Stress is a big factor when it comes to our mental and physical health. While some are aware of the negative effects that stress has on the mind, it is common for people to be less mindful of what stress does to the body’s physical wellbeing.
Our society is in a seemingly constant frenzy to always be working; at the same time, people are becoming more health conscious. Many people are going on vacations more often, in order to destress. A sabbatical may sound old-fashioned or like something that’s only for university professors, but these long breaks from work are increasingly popular. People are recognizing that a few weekend breaks throughout the year and a week at the beach in the summer just aren’t providing the mental break and relaxation they need. A sabbatical makes this possible.
During a sabbatical, people can focus on what their body and mind need. When we’re away from the usual grind for more than just a week, we tend to become more in tune with our physical and emotional needs and our own rhythms in terms of rest, exercise, and health.
Note that sabbaticals aren’t just for people who are tired of their jobs. Plenty of people love their work, but they recognize that taking extended time off actually makes them appreciate their job more, and even improves their performance when they return.
Different Sabbatical Options
A sabbatical can be whatever you want it to be. If you decide you need to spend more quality time with your family, spend your sabbatical doing just that. If you just want to escape to a beach for three months, you can do that too. Having the time and mental space to pursue your goals and interests—whatever they may be—is what sabbaticals are all about.
Taking a sabbatical to focus on building your skills can be ideal for people who want to learn something new in an environment where you are wholly devoted to this. The other great thing about a skill-building sabbatical is that you can dabble in hobbies or creative interests that you may have always wanted to try, but never had time for, perhaps because they aren’t strictly related to your career. For example, if you’re a marketing executive but you’ve always had a burning desire to learn the piano, a sabbatical is your chance. Sometimes, the new skills you gain during a sabbatical can even turn into a business venture. Skill-building sabbaticals are also great for people who want to truly master something before jumping in full-force, whether it’s a new professional path or starting a business.
New beginnings are a common theme for people who take sabbaticals. For many, life milestones—like a major birthday, anniversary, or retirement—are the perfect opportunity to mark the ending of one chapter of life and prepare for whatever’s next. They spend their sabbatical going somewhere inspiring, getting back in touch with their values, and designing the next phase of their life.
Other people use their sabbatical to focus on wellness of all kinds. Many people work in highly stressful environments, and this type of sabbatical can renew the body, mind, and spirit, so you can go back to work feeling ready to tackle new challenges. If this is your goal, you might spend your sabbatical learning mindfulness meditation, going on a yoga retreat, or spending time at wellness resort.
A sabbatical is also a unique opportunity for immersive travel. The standard one- or two-week vacation simply isn’t enough to take in all that another country—or even another city—has to offer. A long sabbatical allows you to experience another culture or city as the locals do. It also gives you time for unplanned experiences and spontaneity. When you have months to spare, you won’t feel like you need to pack every day with an exhausting itinerary of museums, landmarks, and attractions.
Getting back to nature is another goal of many people who take sabbaticals. Ever wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, climb Mt Everest, or go on a safari in Kenya? A sabbatical is your chance.
Is a Sabbatical Right for You?
If you are struggling to make time for yourself and your family or having trouble trying to enjoy what you do for a living, a sabbatical may be what you need. When you understand the goals you hope to achieve with your sabbatical, you will be better able to decide how you wish to spend your time.
With more millennials becoming executives and running their own businesses, perceptions of luxury travel are changing, and sabbaticals are becoming more popular. More people are beginning to understand the importance of these extended absences from the daily grind. The benefits of a sabbatical can change your life as well as your career if you approach it with the right mindset.