We Deserve a Break

It’s difficult to just shrug off the past few years. As much as I love the mantra “keep calm and carry on” sometimes we have to admit that things are tough and it’s ok to be overwhelmed.

In fact, let’s peel off the brave face and drop the “must keep going at all cost” behaviour we’ve adopted to get through the past twenty months and take a well-deserved break this holiday season.  We deserve it.

The New Normal

We have been in various lockdowns and being constantly bombarded by fear-driven stories in the media for almost two years. The entire world has been on a knife’s edge, watching the case numbers daily and wondering if and when the virus will affect us and how the lockdowns will impact our jobs and businesses.

For many of us, it meant completely re-organising services, roles and business structures and grappling with health and safety  requirements, lockdown requirements, reduced work capacity, JobKeeper, testing, isolation (and more testing and isolation)  and now as the country begins to open up, helping both staff and customers navigate vaccine status and returning to the office.

The amount of emotional and physical labour to adapt to new processes and systems is high in the best of circumstances, but combined with personal and professional stressors, many employees, managers and business owners are quite simply maxed out.

For parents, the past two years have been totally overwhelming. Homeschooling children in tandem with impromptu work-from-home jobs, is a Herculean task. Now there is talk of the Great Resignation which will see many leaving their roles to pursue other opportunities further shaking up workplaces.  It’s no wonder we sometimes feel shaken like James Bond’s martini.

With the lifting of lockdowns came a new set of fears. There are some who are vaccine-willing and some who are hesitant. For some, going back to the office or sitting in a cafe produces severe anxiety despite our vaccination status. Being around people can elicit joy and terror or a combination of both. Either way, emotions run high.

Coping with Uncertainty

The enduring question for the past two years has been “what should I do?” What should I do to stay safe, keep my workers safe, stay healthy, keep my job, manage remotely, educate my children, pay my bills or keep my business open, etc? And that constant questioning, unknowingness and uncertainty continues to plague us as we grapple with the pandemic even with lockdowns easing.

As the year draws to a close and the holiday celebrations tempt us to travel internationally, or finally reunite with family members across state borders, we need to focus on our own personal wellness first and foremost.

We may rush to book a flight, shop and celebrate, but more than anything we need to take care of ourselves. Sometimes doing less is more. Sometimes knowing that we can have time out to do nothing and worry about nothing is most rejuvenating. Giving ourselves a break is an absolute necessity for our health especially going into the new year.

Reset for the New Year

While you take much deserved time off during December and January, here are five ways you can ease stress and take care of your physical and mental health. Refuelling and refocusing your attention on ensuring you are happy and healthy as you kick off 2022, will give you the boost you need to start off strong.

1. Gratitude Day
Gratitude is the best way to end the monkey mind madness caused by anxiety, stress and fear, and focus on all the amazing things in life. Take time during the holidays to make a list of every single thing you are grateful for.

This can include your relationships, family, your health, job, city—anything. When you sit down and take inventory of all the technology, conveniences and abundance we have in Australia, it’s remarkable. It changes our focus from lack, scarcity, fear and overwhelm to one of calm and amazement. You can do this daily or weekly, whatever brings you the most joy.

PRO TIP: Write down everything you are grateful for. Take some time to plan out exactly what you want to do, experience, learn or have in 2022. Use your gratitude list as a helpful planning tool. It can also transform the stress and tightness you are holding in your body to openness and relaxation.


2. As Much Play and Fun as Possible

More than anything this holiday season, we deserve deep belly laughs and days spent having fun. After a long year of work and always being “on”, try to find time and ways to let yourself play. Be silly. Get dirty. Go for a splash. Spend time with your younger family members. Take up the sport you put aside during the lockdowns. Let your body relax and enjoy itself. Turn off the TV, put down your phone and watch the sunrise and set instead.

Ask yourself this question: when am I happiest and most joyful? Do more of that!


3. Connection

Due to the lockdowns, we have been separated from the people who matter most. As the cities, regions and states open up, schedule some time with good friends and those who light you up.

Be honest and vulnerable, share how you are feeling and talk about the last year. Take time to understand what people experienced and celebrate being able to come together.

Connecting with others is one of the fastest ways to de-stress and feel happy.


4. Nutritious Food

Lockdowns create stress and with stress comes comfort food. Food is the emotional salve we reach for when things get hard.

This holiday season, try not to go overboard with the treats. Opt for healthier versions of your favourite classics and if you do indulge don’t beat yourself up. It’s fun to feast! Plus, eating healthy supports both your mental and physical health.


5. Rest

Ask any major athlete what the most important part of their training is and they will tell you rest and time off. You need downtime equally as much as you need training intensity.

As the country opens and the threat of the virus wanes, take time to tune into your body and release all the stored up tension from the past few years. Let it all go. You’ve worked hard enough!

If all you want to do this holiday season is rest, I certainly won’t judge you. That’s what I’ll be doing !!

See you from 10 January 2022 – and in person!


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