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Why you deserve a break before Christmas

Gina Cleo

Dr. Gina Cleo is an Assistant Professor at Bond University and holds a PhD in habit change.

If you’ve been looking for a reason to take a break, this is it.

A recent survey found that most Aussies feel like they haven’t made the most of 2022.

As a nation, we are burnt out and overwhelmed, with forty-three per cent of the population saying they are tired, nearly a third saying they are stressed (31%) and more than a quarter saying they are anxious (26%).

When running on empty, it’s easy to fall into the cycle of toughing it out and just pushing through – when what we really need is to give ourselves permission to take a well-deserved break.

The fact that so many of us are feeling run down and over 11 million of us don’t feel like we’ve made the most of the year means that now is the time to press pause and reflect on what we really want to achieve before the turn of the new year.

It’s critical for our health and wellbeing to do the things that make us happy, satisfied and content. With only 9 weeks until Christmas, there’s no better time to prioritise our wellbeing than now.

After all, the festive season itself can be fraught with stress – both socially and financially. Our hard-wired approach of knuckling down until Christmas isn’t particularly beneficial to our wellbeing, nor is it sustainable. 

So, between the mounting end of year work pressures and general busyness of everyday life, how do we find time to take a break before Christmas?

Something as simple as a 48-hour break in routine and changing up our daily habits by experiencing something new in a different environment can be enough to revitalise the mind and significantly boost mood.

Most of the time, what we do, is what we do most of the time. This state of ‘autopilot’ doesn’t give us the feeling that we’re really living. Research shows that doing something different improves our overall sense of wellbeing, reduces anxiety, and improves our capacity to take on new challenges.

Your something different could be booking a weekend getaway, revisiting a hobby you haven’t made time for, or creating new memories with the people you cherish; as human beings, it is essential for us to maintain a positive life balance.

Perhaps you’ve even got more than a few days of leave banked up your sleeve.

When asked if taking a holiday would change how people are currently feeling, sixty-three per cent of respondents agreed that a holiday would improve their current mood, with the states who experienced the longest Covid lockdowns needing a break the most (NSW 65% and VIC 66%).

When describing how they felt following a trip away, 39% of Aussies felt refreshed, 35% felt happy and 34% felt relaxed. A significant nine in ten (91%) of those who work full time experienced a positive lift after a holiday.

Life is short and the working day can be long. Take a break. Book a holiday. Give yourself the gift of time to recharge before the festive season ramps up.

A simple change in routine can be extremely rewarding.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.

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