Why I'm Taking a Month Off

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Have you ever gotten back from a week’s holidays and thought, “that just wasn’t long enough.”? I know I have.

Even though I’m good at relaxing and letting go of work once I’m on vacation, I do always feel like I am still connected to it in a subtle way. I always have my phone with me. I usually check it twice a day in case there are any emergencies that need to be attended to. I tend to be rushing to get things done before I leave, and then I’m rushing to catch up when I get back.

For better mental health, and at the recommendation of more than one person I see to keep myself healthy and balanced, I needed a longer break from my self-imposed workaholic tendencies. So, this upcoming four-week holiday has actually been eight months in the making.

I believe the exact words of advice that were given to me were: “If you keep going at this pace you will burn out in two years.”

Talk about a reality check.

So here are five reasons I am taking an extended vacation and why you should consider it too. You don’t have to jump into the deep end like me, but your vacation should be longer than what people expect and longer than what is comfortable for you, in order for it to be effective.

1. It’s a priority for my long-term health

I became aware that helping more patients become healthy isn’t going to make me healthy unless I walk the talk in all areas, not just the ones I’m good at. I want all patients, including myself, to avoid getting sucked into the culture of cortisol. So, instead of giving myself a raise, I’m giving myself more time off.

2. Parkinson’s law

Originally, Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. For me, even though I love my job, I don’t want work to become the most satisfying thing in my life. I need to make space and time for the “fun stuff” or before I know it another year will have gone by.

3. We all need a “deloading” phase in life

Taken from the world of exercise physiology, it’s a concept that can be applied to other areas of life. In the sports world, it’s a back-off week, or a planned reduction in exercise volume or intensity. The whole point of this week is to prepare the body for the increased demand of the next phase or period of training and more importantly mitigate the risk of overtraining. For me, this means avoiding burn-out!

4. It’s OK to say no sometimes

I have a quote that many patients have seen on the filing cabinet in my office that reads, “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” Up until this year, I have planned my vacation around other people, other events, less busy times of year, etc. Instead of having my own agenda, it was determined by default, dependent on everyone else’s agenda. I realized that this was rooted in the limiting belief that saying no was somehow a bad thing. I’m slowly learning to say no when it conflicts with my priorities.

5. The most important thing is usually the most uncomfortable

Being away from my office for a month is kinda scary, not just uncomfortable. My mind immediately started to go to the worst-case scenario when it was first suggested to me. Now that I have had six months to get used to the idea and plan for my absence, it’s getting a little less uncomfortable. I keep reminding myself of the quote from Neale Donald Walsch – “Life begins just outside your comfort zone.”

Now, I would love to hear from you! Which of my reasons for taking an extended vacation resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below!


Originally Published: October 21, 2017

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Dr. Michelle Durkin, BSC(H), ND, Contributor and Bowen Practitioner at Quinte Naturopathic Centre

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Dr. Michelle Durkin attended the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Biomedical Science. With this medical background, she went on to study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and graduated as a licensed doctor of naturopathic medicine in 2003. Dr. Durkin founded her clinic, the Quinte Naturopathic Centre. As a Naturopathic Doctor she is very committed to providing excellent individualized health care in a warm and professional environment. Michelle is also a professional Bowenwork® practitioner. In addition, Dr. Durkin holds professional memberships with the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND), the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), and the Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).