While many people dream of taking extended time off work, of creating a trip full of adventure and unforgettable experiences, for many this dream remains just that – a dream. Few people follow through with it. It seems for many to be impossible, unreasonable, unattainable.
But the number of people taking sabbaticals is slowly increasing, with employees wanting to fulfill their goals and live a life they reflect on with joy and happiness. In an always-connected world, work-life balance is something people are getting serious about.
Businesses are also beginning to recognize the potential benefits of sabbatical leave, with many employees returning to their careers even better than when they left.
After all, happy and fulfilled employees lead to productive business.
Taking time away from the office gives you a break – a break from your everyday routine, and a break from being constantly ‘on’. Maintaining a work-life balance is essential for both your performance at work and your personal health. Without balance, you are more likely to become burnt out and feel unmotivated to work at your best.
See the Mayo Clinic’s article “Job Burnout: How to Spot It and Take Action” Ironically, taking a sabbatical is not on their list of potential action items – but maybe it should be.
What if planning an exciting sabbatical actually gave you more energy and motivation to complete your projects at work, finish your tasks, and be more productive with the time you have before going on your trip? We all know that ‘Friday feeling’ energy. That energy that makes you finish your entire to-do list before 5 PM hits so you can spend the weekend carefree! Envision that tenfold when planning your trip!
If you’re experiencing more stress than sleep and your workload feels overwhelming, or if you are feeling unmotivated and a little voice inside your head is telling you you need to make a change, then it may be time to research your sabbatical options.
If you are still scared this isn’t a reasonable choice for you and your career, we want to reassure you! There are benefits to be had both before your trip and on your return that will help boost your motivation at work.
BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Once you’ve said yes to planning your trip, you may be surprised at how fast things start changing. Your body starts to relax in anticipation of a well-needed break and your mind starts to fill with engaging ideas. You start to fill yourself up with inspiration, and you begin to think outside the box at work. Having something exciting on the horizon can give you a big boost in energy, motivation, and can significantly improve your mood and general wellbeing. If nothing else, you realize that in a certain period of time, some of the things you’re worried about now just won’t matter anymore.
1. No longer sweat the small stuff
Those little annoying tasks become less irritating because you are focusing on a bigger goal. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that soon your life is going to turn into a big adventure. You won’t get caught up on things such as the dynamics at work, or any other little admin tasks that tend to bother you, because you no longer see your work as a never-ending to-do list. There is a clear end in sight.
2. Become more productive
Those projects that have been on your plate for so long? Well, now you have a set deadline to complete them and some real accountability. It’s time to prepare yourself and tie up loose ends. The feeling of completion at the end of a project, with nothing else to take its place, is second to none!
3. Create a new community
Before your trip even begins, look up travel blogs, chat with people who have visited where you want to go, and enjoy the research and preparation time. Why not check out traveling Facebook groups to meet like-minded people and potential travel buddies? Ask questions, reach out to people, and begin getting out of your comfort zone before you leave. It can feel easy to get into a routine that feels truly unbreakable. Being supported and encouraged to take a break can help you feel confident to take time away, so be sure to share your ideas with trusted friends and family and even connect with others who have taken extended leave. Sabbaticals are an opportunity for some real personal development and transformation so it’s great to feel connected to friends and family.
Opening yourself up to a new community and new ideas can improve your mood and boost your creativity, which can be beneficial for your work as well!
AFTER YOUR TRIP
1. Improve your leadership skills
Having the space to see things from a new perspective, like immersing yourself in another culture, is a brilliant way to improve the way you manage, understand, and connect with people.
Returning to work feeling more centered, motivated, and happier – and with an expanded perspective – will make you much more pleasant to be around too. Your experiences, both within and outside of your workplace, help to build your character and personality. Your trip can help you to really stand out at work.
2. Gain greater creativity and inspiration
If it’s been a while since you felt that spark of inspiration or when your imagination flowed easily, a sabbatical can help by shaking up your routine and making space for creative thinking on your return.
Sabbaticals not only rejuvenate you physically and emotionally but effectively unlock creativity and passion. And if you ever find yourself stuck again, you will likely have amazing pictures from your sabbatical that will help you return to a more inspired mindset.
3. Revamp your daily habits and overall well being
The amount of time and energy that many people dedicate to work can mean sacrificing proper eating, sleeping, and exercise routines. Time off allows for the chance to recuperate and plan better habits as you move forward.
Spending time prioritizing your happiness gives you a chance to be present and to experience all that life has to offer. A sabbatical can give you a real sense of purpose. This can motivate you to take better care of yourself on your return to work and to create new daily habits that support you and maintain your sense of wellness.
Regardless of where you take your break, new experiences offer a sense of novelty, curiosity, and excitement. This causes the brain to release the feel-good chemical, dopamine. This can shift you from apathy and boredom to feeling engaged, alert, and present. Having time to allow your mind to wander, without drifting back to work concerns, can also sharpen your mind. Daydreaming can even help you to better problem-solve when at work. Our best ideas can often pop up when we are relaxed and allow the mind to dream freely.
We think of sabbaticals as career breaks. But they actually can be an integral part of your career growth too! When planned correctly, they offer you many benefits, starting even before you go on your trip!
Allow your excitement to push you to wrap up any loose ends and finalize your projects beforehand, and the personal transformation afterward can fuel your new work-life balance when you come back to the office.
Are you ready to make your sabbatical dream a reality? Contact us to make sure you make the most of your sabbatical!
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