One way I prioritize my health

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 16 July 2019

If you are a long time reader of my blog, or a long term patient, or both, you already know that I took a month off last summer and the summer before that.

It ended up being one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Not only was it a priority for my mental and physical health, it allowed me to be a better doctor.

That is why I have decided to do it again this year.

We all need to start making decisions that come from a place of self-love instead of fear if we truly want to be healthy and balanced.

So here are 5 reasons I am taking an extended vacation and why you should consider it too. You don't have to jump into the deep end like me, but your vacation should be longer than what people expect and longer than what is comfortable for you, in order for it to be effective.

  1. It'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. So, instead of giving myself a raise, I'm giving myself more time off.
  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 - I have a quote that many patients have seen on the filing cabinet in my office that reads, "You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no."  Up until last year I planned my vacation around other people, other events, less busy times of year, etc. Instead of having my own agenda it was determined by default dependent 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 - 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."

So you are all officially on notice. I will be beginning my vacation on Friday August 2nd at 2pm and will be returning to the office on Tuesday September 3rd at 9am. Here are some housekeeping tips to keep in mind during my absence:

  • The entire office will also have holiday hours. We will be closed from Friday August 2nd at 2pm until Monday August 12th at 10 am. On these dates no appointments will be scheduled and no supplement pick-up will be available.
  • If you need an emergency appointment, Dr. Daralyn Bates and Dr. Tasha Mumby 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 except from Friday August 2nd at 2pm until Monday August 12th at 10 am. 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 before ordering 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 App. Please use this link: JaneApp.

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!

5 Replies to “One way I prioritize my health”


The first reason and the third reason resonated with me. I am deep into the culture of cortisol and I agree, we need to regain some control over our sanity and start fighting for it. Looking after our long term health is paramount.
A de-loading phase goes along with the above reason. It’s essential that we avoid burn-out and sometimes that means getting away from everyone and everything, to just listen to your body and mind. We also go away for a month at a time to really feel that separation from life’s stressors. It’s amazing how much it helps to feel 20 years younger and remember who you once were.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Love that Lynn!


I think the # 5 is the most difficult for me. I’m working on getting out more & enjoying just day trips.

Steph VanderMeulen

No. 4 resonates with me very much. I feel like I can’t take time off because when I do, my fellow copy editors have to take on my work daily deadlines on top of their own. So I’ve only ever taken off one day at a time, and only if necessary. I haven’t had a holiday since 2014. I know part of this isn’t just trying to arrange time off around other people and less busy times; it’s also a fear of the resentment or frustration of others, and of a serious lack of assertion on my part. Asking for something always makes me feel gross and I wish I could just tell people what I’m doing. Anyway, there’s a lot of crap to work through but I can’t imagine asking for two weeks, knowing the rest of my coworkers also try to do the same—wait till work is hardly busy, at the least.

I think time off is hugely important, especially as more and more I feel too tired to even make it through a full day of work. I just haven’t got that lack of fear down.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Identifying the fear and recognizing it in action and how it is limiting your life is 1/2 the battle.

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