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How to Survive the Last Stretch of 2016

With just a few weeks remaining until the end of the year, many people are feeling tired and burnt out. Meaningful Minds Psychologist, Melissa Cilliers, looks at how to survive the last stretch of the year.

We have almost reached the end of 2016 and it’s an all too familiar feeling... Another year has gone by and quite frankly it’s been somewhat of a blur. It is becoming increasingly difficult to focus on your home life, work life and self care. It’s at this time of the year that most of us are feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted. Perhaps you have even suffered the dreaded flu? This phenomenon has been well-documented and can be associated with other physical ailments like headaches, migraines, digestive problems and other conditions when we transition from a high-pressure situation (work exhaustion) to a low-pressure rest period.

There are so many deadlines and projects that need to be neatly tied up and there is such little time to do this is in. We look forward to the festive season and family time, however it just seems like there is so many to-do lists that require your attention. So how do we cope with the increased stress levels and lowered tolerance to deal with them?

By the end of the year, everyone seems to be tense and short tempered most probably because our brains are exhausted at trying to keep up. It is important to take good care of yourself during this time of the year, taking cognisance and reflecting on the achievements and bumps in the road, of the year passed. It’s vital to be gentle with yourself while doing this. When you’re tired, it’s all too easy to get irritable and moody (I will admit to having a

complete meltdown over the silliest things when feeling burnout and exhausted).

So here is your end of year survival guide:


It can be really easy to get caught up in the rush that is, the end of the year. However, this is a recipe for burnout if you are not taking regular breaks and focusing on completing tasks in a mindful manner. Take a few minutes between each task to take deep breathes and centre yourself in your work. This way, you will most likely get everything done with little to no mistakes. Avoid people or situations that trigger anger or frustration. Use a deep breathing relaxation techniques when you feel yourself getting antsy. Do anything to keep your nerves calm.

Exercise and recharge:

Use your weekends for time to recharge. Get outdoors and take in some Vitamin D from natural sunlight. This is the perfect time of year to try something new, perhaps there is a restaurant you have wanted to try out, a new exercise programme or a new recipe that you would like to test? Use the off days from work intelligently, recharge, rest and relax.

One day at a time:

Don’t worry about tomorrow or next year while you want to focus on the task for today. Prioritise what is important for each day for your work, family and social relationships.


The end of a year is the perfect time to reflect on some of your achievements. Many people fall into the trap of focusing on what went wrong in 2016. While it is important to take notes of some bumps in the road, why not shift your focus to rewarding yourself for the positive things that have occurred or the goals that you have achieved (no matter how small). It is also a great time of year to reevaluate what you would like to achieve in the following year. Perhaps you want to be more realistic about the goals you set out for yourself?


And last but definitely not least (and this is my favourite one), spend some time giving back. There are many less fortunate individuals who could benefit from some old clothing or even a Christmas lunch. Do something for someone else, not only will you be giving back but you will most like be receiving a feeling of warmth in return. Go ahead, feed your altruistic side, its beneficial for both parties.

If you are feeling too overwhelmed and you are not coping, it is important to lean on your support system. Visit a doctor if you have fallen ill or make an appointment with a psychologist if you are not coping. There are always people to help you through this time of year.

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