Get Away & Recharge: The Health Benefits Of Taking A Holiday

Australia’s leading health and wellness coach Andi Lew joins host Tabetha Moreto to share her insights on the benefits of taking a holiday off in order to rejuvenate ourselves and combat work exhaustion and burnout so we can work more productively.

Andi Lew is a certified health and wellness coach who experienced burnout and work exhaustion first hand last year. This led her to a minor health scare and consultation with her doctor. Her physician found out that her cortisol levels are high due to stress and she was prescribed an immediate holiday to rejuvenate. Andi was previously a radio host for Channel 9’s lifestyle show ‘Shopping for Love’ and has appeared as a health and wellness expert on many programs including The Morning Show, The Today Show and 60 minutes.

– TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW –

Tabetha Moreto: Hello everyone. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio and I’m your host, Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Andi Lew, a Certified Health and Wellness Expert. She’s here to talk about work exhaustion and what can we do to combat this. Without further ado, welcome to the show, Andi. It’s so nice to have you here.

Andi Lew: Tabetha, thank you so much. Can you believe one in four or the equivalent of 2.4 million full-time working Aussies have not taken a holiday with their annual leave for more than a year?

T: Wow. I didn’t know that, Andi. That’s very surprising to know. So why is it that people don’t take a holiday off when they’re supposed to or when they’re entitled to?

A: What a really good question but from a lot of people telling me different things that being a mother and suffering sort of that mother guilt of always just working towards the health of their children and putting themselves last or young families, they just want to get ahead and they’re putting that paid annual leave on to their home loan thinking, “I just will get that paid out of the way.”, and thinking with that Aussie quote, “She’ll be right, mate.” that we’re all a little bit invincible rather and that we can just continue and we’ll be fine and in fact sometimes we’re not fine because there are 6% of Australians that are experiencing burnout as a result.

T: Yes, that’s true and unfortunately, I’m one of them. I sometimes experience burnout because I get stressed at work because you have to do all these tasks at the same time, multitasking and you have deadlines to finish and just like what you mentioned earlier, I can relate to what you said about being a mother, having a child at home and I’m worried about all these things and it causes me to have a burnout. So what advice can you give to people especially women when it comes to work exhaustion and burnout?

A: Well, I really believe as a wellness coach that you have to not only look at your health holistically but also understand that we need to have longevity with our health and wellness choices. So it’s not a 6-week program or one-size-fits-all approach and formula with a quick peel that you can take about anything when it comes to health. That is the medical model. That’s the quick fix solution, allopathic approach. The wellness approach is about, as I said being holistic and looking at how we can look after our health and wellness long term. We’re here for hopefully a long time and what’s the quality of life going to be in that long time. If we do take a holiday, our productivity when we come back to work or when we go back to parenting is going to be so much greater. And that’s why I experienced this recently where the doctor said to me, “Doctor’s orders, Andi, take a holiday or you’re going to be unwell.” because my cortisol levels were so high. That’s the stress hormone and we all know that when we have an excess cortisol building up in our body, not all of us, but basically I’m going to tell you that that is an acidic environment. That’s where cancer loves to thrive and I had been given through tests that were showing early detection cervical cancer and abnormal cells and lesion in my cervix and she said to me, “You’ve got your health and nutrition and fitness and everything under control but you’re not resting. Take a holiday because I’m concerned about your cortisol levels.” I started doing that, Tabetha, and she gave me six months of treatment with … and within six months of doing that and some other things, we had the test and I was all good again. That’s when I decided I must share this news with people and partner with booking.com to tell people to book a holiday and we created this ‘Book a Holiday Day’. Book a Holiday Day now happens annually on June 15th. But do it on any day. Just Book a Holiday Day.

T: That’s fantastic advice. Thank you so much for sharing that with all of us. I’m going to take a holiday off myself.

A: Yes. That’s cute. I think if you do give yourself permission to do that because now a health professional is telling you and then you tell your boss that you’re going to be more productive at work and then you’ve got booking.com making it really easy for you to just get online and even just book a short trip away. It can be somewhere close to home if you don’t have much time. It doesn’t have to be a faraway, exotic or expensive thing but just take the time to disconnect and
reconnect.

T: Absolutely and people really do need that because burnout causes people to get stressed at work and they don’t work productively. So having a holiday off would really refresh them.

A: Well, that’s right and at the end of the day, we used to do that. Didn’t we? And we would come back to work really refreshed and more productive and then the bosses would be happy that we spent that time. But these days, we’re either just not taking a holiday or when we do take a holiday, we’re still on our technology. So I love to say wander where the Wifi is weak. Go somewhere where you cannot connect to the internet and you’re making a conscious choice to get connected with nature for example and really experience the wellness benefits of being close to the sea or getting in touch with nature as well. Booking.com have one of my favorite things to experience. It’s an experience within a treehouse. You can stay in a treehouse. There are so many different types of vacations that you can take these days.

