Taken outside the Forestry Museum in Sabie…
This year, my message to you is very simple. “The last three years have been brutal. Be kind to yourself. Take a break.”
As an athlete, you learn to take a break from training every so often, on a regular basis. This is key to achieving results. When you lift weights or do other exercise, you are actually causing micro-tears in the muscle fibres. Whilst actively exercising, you’re not getting stronger. In fact, you’re actually putting stress on your body. It’s when you rest that the strength-building comes, allowing the muscles time to rebuild. Each muscle rebuilds with a tiny amount of scar tissue. Every time you work out again, followed by sufficient rest, your muscles get a little bigger and stronger. These breaks assist in avoiding overtraining, allow your body to recover more efficiently, clear your head, renew your motivation, and allow you to refocus.
The last three years have been particularly challenging. During the two years of Covid, beyond the physical challenges of illness, there was significant depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder. The isolation played havoc with people’s mental health and financial wellbeing. This year started with a feeling of hope, and all were really excited to get going, to live “normal” lives again. Voilà – cue entrance of additional ‘waves’. But we were on our way and, being the resilient nation we are, we put our shoulders to the grindstone and hustled hard. Likely harder than we have ever hustled in our entire lives! It’s been devastating, and although, as a nation, we seem to be clawing our way back, the cracks are beginning to show…
We’d like to draw a parallel between physical training and your everyday life. Stress can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure – taking regular breaks will mitigate this. On a holiday, there are feelings of calm and stress is relieved, allowing the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure. Sleep patterns regulate and moods improve (benefits which, by the way, last for a period of time after the break). Many individuals return from vacation with more focus, creativity and productivity. Burnout is decreased and happiness increased.
Simply planning a holiday boosts happiness up to 8 weeks before the trip…
So, my message to you this year is simple… If you can, take a break! If you don’t have leave, make good use of all the public holidays to create mini breaks. Use every weekend wisely – plan ahead and be sure to have some fun! Breaks don’t necessarily need to be expensive – go for a picnic, take a drive etc. Both you and those around you will be happier for it. And when you finally go back to work, you will be happier and more productive than when you left! It’s a simple equation: if there’s nothing left inside, you are unable to give anything to those around you.
We’re looking forward to our journey with you in 2023 – may the ride be distinctly smoother than the last three!!
Cross Country Insurance Company