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Are you a work horse?

New York may be tagged as the city that never sleeps but the UAE gives the Big Apple a run for its money when it comes to a hectic lifestyle.

The quality of life in the Emirates comes at a cost - longCehours and a diary that often revolves around our work.

Many men in the UAE will identify with the oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, who recently revealed: "When I don't have a story to tell, I'm a terror to live with. "Ask my wife and my children what it's like to have me without a movie in my immediate future to direct. I mope. I walk around the house in a terrible state. I'm miserable when I don't have something that I can immediately jump into," adds the 'War Horse' director. While many may sympathise, Dubai-based clinical psychologist Dr Roghy McCarthy says Spielberg is exhibiting clear signs of a workaholic - and she sees a lot of them here.

"Normally when people come to see us for problems like anxiety or anger management, we realise that they are mostly under a lot of stress at work," explains McCarthy. Women suffer their fair share of stress, but McCarthy believes that it is the men who are under the most strain.

"The demand is too much, especially for the men - often the main breadwinner, the main visa holder," she says. McCarthy revealed she has even had to hospitalise patients suffering from burnout. Working to near-exhaustion may also be a side effect of the UAE's predominantly younger population. But we need to take care of ourselves before it is too late.

"A lot of people say 'I will make sure that when I am in my forties I will have a rest', but to I have to say to them 'no, I don't know if you will last that long'," says McCarthy. The doctor's orders for the guys are simple -Cemake sure you have enough 'me time'.

The good news is that the advice is not falling on deaf ears right across the UAE. Some men are even entering the traditionally feminine arena of spas to recharge their batteries. "I do enjoy going for a massage and on the odd occasion a facial," admits Martin Goldman, a busy advertising executive (see below).

Charbel El Khoury, manager of the Urban Male Lounge in Mall of the Emirates reports strong trade since the men-only store opened just under two years ago. "We have more than 70 men daily, coming to the lounge," he says. "People come to Dubai, for extra money and experience, but with it comes extra work. These hard working people really need some time to relax."

Visiting spas or playing sports can be a great way to de-stress but simply doing nothing at all can be just as good for you.

Dr McCarthy even had some advice for Spielberg, adding:Ce"He has to learn how to enjoy just doing nothing.

"Like in the film 'Eat, Pray Love'. People feel guilty doing nothing but by being able to do nothing - you have reached a level within yourself where you are comfortable."


Phill Tromans, motoring journalist

I play a lot of Xbox, but I also try and exercise as much as possible. I go running and kickboxing, which is a great way of getting rid of stress and staying moderately fit. On top of that I go karting a lot, which is an affordable way of keeping my need for speed satisfied. Working for a monthly magazine, I'm always working on something big anyway. We're a small team so there's a lot to think about all the time. I don't really remember what it's like to not have a lot on, but I suspect a few months without deadlines would actually make a nice change. I tend to get stressed and snappy if it's continuous work. Even just a few hours of switching off makes a big difference.

Martin Goldman, advertising executive

My main chillout tool is going for a run or hitting the gym. I find it just helps to clear the mind. But I do enjoy going for a massage and on the odd occasion a facial! It's not something I ever did when I was in the UK, but here in the UAE it seems more accepted for men to do this and the service culture removes the embarrassment and uncomfortableness from the experience. I don't think many guys actually take time out for themselves and enjoy that bit of 'me time', but when you do it can re-charge the batteries.

Andrew Kennedy, marketing executive

It's really important to have a healthy work-life balance, especially in the UAE, where working hours tend to be longer. Aside from the common ways to relax like socialising with friends or watching movies it's good to get out and do something active, so I try and wakeboard on weekends, even during the summer months. Taking the car out for a drive is always relaxing, especially for a drive in the mountains. But time to just do nothing in particular is nice, not having to have an agenda or plan for a weekend can also be a great way to unwind - I don't have to be doing anything in particular.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 30, 2012
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