The value of having a longer break the Scandinavian way…..
As a chiropractor I treat people on a daily basis who often are exhausted and overwhelmed. They work very hard and don’t always allow themselves the right to have a break. They often say ‘I have not had a holiday in years and it is too stressful to try to get away’ or ‘it’s too expensive to get away, we cannot afford to be off work’ or ‘I have too much to do to take a holiday and it is too hard when I get back’.
As objective health practitioners what we see when people don’t give themselves this invaluable opportunity of a break, is that they get too tired, overworked and then can they become chronically fatigued.
When we are fatigued we don’t have the energy to hold or move our bodies as we normally do. We might move incorrectly and injure ourselves more easily, and as a result lack the strength to do heavier tasks in our hobbies or daily life. Our immune systems can take a hit too – how often do you hear of people taking some time off and then immediately getting ill with a cold or virus?
When I started Luck’s Yard Clinic ten years ago I didn’t think I could afford to take time off, and I was scared that I would not be able to afford it. As both the clinic owner and a practising chiropractor I felt under pressure to put in as much effort as I could. However, I also realised that I needed time away from the business ….
So I decided to be brave and to take two weeks of. We went back to Sweden to our family place on an island called Graso on the Baltic coast. There we are closely connected to nature and we spend as much time as we can outside. It was the best thing I could do and it helped me unwind and build up strength after a busy few months of starting a new business.
I have now been returning to the same place each summer and often expanding it to three weeks in some years. There I exercise every day by swimming in the sea, doing yoga on the cliffs, cycling, kayaking or just walking in the local nature. I feel like I shed my winter skin and build up strength for the year ahead. The Norwegian way is to have a morning dip before breakfast and we keep this tradition up on our Swedish island come rain or come shine and breakfast tastes so much better after that too!
The benefit of having a break is that we get a better perspective on our normal lives and a chance to see things from a different angle. Sometimes life can get on top of us and it can be hard to find good solutions when we are too overwhelmed, tired and stressed to think clearly and make good decisions. When we get away we get a chance to unwind and not think about the continual chores that are always waiting for us at home. We can try new things, or just do different activities which help to give us a break from the norm.
The Swedes have most of their holiday in the summer and often have minimum of four weeks. They say it takes two weeks to unwind and two to build up again. I think the Swedes got it right!