A couple weeks ago I was on what I called a mini sabbatical but in reality, it was just a week off of work before I started a new job. During that week I fully appreciate and understand why rest is important. I think the overall concept of time away from work is something more companies should figure out how to offer. I know some companies have programs like actual sabbaticals after putting in a number of years at companies. I think the idea is great and I think it could be something done on a smaller scale too. I think the most important aspect is to figure out how to allow people to have some time away from where they can really disconnect.
Disconnecting is what you hear about all the time now and after a week of being fully disconnected, I know there are benefits there. I have always taken time away to spend time with family and I would say I was “disconnecting” from work. However, I was never truly disconnected. I was still getting work emails on my phone and more often than not I carried my work laptop with me to where I was going. So in theory as much as I was saying I was “disconnected” I was still connected by checking and making sure nothing went wrong back at work while I was away. Even if I wasn’t responding to anything, I was still glancing through things to make sure nothing big was going on and filling stuff away in order to make it easier for when I got back to work.
However, on this “break” I didn’t have email or work issues that came up or even could be brought my attention. When I left work on my final day, my email and connection to that job disappeared as well. I was unemployed as I was in between jobs and it was great. I was hoping that my wife and I could have escaped somewhere fun for a couple of days but seeing how this wasn’t planned very far in advance. So my wife still had to work and the kids still had school and their normal after-school activities.
However, that was honestly perfect for me as it allowed me to do more with the kids before and after school as I was still there. However, it also gave me a chance to just do random things during the day from 9am – 4pm when my kids were at school. I took the dog to the dog park where she was just in heaven as there wasn’t anyone there and she could just run around as fast as possible.
I spent the week doing things I enjoyed but honestly, I could have had another week to get even more stuff done as I had planned on taking the time to read a book (yep never happened). I did make sure to sneak in a couple of long runs, multiple runs per day, as well as a fun park that was a lot of hill running but worth the views.
In fact, I even met up with my cousin for a run one of the days I was off. It was good to get outside as well as catch up with her.
Finally, I took my wife out on a couple of lunch dates where we could take our time eating and just enjoy each other’s company with nothing big to rush to the next event or worry we are paying some babysitter to allow our kids to watch TV at home :).
I am sad that my time away from work is over as I am now three weeks into my new job. However, I am going to think of ways going forward that I can take a week off and just be at home as disconnected as I can. Another thought is to just take some random days off here and there where I can just do my own thing without other priorities or reasons for taking the day off. I believe that would allow me to be refocused and refreshed going back to work the next day.
Have any of you ever just completely disconnected from work? If so what did you think of it and was it helpful?