Stress & Relationships

Q. I lead a very busy life and I wonder if you can offer me any coping ideas for stress and relationships. I find that Im bad-tempered a lot of the time and of course, I dont have much time to spend with my family. I dont want to be one of those `absentee dads you hear about. My job is very pressured and its also affecting my health. I am 39 years old.

A. Im so glad youve asked for help before you are much older. Theres still time for you to change the habits of a lifetime! Stress is learned and habit-forming, quite addictive, in fact. Your health would be adversely affected if you have been living with high stress levels for a number of years, and your irritability is an indication that youre living with too much pressure. If you are committed to your job then you have to find a way around its pressures. Attitude is everything. No matter how important your job is, it is NOT as important as you! Therefore, start finding a more equitable balance between work demands and other things in your life that you need and want to give energy to - home, family, leisure, personal interests, friends, creative pursuits, etc. etc. I used to be a workaholic and I know how easy it is to fall into excessive patterns.

I suggest that you identify your key stress area and make a plan for reducing the stress traps in this part of your life. Youll find that by doing this, the other calls on your time and energy will naturally find their balance. Time management is a crucial factor in a happy and balanced life.

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