Mental Health

4 Reflections for Taking Time Off Work | by On Life and Leading | Dec, 2021

The collective mental health of us all continues to be tested as the pandemic continues to rage on. I feel it in my interactions with almost everyone. Last year I took an entire two-week, end of year vacation when I felt utterly frayed. I didn’t go anywhere. I just unplugged into restoration.

This summer, I took two weeks off to connect with extended family. And I wrote these four reminders on day eight of zero peeking at work email.

Now I’m reconnecting with these reflections as I start my two-week, end-of-year hiatus for 2021. I hope many others are doing the same.

When I left for vacation, all this super important stuff was going on. And it still is going on. But nobody has needed me. That’s a good indication that a) I’m very dispensable and b) I’m just not as important as it so often feels when wrapped up in the grind of it all. It feels lovely to have this reminder.

My work financed this vacation. We splurged on experiences and ate incredible meals. We provided for extended family. No worries, just enjoyment. We didn’t do anything outlandish, but compared to our modest upbringing where financial insecurity was central to our lives, the security my work offers is invaluable.

These memories will last a lifetime for my children. In comparison, my contributions at work are specks of stardust in a large constellation that are forgotten or never even recognized in the first place. And that’s ok.

There’s all this stuff on “being authentic” at work, and it’s a nice thought. But we’re all performing, so let’s just be honest about that. It’s part of most jobs. And those performances often have so much negative. Whether it’s giving someone constructive feedback or receiving not-so-friendly criticism in return, it’s nice to drop the routine. And it feels good to be around people with very few expectations and love you for you and nothing more.

And with all that restoration and perspective, I feel better equipped to simply do my job and do it well and leave it at that. I’m motivated and inspired to pick the mission back up and do good work.

Now I need to plan our next vacation.

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