Constantly Stressed at Work? Consider a Sabbatical


Written by – Julie Morris  julie@juliemorris.org    www.juliemorris.org


Today’s style of working demands long hours and constant dedication. Often, taking breaks or vacations are interpreted as weakness or a lack of true commitment to one’s job. However, even the most dedicated workers require breaks and holidays, which is why the idea of a sabbatical is so appealing. Typically linked with the academic world, sabbaticals can be a useful way for you to get in touch with yourself while giving your mind the break it needs. If you plan it correctly, a sabbatical can also re-energize you in your profession, restore your passion, and even provide you with great ideas for how to move forward.

Here are the basics on how to plan a sabbatical, along with reasons why you should.

Preparing for a Sabbatical

However, going on a sabbatical requires a significant amount of preparation, and the first thing you have to do is form a plan. Claiming a sabbatical at work and then spending your time eating chips on the couch robs you of all the potentially positive effects you can experience by using the time to travel, explore the world, and delve into topics you find fascinating. Pay particular attention to experiences and research you can turn back into a marketable experience on your resume and in interviews. To decide where to go, make a list of places that interest you. If you enjoy hiking, look into more mountainous regions; if you prefer leisure, the beach or a lake may be more suitable. However, leave some open places in your schedules for spontaneity.

Then, research the average cost you can expect to pay from spending the duration of your sabbatical there. Use your knowledge of your current financial situation to inform your decision. Start saving early to have an emergency fund in case you need it. To earn a little extra income during your sabbatical, you may want to rent your house. To ensure your renting experience goes well, clean your house and stage it to look as attractive as possible, and use an online guide to help attract great renters. Be sure to also consider how your sabbatical may help your position at work since you’ll need to be able to explain your reasoning. Once you’re ready, give plenty of notice to your boss and get your sabbatical approved in writing.

Why You Should Consider a Sabbatical

One of the major reasons why you should consider a sabbatical is that it allows you to look at your life and your work with fresh eyes. A sabbatical gives you the distance from your daily routine that allows you to see what works, what doesn’t, and what you can do about it. It becomes easier to tell if certain parts of your routine add to your stress or if there are certain parts of your day that make the entire process worthwhile. Then, since you are not distracted by your normal routine, you can mentally process your experiences and your internal analysis, helping to make you more aware of yourself while pushing you in a certain direction.

If half of your day is stressful and exhausting, and the other half is positive and rewarding, a sabbatical may help you separate yourself and your preferences from your work and your current accepted pattern of behavior, thus increasing the potential that you will choose to act in a positive manner in the future. Sabbaticals can also help increase your physical and mental health. Typical nine-to-five jobs, extended over a decade, have been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease — work commitments often interfere with and take precedence over people’s pursuit of physical health. The problem with this ever-popular attitude is that it implies that work is more important than individuals. By taking a sabbatical, you can reclaim your individuality and work to strengthen yourself on all levels.

After you’ve spent some time preparing for your sabbatical, it is time to take your trip. Remember, it’s not a vacation — you can use the time to relax, but you can also focus on developing yourself and your interests.

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