The school holidays are (almost) over, which means now is usually the time of year we start daydreaming about what we’re going to do with the precious free time we’ll have when the kids go back to school.
Coincidentally, this is also the first week of Mental Health Month. So, we’ve listed our top five ‘treat yourself’ practices – with a little help from TAL Head of Mental Health, Glenn Baird – to help you give back to ‘you’ after these last few weeks of kid craziness.
Enjoy a workout
And we mean, enjoy. Take your time with a gym session or exercise class and really unwind – it’s a proven way to lift your mood, reduce anxiety and even help you get a better night’s sleep. “It’s well known that doing exercise releases positive endorphins, so try to make a conscious effort to be active in some way,” says Glenn. “With spring in full swing, take advantage of the mild weather and try walking to and from work if you can, or consider riding a bicycle in.” Exercising with a group of friends can motivate you to commit to a routine and is a great way to deepen your relationships, which can also be good for your mental wellbeing – so grab your fellow mums and dads and get moving!
Meet up with (adult) friends
It’s likely that, over the past few weeks, the only adults you’ve seen have been parents of your children’s friends when they’ve done drop offs and pickups. Get some much-needed grown up time in and pencil in a coffee catch-up with some friends your own age – it’s a great way to dish on the school holidays that were, and get excited about the downhill slide to the silly season. Plus, social interaction is vital to our health – not only does it improve our mental and emotional stability, it also helps our physical health. Have lunch with a colleague away from your desk, catch up for a coffee with a friend or have a barbeque at the park with your family when you can.
Hit the movies
And we’re not talking about a kids’ movie – you’ve no doubt seen enough of them these school holidays. We’re talking about a movie that’s actually made for grown ups, with jokes and storylines that people over the age of 18 will understand. The timing couldn’t be more perfect, either – ‘Hustlers’ is just about to hit cinemas (jot down October 10 in your diary), ‘IT: Chapter Two’ is still on and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ closes soon.
Nothing screams the end of school holidays like an hour-long massage, but if you can’t find time to fit in a full-on pamper session, why not treat yourself to something a little more simple? Whether it’s getting your brows done or indulging in a mani/pedi, there are so many things you can do and places you can go to feel a little bit more human. On the Gold Coast, we love One Spa at RACV Royal Pines, QT Hotel and Greenhouse the Bath House, while Brisbanites can hit Lush Tan Beauty for a spray tan or one of the many brilliant beauty spas around town.
Take a minute
‘Taking a minute’ isn’t something that’s easily done during the school holiday craziness, but it’s so important for regulating our regulating emotions, improving sleep and reducing stress levels. Take notice of your senses, whether you’re going for a walk, eating lunch or talking to friends. Make sure you take some “me time”, where you can just focus on yourself, meditate or write a gratitude list. “Be aware of the world around you and how it is making you feel and take note of what’s running through your mind to help minimise negative thoughts and worries,” says Glenn.