Why I take a ‘Hermit Week’ | Anna McMullen B.HSc CM

Last week I had a Hermit Week.

Every now and then I get a bit overwhelmed. It happens to all of us. The pressure of work, family and social commitments all add up, and when I’m feeling like it’s getting a bit much I take a Hermit Week.

“What is this Hermit Week of which you speak?” I hear you ask. Hermit Week involves just doing the bare minimum. Work, essential family commitments and exercise; saying no to any social or extra commitments and spending time resting.

It is a really good time to relax and unwind, to have some much needed time to yourself. It can help you tune in to your body and reconnect with your self on a deep level, becoming attuned to your physical and emotional needs. Most importantly, it is a time to allow yourself to rest.

Sounds good huh? The reality is it can actually be really hard! Our busy lifestyles have conditioned us to need to be ‘doing’. When you stop, it can be hard to resist the urge to do all the millions of things on the to-do list. I’ve heard it said “rest is not a luxury, it is a discipline”, and I would have to agree. It is a discipline worth practicing.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, a busy lifestyle can be detrimental to the body. Working too hard without adequate rest depletes the kidney energy, particularly the yin energy. This can cause a lot of health problems down the track, and is particularly problematic if you’re trying to conceive.

If you have a tendency to worry and overthink or overanalyse, the spleen energy can be weakened. This can create digestive problems and fatigue.

The stressful nature of this go-go-go lifestyle can aggravate the liver energy, causing emotional distress, tension and disrupted sleep.

It can also upset the heart energy creating anxiety, heart palpitations and a difficulty in connecting.

Whether you’re trying to conceive or trying to improve your health, our modern lifestyle isn’t conducive to healing. If there is one suggestion I make to nearly all my patients, it is to get more rest. To stop ‘doing’ and starting relaxing. It may take some time and some practice, but your body will thank you for it.

Rest is not a luxury, it’s a discipline. I invite you to be disciplined in your self care, to say no and to put yourself first. You can do this in whatever way works for you in your life. And just observe any changes which may occur.


When she isn’t being a hermit you can catch Anna at MCM Monday 9am-2pm and Saturdays 9am-3pm
To make a booking visit https://morningtonchinesemedicine.com.au/contact-us/