Counsellor's Corner - Taking care of your wellbeing these school holidays

As a busy Term 3 draws to a close and the perks of having two weeks break edges closer, the Merici Community looks forward to a period of rest, recovery, and rejuvenation.

As a busy Term 3 draws to a close and the perks of having two weeks break edges closer, the Merici Community looks forward to a period of rest, recovery, and rejuvenation. It is important to take this time as an opportunity to slow down, breathe and prepare to finish the year off with some positive Merici flair. 

We live in an increasingly fast-paced world that often prioritises productivity at the expense of rest. Busy schedules within your education, personal life, and part-time employment, can often feel as though you’re rushing from place to place without giving much thought to your own relaxation and mental health.

Over the next two weeks, take the time to engage in activities that bring you joy, spend time with people who support and empower you and relax in ways that revitalise your mind and bodies.

My top three suggestions for taking care of your wellbeing these school holidays

Stay active 

  • It can be tempting to spend the school holidays tucked up in bed with the curtains drawn, binge watching the latest series or scrolling for hours on social media. Staying active is not only paramount for your physical health but will boost your mental health. Even just a small amount of exercise a day will give you an endorphin boost to keep you feeling productive, motivated and with some added positive energy. With spring in the air, why not take the dog for a walk, head to the local park with friends or dedicate 15 minutes a day to do some stretching or yoga. 
  • Socialise with the right people 
  • Friendships are incredibly important during adolescence. The friends that you choose and the people you spend your time with, all have a particular effect on your wellbeing. If there is any negativity or toxicity between you and certain friends or if you are feeling pressured to spend time with people or do things that you don’t feel comfortable with, then it is time to re-evaluate the friendship choice. Friendships should help you feel a sense of acceptance and belonging and provide the opportunity for you to speak openly and honestly without fear of being judged or insulted.
  • Talk to someone you can trust 
  • We all have good and bad days, but if you feel as though times are proving to be a little too difficult or feel overwhelmed, it’s important to not suffer in silence and to reach out to a trusted person who you can talk openly with about how you are feeling. Parents and carers, family and friends can all be a good source of support. For students and families who might need some additional support over the school holiday break, these sources might be of benefit.

For Students:

  • MindMap support young people to navigate Canberra’s mental health system and find mental health services, supports and resources (12pm-11pm/7 days)
  • headspace online mental health service speak with professional counsellors over the phone or webchat (9am-1am/7 days)
  • 13YARN (13 92 76, available 24/7) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support crisis support phone line
  • Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800, available 24/7)
  • headspace How to stay healthy over the holidays
  • Reach Out Ways to chill for cheap 

For Parents:

  • Headspace factsheet Keeping healthy over the holidays - for friends and family
  • Reach Out Parents has information for parents and carers on a range of topics.
  • Raising Children has tips and advice around a range of topics that can assist parents in supporting young people.
  • Beyond Blue has some tips on supporting healthy home and habits and how to talk about mental health if you are wanting to start a conversation with your young person
  • ReachOut has a One-on-one support service which provides free coaching to parents and carers of teenagers.
  • Parentline ACT provides telephone counselling to parents and carers. Call 02 6287 3833, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm

It is important to note that School counselling is not a crisis service but should you feel your daughter may benefit from school counselling when school resumes, please speak with your daughter’s house co-ordinator or email me on

I wish you all a well-deserved break and look forward to seeing you all back next term with an extra spring in your step as we move toward our final academic chapter of 2022.

Take care,
Ms Hannah Johnson

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