T: Fantastic idea. I love it. Go to a place with no Wifi, get away from your phone for a few days.

A: Or even just half a day.

T: Well, especially with our line of work, we always have to have our phones with us because clients or customers can be calling us any time.

A: Yes, that’s right but there are so many common consequences now of burnout at work and you’re going to have, well, the statistics are 51% have loss of concentration and 43% are just working slower. So the other statistics that blow my mind, Tabetha, is that when you’re suffering this burnout, you’re eating too much sugar or junk food just to try and feel like you’re getting some quick energy back and that’s 36% of people that are doing that. So not taking a holiday might actually be making you fat.

T: That’s even worse. Yes. We really need to take care of our health not only in terms of relieving ourselves of stress. We have to watch our weight as well which is a common problem nowadays because a lot of countries are experiencing an obesity epidemic.

A: Well, that’s it and it’s a myriad of reasons. It’s not just what you are putting in your mouth but it’s also why putting it in your mouth – Are you exhausted? Are you trying to stay awake?. And then, of course, there’s the whole gamut of looking at this holistically as well our hormones are not working properly because we’re running off so much adrenaline which is the fight-or-flight from being stretched. Are we not sleeping properly? As a result, we’re not getting the right amount of rest and hormone release which is melatonin that helps us to sleep because we’re looking at technology. I talked about that in my book ‘Wellness Loading: Disconnect to Reconnect’ and that was the other reason why I wanted to partner with booking.com because that’s the perfect way to disconnect and reconnect is to take a holiday. And another way to make it really easy to do is to just plan. Plan the holidays. How many times do we have a public holiday that is fully available for us to get away? And we say to ourselves, “Oh. What am I going to do now with this day off?” And Sunday rolled into Monday and you’re having that awful Monday feeling where the two are blending in and it’s kind of ridden the day off because you’re already getting anxious thinking about going back to work. But if you planned ahead and you actually booked a holiday, you’d be away and you would enjoy that time off and then you would come back to work and who knows how much more successful you’d be at your job for having rewarded yourself with that time off

T: Speaking about your book, for those out there who want to get a copy of your book how can they do that?

A: I would love that. You can read more about wellness and how to relax and disconnect away from technology. It’s a bit of a digital detox. Maybe you can take that with you on your holiday and read the hard copy, not the e-book. Somebody said to me, “Andi, I want to know. Is Wellness Loading: Disconnect to Reconnect available on ebook?” I was like, “Yes, it is but maybe take the hard copy with you.” You can get that on my website which is andilew.com. Yes, taking a book away with you on a holiday is fantastic.

T: Yes. I agree with you and I’m a bookworm myself. I would love to get a copy of your book, the hard copy not the e-book because I prefer the touch of a book in my hands because unfortunately, I’m always in front of the computer every day. I’m always using my phone. So once in a while, I like to take a break from those devices and read a real book.

A: Yes and the smell of the pages but the health benefits of doing that is that you’re no longer looking at technology where the screen emits a blue light and the blue light actually robs your brain of the hormone melatonin which we spoke about before. Melatonin is the hormone that’s released to help us fall into a deeper sleep. So when you are not staring at a screen of technology for at least an hour before bed, your quality of sleep is going to be so much better.

T: That’s right and I agree with you. We have to get away from our phones before we go to bed.

A: Absolutely. And so the other thing too is that we need to do to experience feelings of wellness is to be near the sea. There’s so much research that shows those who are living by the sea are less stressed and more healthy. However, you don’t have to live by the sea. You can book a holiday and just be near the sea for a few days. I call that a vacation being near the bay and just even to be calmed by watching the hues of blue is such a relaxing thing to do.

T: Absolutely. I love all of those things, reading a book and going to the beach.

A: Yes. That’s right. Hopefully, I’ve inspired people to have enough reasons as to why they need to book a holiday with booking.com. As I said, make it really easy and but I also think that there’s just a whole range of other types of vacations that people didn’t even realize existed on there and as I said my favorite thing is to go local. So many people who don’t have time or short of cash and you can go somewhere close to home and it can be a domestic trip. It doesn’t have to be something that’s really far away or expensive and you can explore the local gems of your city because the change is as good as a holiday. Pardon the pun.

T: Yes and that’s fantastic. Also, Andy, is there anything else you would like to tell the audience?

A: I hope that you’re all feeling a little bit more relaxed and inspired. And yes, book a holiday with me online on booking.com. It happens. Book a Holiday Day happens every Friday the 15th of June which is going to happen every year. So you need to commit to this once a year with me especially during these winter months where we’re all rubbed up going, “Take me away!”

T: Yes, and you’ve inspired me as well. Thank you so much, Andi, for coming on the show.

A: Thank you, Tabetha.

T: And that was Wellness Expert, Andi Lew. If you liked this interview, transcripts and archives are available at www.hpr.fm. We’re on all social media platforms. So don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. Show us some love by subscribing to our HPR YouTube channel. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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