Boss Lady

The best way to recover from a hectic year. And it’s probably not what you think…


For many, the annual summer break is so welcome it’s almost palpable. We lead such busy lives at breakneck speed so the opportunity to slow things down, recover and recharge the batteries is time that we relish.

There is a common myth that the best way to approach this re-charge is to take time out, to veg, to do nothing, to lie in the sun, to eat whatever food comes your way, to pamper yourself, take it easy, and indulge.

However, the problem with this approach is that even if in the moment these things make us feel good; in the long term they achieve the opposite.

Make choices that nourish your body, mind and spirit

There may be irresistible meals and treats everywhere you look but eating everything that temps your taste buds won’t replenish your energy. In fact, the holidays are  a great opportunity to take some time out to cook, to plan meals, to buy healthy food that actually will reinvigorate our bodies for the new year. Obviously one or two indulgent lunches and dinners are part and parcel of this time of year, but you will feel so much healthier and more reinvigorated if you fuel your body with nutritious meals of moderate proportions.

The same thing goes for physical activity. Movement is one of the most important things for mental and physical health. Even if you have minor injuries or ailments like back aches, a gentle walk is abundantly beneficial. It is so important to get up and get moving on a regular basis.

When we’re tired, the thought of lots of extra sleep seems heavenly, and it can bring welcome respite – once or twice. However, sleeping late every day, staying up all night every night will not serve you well. In fact, sleeping all day can contribute to depression.

To practice good sleep hygiene, aim to wake up at a reasonable time, get ready for the day and maintain a good pattern of  sleep over the following weeks. Excess sleep will wreak havoc on energy levels and your mindset when the time comes to go back to your usual scheduled life.

Healthy, happy, holiday habits

Overall, you really don’t want to come back from a few weeks of over indulgence out of sorts.  Instead, you should avoid cultivating habits that will need to change when the party’s over.

Use this time constructively in a relaxed way. It’s a fantastic time to enrich your mind. If you like art but don’t normally have time, use it to go to art galleries. Read books, connect with friends – this is the time to do it.

Furthermore, holidays can be holy days. They can be spiritual, which is good for your soul.  They can be restful days where you have more space to think about yourself; reflecting, changing and growing.

A comprehensive approach to long term self-care also involves learning how to think right. During the year, often we don’t have time to reflect or realise how negative our thoughts might be or what our life is like. This is a perfect time to contemplate what you want to change.

Psychology is about more than just support and counselling; it’s also about change. It can provide you with learning tools that allows you to change your life for the better.

Finally, if this time of year brings out negative thoughts and feelings, you don’t always have to sink into them, wallow, let them take over your days and nights. It’s ok to distract yourself with past-times and activities that take your mind off them. Just pick outlets that will make you feel better and not worse in the long term.

About Renee Mill

Renee Mill is a Senior Clinical Psychologist at Anxiety Solutions CBT, and author of Anxiety Free, Drug Free and Parenting Without Anger. She has worked as a clinical psychologist in private practice for over 30 years and is the owner of stress and anxiety clinic Anxiety Solutions CBT, located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. She has successfully treated hundreds of individuals, couples and families, and has appeared as an expert commentator on stress, anxiety and depression for TODAY, The Morning Show, ABC Radio, and more.

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