour makes you feel. Com­pro­mise needs to be at the heart of the so­lu­tion and work­ing this out will also make your re­la­tion­ship stronger, be­cause these are the skills that oil the wheels of suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ships.

En­cour­age him not to make a se­cret of his im­pend­ing va­ca­tion. By be­ing vo­cal and ex­cited about it, you’re both send­ing a sub­lim­i­nal mes­sage that he’s un­avail­able and this way, any con­tact he may get is more likely to be con­cise and of greater im­por­tance.

Per­suad­ing him it’s for his own ben­e­fit is also a good idea. Re­search has shown that tak­ing a break from any chal­lenge speeds up the so­lu­tion upon re­turn­ing to it.

It’s the same with work. He’ll likely per­form bet­ter upon his re­turn if he’s ac­tu­ally switched off from it for a while. In ad­di­tion, con­stant stress and pres­sure tends to eat away at our gen­eral health and find­ing bal­ance will help coun­ter­act this.

Also, it sounds like your hus­band en­joys chal­lenges, so why not sug­gest a hol­i­day based around ex­pe­ri­ences rather than sim­ply sit­ting by the pool? Some­times a change is bet­ter than rest! When some­one is used to a busy work­ing life, to­tal re­lax­ation can seem dull by com­par­i­son, but book­ing a va­ca­tion that fo­cuses on be­ing ac­tive in a dif­fer­ent way might be more ap­peal­ing and could help him to en­gage with the fam­ily in a more pos­i­tive way. He may also find it tough to get a net­work sig­nal or the time to at­tend to work mat­ters while white wa­ter raft­ing through a canyon!

Fam­ily con­nec­tions and re­la­tion­ships are the foun­da­tions of life, they are what sup­port you and al­low you to be suc­cess­ful, whether you’re an adult or a child. So, get­ting these right is fun­da­men­tal to pro­vid­ing the sta­bil­ity your hus­band needs to do his job ef­fec­tively.

It sounds like your hus­band EN­JOYS chal­lenges, so why not SUG­GEST a hol­i­day based around EX­PE­RI­ENCES rather than sit­ting by a POOL? When one is used to a busy life, to­tal RE­LAX­ATION can seem DULL

is a life coach, and clin­i­cal and cog­ni­tive be­havioural hyp­nother­a­pist

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