When we hear the term “oil change,” our minds are likely to flit to mental images of car engines or other mechanical parts of a machine. It may seem odd to think about an oil change within the context of human beings, but it’s certainly a metaphor worth exploring if we’d like to prioritise our mental health in the new year. Just as we perform frequent oil checks on vehicles and machines to ensure that they keep operating smoothly, we also need to perform regular checks on ourselves, our inter-personal relationships, habits, and lifestyle to ensure that we maintain optimal mental and physical health.  

In a world of constant busyness and chaos, we may come to feel as though we are constantly rushing from one place to the next, and from one task to another, trying to tick off a seemingly endless to-do list. As a result, many of us get so caught up in the “usual chaos” that we forget to pause, reflect, and implement the necessary changes for a more peaceful and purpose-driven life. Performing a personal “oil change” requires us to use our quiet time not to escape from the chaos, but rather to use it for reflection and strategic planning. The holidays offer a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on what has worked well for us over the past year, what hasn’t, and what we would like to do differently in the new year.  

What exactly does a personal “oil change” entail? 

A personal “oil change” involves reflecting on all aspects and areas of one’s life. It’s about optimizing the way we work and live by re-aligning our focus to match our true life’s purpose and improving our relationships and communication with the ones we love, It allows us to build a solid foundation on which to pursue our dreams and to achieve our personal and professional goals. There’s a well-known saying that goes, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” A personal oil change is all about implementing the necessary changes that will help us to get something better the next time ‘round, something different – the necessary outcomes that will bring us closer to the ideal life we’ve envisioned for ourselves.  

Repurposing our resting time 

When we decide to attempt a holiday oil change, we need to take a different approach to our periods of rest and relaxation. Instead of seeing the holidays as a temporary escape from a chaotic work or home environment, we need to see it as a chance to address the issues in our lives that made us feel like we had to escape in the first place. Such issues might include things like toxic relationships, unrealistic work expectations, poor communication styles, or unhealthy lifestyle habits. These aren’t things that will disappear magically by the time we begin the new year, and that’s why we should actively address them in our quiet moments of reflection and relaxation, rather than trying to escape them. That way, when the holiday season is over, we’ll be able to return to a more balanced life, allowing for more moments of calm and serenity, and fewer moments of stress, angst, and dread.  

Once we have formulated an action plan for a more balanced lifestyle, we grant ourselves the necessary peace of mind to rest fully during our time off. What’s important to remember, however, is that this requires us to draw up very clear boundaries between our work hours and our resting hours. We need to incorporate time for hobbies, relaxation, and self-care into our schedules and treat it with the same level of seriousness as our other commitments. Our personal time is important for our wellbeing, and should be treated as a necessity, not a luxury.  

Applying the oil change across all contexts 

A holiday oil change requires us to make the necessary changes in both our home environment and our work environment. We can begin by setting clear boundaries between these two contexts first, as this will benefit us in both spheres. We need to slot in quality family time and alone time into our schedules the same way we would slot in work meetings and commitments, and ensure that these responsibilities don’t flow over into much-needed family time. In the same way, we should not let personal commitments take away too much time from our business hours, especially if they are not urgent.  

At home 

Just as cars require regular services and oil changes, we and our families do too. You and your family require many things to be happy and to operate smoothly. At home, it can be greatly beneficial to implement daily rituals that can strengthen our connections and relationships with one another. For example, we can have designated hours in the day when we are forced to disconnect from our electronic devices, so that we may use this time to listen to one another, raise potential concerns, and communicate our needs. This can prevent unnecessary tension from building up over time and help keep our relationships and connections with one another strong.  

In addition to spending quality time with our loved ones, we also need to remember that the way we treat our holidays and our rest time sets an example to those around us, and can be especially influential when it comes to children and youngsters, If we centre the holiday narrative around escaping chaos, those who look up to us are likely to follow suit. This can also contribute to tension between family members during the holiday season, as each may be grappling with the underlying tension of returning to a sub-optimal and stress-filled reality when the holidays eventually come to an end. Simply put, if we want our children, partners, or loved ones to rest properly, we need to set the example by allowing ourselves to do so first.  

At the office 

Our sense of accomplishment in our careers and level of job satisfaction play a huge role in our overall health and happiness. That is why we need to use this time away from the office, not to escape a bad situation, but to build towards creating a better one for ourselves in the new year. If you’re not happy at work, it might be time to consider an office oil change. This activity could include many different strategies, depending on what it is that you would like to change in your professional life. Some practical steps would include, for example, creating a better daily routine, nurturing your relationships with colleagues, taking your breaks more seriously, realigning your focus, expanding your skillset, or exploring options for a possible promotion and/or career advancement with your manager. The important thing to remember is that we need to employ highly specific, practical steps if we want to perform a successful office oil change. 


The Holiday Oil Change can improve the quality of our relationships, the enjoyableness of our everyday lives, and the quality of our quiet time away from the office. It is an opportunity to stop, reflect, and draw on the strengths that already reside within us to build a life for ourselves and a home for our loved ones that will allow us to thrive. Just as cars require regular services and oil changes, we and our loved ones require many things to be happy and to operate smoothly. The family and office oil changes are hands-on activities that requires effort and input from all parties involved. Each is an activity that forces us to pause, reflect, and brainstorm collaboratively on ways in which we address the current issues that may be holding us back from the life we want for ourselves. It also forces parents to ask the question, “how can I set a better example for my children in the new year?  

If we want to perform a successful oil change, we need to employ highly specific, practical steps. For our extended resource document on the yearly oil change, existing partners can access The Holiday Oil Change Guide and other premium content through the Plumm resource porthole. If you are not yet signed up with Plumm, sign up today or request a demo to access our extensive library of practical resources, from toolkits to online courses, interactive work-shops, to meditations – and more! We’ve got something for every topic, interest, and unique need of every client.