Ask Natalie: I feel like the spark is gone from my relationship

“Dear Natalie,

I find myself juggling classes, a ridiculous amount of clubs and a part-time job to a near critical point. Have any advice on how to find some time to rest and recharge?”

I'm guilty of that too. UBC has this culture where if you're not working 40 hours a week, on top of a full course load, all while holding multiple executive positions in multiple clubs, you're doing something wrong.

But I'll let you in on a secret — It's not true. I understand having a part-time job because we have to pay for things, live somewhere and occasionally even eat something. I understand taking as many classes as you can because as much as we love UBC, I can't wait to get out of here. I understand being involved in clubs, volunteering and trying to fill your CV with as much as you can. But if doing everything means you're burnt out for everything, it's not good.

Since you're basically up to your neck already, remember that for next year. In the meantime, give yourself some dedicated “you time.” Make sure that, at least for a few hours once a week, you can lock your door and do something that makes you happy. Paint a landscape, go hiking, take a walk — do something that changes your surroundings and makes it harder to think about school and clubs. There's no point taking time off if you're just going to keep thinking about work.

The best thing I can recommend for time management is scheduling. I know it sounds basic and you probably already do that but seriously, schedule everything when it becomes too stressful. Take the power out of your hands and put in on the page. One hour for class readings, two hours for essay prep. Do whatever you know works, but also schedule time for breaks, food and an hour or two for any leftover work. If you can follow your schedule, I find that it helps my stress levels.

Take it easy when you can. There's no reason to take on so much responsibility if you'll burn out halfway through.

“Dear Natalie,

I feel like the spark is gone from my relationship. We've been together since last year, but we've settled into this pattern and I don't like it. Our conversations are boring. Sex is boring. He's boring. I'm boring. Everything’s just boring. I want to break the cycle, but I don't want to break up.”

Ah, long-term relationships. The tipping point between “I want to know everything about you” and “Oh god, I know everything about you” is so gradual.

If you hate the pattern, break it. Ask if they want to go on a date doing something you've never done before. Cooking class? Wine and painting? Rent bikes and ride around Stanley Park? Get out there and get moving. Force your relationship to move.

Relationships do settle down after the first few months of flirting, dates and re-reading texts until the words don't sound like words anymore. Once you start being yourself (and I mean really yourself, not “first date” you), you get comfortable. That's fine. That's normal. It's not new anymore, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't still be exciting.

“What can I do if my roommate has turned out to be a total annoying pain in my ass?”

How long is left in your lease? If you're just holding out until the summer, just grit your teeth and go to your happy place when they walk into the room. Don't react to their nonsense. Don't give them anything to feed off of.

If it's any longer, maybe have a “come to Jesus” talk. Explain what they're doing that pisses you off so much and try to work on a solution that doesn't end in you yelling into your pillow at night.

Shitty roommates are a part of life, unfortunately. If we could afford to live on our own in this housing market, I don't think we'd still be at UBC. One day.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at or at and have your questions answered!