The need to unplug is real. Overwork is real. I have always been a proponent of the work hard, play hard theory. But as previously mentioned, I am a serial over-committer, so I’m probably overdoing it (on both sides!). In the last post, I talked about adjusting goals as a way to deal with burnout. During the school year, I tend to work up to the point where 12 hour days become normal. Then when the semester ends, I tend to flip to the complete opposite end of the spectrum where I seek out days where I do nothing.
While lazing around in the hammock I bought last summer was a needed element of self-care, I still didn’t get the reset that I usually get from a vacation.
This past month, we were able to take a 9-day road trip through the Northeast, and I was able to take a weekend trip to Chicago to hang out with my sister. What a difference it makes to step out of your normal surroundings and routine!!!
The best thing I did in planning the road trip was making sure we had someplace to stop and visit/look around each and every day of our trip, so there were no days solely devoted to traveling. Those can wear you out and then you need a vacation from your vacation!
Except for last year when we were thwarted by the pandemic, we do make a point to take a week-long vacation every year (sometimes longer, usually 9 days). As a freelancer it is hard to take the time off, knowing that not only will we not be making money while we’re on vacation, but that we will be spending money. This hits us especially hard because we vacation during the summer – the timing makes sense because work is slow, but since work is slow it is hard to justify turning down gigs. Years ago, when we were figuring out how to equalize our bills, I set up a vacation account; we contribute a percentage of our income each month into that account so that we can actually afford to go on a vacation during those slow periods – otherwise, we would never be able to afford it with the dips our incomes take during the summer.
The sense of relief and mental refreshment I experienced on return from vacation this year just confirmed for me how necessary these breaks are!!
It might take a bit of planning, but anything you can do to change those surroundings and routine can help by allowing you to recharge and avoid burnout!