This Is Why Taking A Sabbatical Is Good For Your Health
We hear about celebrities taking sabbaticals from the spotlight all the time, but they aren’t the only ones capable of enjoying a little extended time off from the daily grind.
Traditionally, a sabbatical is a period of paid leave allotted to workers in academia for study or travel opportunities. They’re usually granted one year off for every seven years worked, and it’s a major perk that keeps these professors current in their areas of expertise, as well as energized to continue bestowing knowledge on the world’s youth semester after semester.
Not working in the academic realm? No problem. Modern sabbaticals certainly don’t have to last a year — most last from a few weeks to a few months these days. Some companies offer paid sabbaticals, some offer unpaid sabbaticals and hold your job for you until you return, and some even continue benefits like health insurance while you’re away. (Score.) And for those that don’t have extended time off written into their work contracts, it’s still worth bringing it up to your manager. If you’re a valuable, hardworking member of your team and can present clear reasons why your intended sabbatical could benefit your company or your work, your boss will at least hear what you have to say.
Now, we know this is a lot to ask, considering Americans are notoriously horrible about taking their normal vacation days, let alone an extended period of leave. It can be difficult to take a mini career break when you absolutely love your job, and when you have social and financial obligations to think about, that makes planning even more complicated. But just take a moment to consider all the ways this time focused entirely on your personal enrichment can benefit your work, your relationships and your life.
First, taking time for yourself is a surefire way to avoid burning out at work, which employers are growing increasingly conscious of as well. Leaving daily routines and stresses behind for a while can help you return smarter, stronger, and more inspired to do your work.
You’ll also find that you’re increasingly receptive to new ideas, insights and perspectives that can be gained from experiencing the world around you when you are fully immersed in it. This curious mindset can also help in the workplace, but it’s even more impactful on the personal psyche, providing you with a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment as a human being in general.
You might even discover new skills you never knew you had because you have enough time to dedicate to them. Taking a sabbatical to learn a foreign language in its country of origin or earn a certification in an area you’re passionate about can help you reconnect with things you know you love, as well as things you forgot you once loved.
Plus, a little international perspective could actually help you land an even better job when you return. New research suggests that having this worldly experience under your belt can make you more appealing to employers. So if you end up leaving your current job for a period of self-discovery, don’t sweat the job hunt waiting for you at home. And if you were lucky enough to hold on to your position in your current company, a promotion might be lingering somewhere in your future.
So whether you want to take a sabbatical to write your first novel, embark on a new research topic or simply explore various cultures of the world without interruption, start your planning sooner rather than later. You won’t regret it.