The day-to-day grind can be relentlessly exhausting, which is why a well-timed vacation is sometimes the best gift you can give yourself. But even those who are relatively pleased with their careers and social lives might find they need more than a short break to keep their success going — it's called getting burnt out and a sabbatical is often the cure.
No matter if it's two months or a year, a sabbatical of any length is a dramatic life change. Don't let that scare you away if you're teetering on whether or not to take the plunge, though. There are many who have jumped in before you, and if you prepare the right way, use all the resources at your disposal, and enter with the right mindset, you'll have a great time. Here's what to always remember:
1. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
You wanted a sabbatical so you could break out of the routine you were in for a long time, right? So don't miss the opportunity to really do something that'll make you grow. Whether it's tackling a project you've never had time for, learning a new language, or traveling by yourself, make sure you're pushing yourself to be a better person.
2. Schedule your time.
You don't want that precious time off to just fly by, so get ahead of it by mapping out what you want to do and when. If you're embarking on one long trip, use travel planning tools to help with outlining each step of the journey.
3. Set goals for yourself.
This can be as concrete as actual tasks you want to complete, or as fluid as working on aspects of your own identity. Either way, it helps to write down the things you'd like to accomplish during your sabbatical, both so you can push yourself while you're in it and reflect on how much you've achieved at the end.
4. Take advantage of accumulated resources.
Do you travel a lot for work? If so, you probably have a lot of frequent flyer miles piled up. Hopping around the world for pleasure during your sabbatical is the perfect time to use them. And if you don't have many stockpiled, it's not a bad idea to commit to one airline to get a bonus out of all the potential journeying you'll do during your time off.
5. Stay in touch with important contacts, old and new.
A traditional address book, like the one pictured above, may be a thing of the past, but the idea of networking remains the same. Just because you're taking a sabbatical doesn't mean you should completely lose contact from the world you lived in before it. Staying in touch with people from home can help you transition seamlessly back into the professional scene when you're ready.
Also, it's smart to make connections with those you meet along the way, whether through LinkedIn or Facebook or some other network. The kinds of people you encounter on a sabbatical could yield relationships that last a lifetime.
6. Keep those skills honed.
You wouldn't want to come back from an extended break rusty, would you? Whatever your passion or trade, make sure to find ways to keep those muscles flexed from time to time so you can hit the ground running when your sabbatical is over.
7. Appreciate every moment.
Who knows when you'll get another opportunity like this again? Enjoy every second.
Cover image: Pixabay