Navigating the mental block I have around holidays

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 6 July 2021

If you are a long time reader of my blog, or a long term patient, or both, you probably already know that I have taken the month of August off three summers in a row. Last summer however was different.

A pandemic. Forced time off in the spring. Restriction to travel. The mental block I have around needing to "deserve" my time off.

All of these factors lead to the decision of shortening my usual four week block to only two.

This year, it should have been an easy decision to go back to my regular month off. In fact, it shouldn't have even been a decision at all. But it was. I still had a hard time committing to take a full month off.

The good excuses started to come up in my mind. What if there is another lockdown? Travel is going to be restricted anyway. I can always take more holidays later.

I needed to remind myself that not only is it a priority for my mental and physical health, it allows me to be a better doctor.

I needed to remind myself of the 5 reasons why I took an extended vacation in the first place. And that they still apply today. Here's a review of those reasons:

  1. It was a priority for my long term health - I know that helping more people reach their version of 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. Although cortisol feels good in the short term, it is very detrimental in the long term.
  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 - A quote that I try to remember is this one, "You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no."  My default is to plan my vacation around other people, other events, less busy times of year, etc. Instead of having my own agenda it was determined by default 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 - Initially being away from my office for a month was 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 a couple trial runs under my belt and a disaster did not occur when I was away, it's less uncomfortable. I keep reminding myself of the quote from Neale Donald Walsch - "Life begins just outside your comfort zone."

Too often our self-worth is linked to "being productive". And we start to see holidays as a reward instead of a necessity.

The truth is, if you build your self-worth on what you have accomplished instead of BEcoming the person you were truly meant to be, you will always feel like there is something missing.

So I'm continuing to navigate this mental block and choosing BEing over DOing.

I'm happy to announce I will be beginning my vacation on Friday August 6th at 2pm and will be returning to the office on Tuesday September 7th at 9am. Here are some housekeeping tips to keep in mind during my absence:

  • If you need an emergency appointment, Dr. Daralyn Bates will be at the office in my absence. Please schedule an appointment with Tracey or Jenn, our wonderful receptionists.
  • You will still be able to pick-up supplements during my absence at the office. Please make sure you check your supplements to see if you are getting low before you run out 🙂
  • If needed, you can order some supplements online using the following link: Fullscript. You may need to make an account first if you have not already ordered through us online.
  • If you are already an patient at QNC you can change appointments online using our online booking system Jane. Please use this link: JaneApp.

The office will also be closed for ALL office staff from Monday August 30th - Friday September 3rd. The office will re-open on Tuesday September 7th at 9am.

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 and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

10 Replies to “Navigating the mental block I have around holidays”

Yay you!! Have a wonderful vacation.


We feel so guilty taking time off and just doing nothing. How will we ever cope with retirement. I applaud you for recognizing the importance of this time off.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Pat!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

I guess this practice for retirement 🙂 Thanks Judy!



I can remember you and Maya working hard before classes even started in highschool. You have always had a strong work ethic! Enjoy your time off .

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Lol! It was probably Calculus. Thanks Melissa!


Have a nice break!

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Anna!

Jane Prudhomme

Have a terrific holiday Michelle, you deserve it. Can you please post again the Dijon mustard, olive oil and apple cider vinegar salad dressing recipe.? Thank you.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Thanks Jane! Here is the link for the salad dressing recipe:

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