This week marks the end of the working year for many of us, as we finally slide into the summer holidays and begin to take stock of the year that has been.
The holiday period is a cause for celebration, a time to relax and refresh before a new working year. That is still the case in 2021, but this year, the holidays will look a little different for many families.
Whatever the next couple of weeks looks like for you – whether you just have a couple of days off, a trip away booked, or a few weeks spent relaxing around the house – this time is a great opportunity to recharge.
We often go into the holidays, especially around the New Year, with a list of things we want to get done. For some of you, that might be just the thing you need to feel ready for the new working year. For others, this list can hang over your head during your time-off like a bad smell.
Remember – go easier on yourself and your loved ones this year. Your holidays do not need to be productive, rather, they need to be restorative, for the benefit of your mental health and wellbeing.
After all, an email-free, non-contactable, out-of-office break might be exactly what you need to reconnect with friends, family, and most importantly yourself!
Instead of giving you an intense list of things to do over the holidays, like mental health homework, here are a few exercises that you may want to try in your spare time, that will help you switch off, move on, and get excited for 2022.
Take time to reflect.
This year, perhaps even more so than the 2020 holiday period, it is important to properly switch off from work mode, to allow yourself time to reflect on the year we have had, and move into the new year feeling refreshed and reset.
The act of reflection is a great way to assess your experiences and your reactions to these experiences so that you can move forward. Reflection helps us to remember and recall what we have learned and retain information in a more organised way so that we can act with intention and more meaningfully in the future.
This break, if there is one thing on your to-do list, it should be to put aside some time to stop, pause and reflect – whether that be by journaling, or perhaps having a chat with loved ones.
Ask yourself what you are grateful for.
Another great activity to work into your break that is quick, easy, and simple and won’t chew into your holiday time, is practising gratitude. When reflecting on 2021, it may be difficult to focus on the good parts, given it has been a harder year than most for many. For a simple interactive gratitude activity, check out our newest activity in the Smiling Mind app here.
Practising gratitude is an excellent proactive strategy to support mental health and wellbeing and will help you remember the people, places and experiences that have brought happiness into your life this year. Gratitude can aid in lifting some of the weight that the last 12 months are bearing on your shoulders and remind you of the moments of joy in 2021 as you enter the new year.
Make time for mindfulness.
Finally, practicing mindfulness is a great way to incorporate more balance and calm into your busy routine. The slow pace of the summer holidays is the perfect time to start working some of these positive mental health strategies and habits into your day-to-day before the demands of working life take over.
You can start to incorporate mindfulness in a range of ways, try and find one that works for you. This could be through completing a guided meditation before bed each night, taking a mindful walk in nature taking notice of what you see, hear and smell, or simply taking the time to enjoy a cup of tea away from technology and distractions.
Mindfulness is a great practice to do on your own, with your family and even your work colleagues. Support the mental health of your team in 2022 with our leading Workplace Program.