Friday, 22 February 2013

'Til debt do us part

During the courting stage of a relationship we are often impressed when our partner flashes the cash. However, this can quickly change as responsibilities grow and our finances become shared. Money troubles can create extreme stress in a relationship and, in the current economic climate, they are becoming an increasingly common cause of divorce.

The key to dealing with money troubles is honesty. Trying to hide your spending will not solve the problem, but will result in your partner feeling betrayed. Talk openly with them and explain exactly how much money has gone. Anger may be your automatic reaction if your partner has overspent, but try and remain calm so you can work together to find a solution.

If you earn significantly more than your partner it can be easy to blame them for any financial troubles. But it is very important not to use money as a weapon. If you have agreed to share your finances then you must not regard money as 'mine' or 'yours'. Ensure you both fully understand your financial state so one partner does not overspend. If your partner's spending becomes excessive, talk about it calmly, but be careful not to accuse.

We have all been guilty of spending money to make ourselves feel better after a tough day at work or an argument with our partner. However, this behaviour can quickly spiral out of control and eat into our finances. Emotional problems cannot be solved with money so try get to the root cause of your or your partner’s spending. Understanding why you feel the need to spend money can lead you both to a solution and improve your relationship.

Finally, if you have found yourselves in financial difficulty, it isn’t the end of the world. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure you deal with the problem head on. Use the opportunity to spend quality time with your partner without the distractions that money brings: cook meals together rather than going out, go for walks rather than shopping or just watch a film at home rather than going to the cinema. As long as you are honest with each other and open to solutions then you will get through your money troubles and will hopefully emerge a stronger couple.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Dealing with rejection

At some point in our lives we all deal with rejection. Even if we’re smart, beautiful or funny, rejection hits us hard, especially when it comes from those closest to us. Despite the hurt we may feel immediately, rejection doesn’t need to stop us in our tracks. Whether you feel rejected from your partner, a job or a friend you can use the pain as an opportunity to grow stronger by following this advice.

  • Think about the positives. The most important thing to do is not measure your worth against the opinions of others. Instead think about your achievements and all the people that do care about you rather than focussing on the negatives. 
  • Think of reasons behind the rejection. Understanding that it wasn’t personal can be a big help in moving on. 
  • Look to the future. Despite what fairy tales led us to believe growing up, it takes time to find 'the one'. If someone you thought you had a future with has rejected you then they were probably not your perfect partner! Try to view the experience as taking you one step closer to  'the one'. 
  • Look for the common factors. If you have had a series of rejections, think about the common factors. Were you consistently drawn to unsuitable jobs/partners? 
  • Be truthful. Don't be tempted to lie at the beginning of a new job or relationship. It is likely to lead to rejection later on. 
  • Don’t be put off from dating or job searches after a rejection. Each time, place and person is different and the next opportunity could be the right one for you. 
While being rejected may be out of your control, the way you deal with it is not. Be positive, don’t take it to heart and keep looking to the future! With the right attitude you will look back one day and thank the person that rejected you because it can lead to bigger and better things!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Improving communication in a relationship

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and it may seem as if we are surrounded by inflatable hearts and smug couples. The 14th of February is a day to celebrate love with our partner. However, for many couples it can shine an all too harsh (albeit red hued) light on a broken relationship. The biggest problems couples face can be the result of poor communication and so in order to have a great Valentine’s day and improve your relationship follow these simple tips.

  • Discuss issues before they turn into problems. Many issues are not discussed until they suddenly become overwhelming and may be unresolvable. It is therefore very important to calmly discuss problems when they first arise in order to stop them spiralling out of control. 
  • Share your views. We are sociable beings and enjoy talking about our feelings, hopes and aspirations but if our partner is unwilling to listen or share their own thoughts it can become frustrating. Set aside time to talk and agree not to be critical of one another. 
  • Try and see the issue from your partner’s perspective. Sympathising with their view and feelings will help you understand their actions and will help them communicate their thoughts better. 
  • Don't attack your partner. If you wish to talk to your partner about a problem, try to not make it a personal attack. Remain calm and discuss why their behaviour upsets you and suggest how the problem can improve. 
  • Understand your own needs. If you do not know what you want then it is very difficult to communicate what is troubling you with your partner. 
  • Communicate with your partner. If your partner does not realise something has upset you it can be infuriating and may seem easier to blame them for not understanding. Make sure you tell your partner what the problem is it rather than playing the blame game. 
  • Do not let the argument become about winning or proving a point. Maintaining the strength of your relationship by respecting your partner should remain a priority during the discussion. 
  • Write to your partner. If you are finding it difficult to express your emotions, write a letter to your partner so you can communicate how you are feeling. 
  • With regards to Valentine’s Day, communicate exactly you want from it. Are you expecting a romantic trip away? Or would you be happy with a take-away and a movie? Having expectations of your partner without communication is likely to end in disaster. 
  • Consider therapy. If you still struggle to communicate with your partner consider couples therapy. Talking calmly in a neutral space allows you to appreciate how your partner is feeling which is difficult to achieve during conflict. Couples therapists are trained to spot key communication problems and will guide you to a happier relationship. 
If you strip away the gimmicks and the high expectations, the 14th February is a day to celebrate your love for one another. Use it as an opportunity to appreciate your partner and spend valuable time together. If you do this and follow our tips on communication you will not only have a fantastic Valentine’s day, but your relationship will grow stronger and healthier.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Feel good Friday

Today is 'Feel Good Friday'! Organised by the Samaritans the aim is to fundraise while having fun with your co-workers. While it may be too late to organise a big event, it is certainly still possible to do something fun with your colleagues.

Studies have shown that workplace friendships generally improve productivity and office morale. While it is important to remain professional, knowing you have emotional support from someone going through the same struggles can help you cope with the stresses of work. Additionally, office friendships provide practical support by sharing knowledge and helping one another with the workload.

It is clearly important to establish and maintain healthy relationships at work, both for personal and professional support. Inspired by 'Feel Good Friday' here are our top tips to boost office morale:

  • Organise a 'dress down Friday'. This can make co-workers more relaxed and give an insight into their personality. You could even make it sponsored and donate to charity providing an extra 'feel good boost'. 
  • Do a group exercise class during your lunch break or after work. Exercise promotes interaction in a focused manner as there are few distractions during the workout. Something like Zumba or Salsa dancing is fun, which will create a bond between you and your colleagues and is a great way to stick to any new year’s weight loss resolutions! 
  • Start group lunches. Each of you could bring a small contribution or you could take it in turns to bring lunch for everyone. Food has the capacity to bring people together and may also be a great way to save money. 
  • Talk to your boss about bringing in your, or another colleague’s, dog. It is long established that pets can reduce stress among individuals or groups. 
  • Laugh together. Whether it's visiting a comedy club after work or sponsoring your boss to dress as something silly, laughter is the best way to bring people together and will make you feel fantastic. 
Enjoying your job is important both for your mental health and your productivity and good relationships with coworkers is a key factor in this. If you would like to donate to Samaritans or take part in feel good Friday you can follow this link: