How to do Your First Sabattical

For the past 10 weeks, I’ve focused on family, health, and myself. At first, I didn’t know if I could pull this off. Where am I going to find the time and money? And most important, will I even enjoy such a long break? Turns out, that with the proper planning, it’s not as hard to have a long break from work as it may sound. Now I’m glad I did because I feel energized and more creative than when I started my vacation.

Slowing down can be scary

12 years ago I said to myself I was never going to be broke again. My family was going through some economical valley and I decided to get my first job. I like, to think I’ve worked hard for that goal, and for the past decade, I haven’t stopped hustling besides the casual 1-2 week vacation. That is, until last February.

If like me you have a hard time slowing down, make sure you plan ahead so you don’t get overly anxious. The idea is to rest and enjoy life. It might not come naturally at first, but with time it won’t feel wrong.

Finding the time and money

It all started with a job offer. I normally don’t take a break when I’m between jobs, but if I was ever going to try this experiment, I thought this was the best time to do it. If you’re happy with your current job, maybe your current employer would be willing to give you some unpaid leave. For them, it’s way more expensive to replace you than to give you a nice break. Or if you’re a business owner, maybe there’s a time of the year that business is slower than usual, and you could use it to excuse yourself.

Now that I had the time part figured out, I needed to come up with a solution not to burn a hole in my wallet. My wife and I decided we could achieve this by moving with our in-laws. This also allowed us to spend time with them before moving to a different continent. If moving to your in-laws is not an option for you, then look for a temp space that is cheaper than your current place. You can get very creative with this and move to the countryside, a cheaper country, or even do a road trip with an RV.

Getting the most out of your sabbatical

I used this break to take better care of my body. Since I wasn’t as busy as usual, I took the time to get a medical check, exercise, and eat well. I spent quality time with my family. I also got to play with some new technology. Last but not least, I did lots of reading.

This will vary a lot from person to person. What energizes me, might not be what energizes you. Be sure that you spend the time doing what you want and need, the whole point of this is to come out of it rested and clear headed.

Now what?

Lots of things are happening in the weeks to come. Moving to a different country. Starting a new job. Speaking a different language. Normally I’d be super anxious about all of this, but I’m feeling pretty good and excited about it and I think it’s all thanks to this sabbatical.

I don’t think I’ll be able to have a long break every time a major change happens in my life but now I know it’s not impossible if I wanted to. If you think you need a long break, I encourage you not to think too much about it and take it. If you wait too long, it might be too late.

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