If a decent holiday isn't possible, take a mini break and give your mind a rest. Photo: iStock
Are you long overdue for a holiday? If you have to force yourself to get out of bed, you probably are.
Maybe you'd love to head for the beach or book a cruise. But, like a lot of people, your finances may be stretched already. A true holiday is not possible for a while.
Learning to take ''mini holidays'' by giving your mind a rest can help. Meeting friends to chat for an hour, reading, or watching a film in a quiet house are excellent ways to escape.
Relationships can start to sour if you need comfort and rest. You'll tend to yell at the kids or feel more aggravated with co-workers. You may feel like a third glass of wine or drinking a six-pack, too.
''I can never take off a whole day,'' says a small business owner we'll call Chad. ''If I pulled the plug for 24 hours right now, my business would slow down. If I left for a whole day, my employees would nap.''
Chad says he's learnt to take ''brain breaks''. He leaves work at 3.30 to catch a movie before going home, or he'll sit on a dock to enjoy a lake view.
''Hiding out in the public library for 90 minutes helps too,'' Chad says. ''Grabbing a few minutes to crank up good music or stopping at a coffee shop works as well.''
While brain breaks can't replace a longer holiday, they do help sustain emotional balance.
A factory worker we'll call Don says he came close to a breakdown. ''I was working 12-hour days and coming home to chores and family problems on top of an aching back.''
Don told his family he needs 30 minutes to lie down when he comes home. ''I give out family hugs before I collapse across the bed. This way, my wife and kids won't think I'm ignoring them. I explained to them that I feel drained and all tapped out after work. I need 30 minutes to soothe myself and feel like me again.
''My wife has a less stressful job, so she's an angel to take over during weekdays,'' says Don. ''On weekends, she takes a break by spending Saturday afternoons with girlfriends. On Saturday and Sunday nights, we watch a movie as a family.''
In today's world, children need brain breaks as well. ''I love the backyard tree house my mum and her friends built me,'' says a 10-year-old we'll call Evan. ''My dad was too busy to build it, but my mum told me I needed one. She's the best mum in the world.''
Evan's mum, Kathy, says she has plenty of peaceful childhood memories from the tree house her uncles built for her.
''It's a little paradise that doesn't cost a lot,'' she says. ''Build it strong, though, because it's a good place for adults to hide out, too!''