By Ross Walker

The holiday break is seen by most of us as a time of rest and rejuvenation, but the reality doesn’t always match the expectation.

With the increasing pressures of work and the undoubted fact that for most of us living in western society – life in general, is quite stressful. Many people are suffering a degree of burn-out by this time of the year and are hoping that a few weeks off (if you get them) over the Christmas break, will be a time to recharge those very depleted batteries. 

But, typically what happens during this time is (often) excessive eating, drinking and partying leading to weight gain, hangovers and interrupted sleep patterns, often leading to putting on a few extra kilos, fatigue and generally feeling worse. Then, with the inevitable failed New Year’s resolutions of ridding yourself of bad habits, eating healthier, sleeping better and doing more exercise, you feel more guilt than when you started. 

I have recently stressed in another article about the potential hazards of prolonged travel, also another possible factor over the holiday break. The holiday break also affords us some time away from the usual ardour of work and ‘thinking time.’ Many people re-evaluate their lives and don’t like what they find.

A recent study of Europeans clearly showed lower levels of satisfaction and emotional wellbeing in the time leading up to Christmas. 

Now, some of these negative emotions may purely be burnout, but the reality with life is that you have two choices if you are unhappy with your lot – change your life dramatically or more realistically, change your attitude to your life.

Many people spend time over the Christmas break with members of the family they don’t often see and this can also bring up and open old wounds that have not healed. 

My great advice here, is to, firstly, cultivate your own, non judgmental observer that reinforces that vital attitude – try to be kind rather than right. The greatest healer for any emotional wound is forgiveness. If any of these somewhat estranged relatives or friends have harmed you in any way – cultivate a feeling of forgiveness and this attitudinal shift will, no doubt, close this wound forever.

See the holiday break truly as that vital period of rest and rejuvenation. Don’t see it as an excuse to over consume. See it as a time to reinforce the vital life habits that will sustain good health and happiness.