Do you need a drink or a shrink?

Most of the time, problems can be hashed out at happy hour. But when family feuds and work pressures start building up faster than you can say "it’s my round", a stiff drink isn’t always going to cut it. Here’s how to know when to order another glass of wine and when to call in the big guns.

4:29PM, Dec 5

Your man’s behaving like a major d-bag

Girl, grab a drink – just make sure you enjoy it with someone you trust. "Sometimes all we need is a close friend who’s a good listener to provide comfort and give a few practical suggestions," advises Elly Taylor, relationship counsellor and author of Becoming Us (HarperCollins, $35). Be wary though. "If your friend riles you up or confirms that your guy is a bastard without knowing the full context, it could lead you to make a decision you’ll regret."

Better yet, get him a drink. "Having a drink with your guy is a way to unwind and get comfortable talking," says Taylor. It’s a simple way to feel more connected.

See a shrink if you’re feeling repressed in your relationship, or you’re always unlucky in love. A relationship counsellor is a good place to start – visit aarc.org.au to find help in your area.

You feel overworked and underwhelmed

Try a new way to think. A new job isn’t always the answer. "Work with a life coach to enjoy what you’re doing now. It will give you a much better chance of scoring a promotion or getting a better job elsewhere," says life coach Jill Hutchison (evolvedynamic.net). Beginner coaches will charge anything from $50 for a session, while more experienced coaches will charge $3,500-$5,000 for a three-month period.

Consider a shrink if it’s a past trauma that is affecting your attitude at work. A life coach will only help you with your present and future, whereas a counsellor or psychologist can help you tackle issues from your past.

Grab a drink when ‘that’ colleague is driving you bonkers and you just need to let off some steam!

Our family has more issuesthan the Kardashians

See a shrink if you are concerned about a family member’s mental health or about your own wellbeing. "A professional can help you by using strategies like cognitive behavioural therapy, which is managing thoughts and negative self-talk," advises family therapist Danni Crews. Visit relationshipworks.com.au to view family therapy options.

Grab a drink if you just need to put things in perspective. Sometimes hearing about your friend’s family problems can make you feel less stressed about your own.

And try to think about what you’re grateful for. Choosing a time every day to silently recognise the things that you love about your life is a super powerful practice.

You're in a friendship rut but not sure how to meet new peeps

Go to drinks. Accept invitations to socialise from new people. "It will feel like hard work at times, but when you meet a person you connect with, it will all be worth it," says life coach Jo Bassett.

And most importantly, rethink. "Get clear on what you’re interested in, understand what’s important to you and be able to identify what you’re looking for in a friend," suggests Bassett. It’s also important to get off social media and get active. "Facebook has its place in staying connected, but if you’re feeling lonely, reading about other people’s exciting happenings could make you feel worse."

See a shrink if ‘friend finding’ is overwhelming you. Life coaching website livingsavvy.com.au is also chock-full of positive ways to back yourself on the friendship field.

You don’t feel like the poster girl for body love

Have a think. "Look in the mirror and ask, ‘What would I say to a friend?’, then use those words to say something kind to yourself," says clinical psychologist Emma Webster.

Grab a drink. "A couple of drinks with friends can help you acknowledge that there’s a problem. It helps you to normalise what you’re feeling and get some perspective. They have probably had ‘fat attacks’ before too," says Webster.

See a shrink if you are avoiding social activities and intimacy because of negative thoughts about your body. A psychologist who specialises in body image can help. You will need a referral from your GP and sessions start from $80 per hour. Visit psychology.org.au to find out about the Medicare rebates you could be entitled to.

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