At a time like this, given the global health climate, taking care of oneself has become one of the people’s top priorities. Folks have learned the value of self-care and self-love. Almost everyone had to deal with the consequences of COVID-19 one way or another. Some might have suffered physically by contracting the deadly virus. In contrast, others struggled to provide for their families, given its economic impact.
Still, others suffered in silence as their mental and emotional health deteriorated as anxiety and isolation ate them all up from the inside.
When companies started to consider giving workers more flexible working arrangements and allowing them to work remotely, employees have either changed careers or have taken this time to take a break from work and go on a sabbatical.
What Is a Sabbatical?
A sabbatical is not an entirely new concept. It has been around for decades now but has only grown in popularity in recent years.
Sabbaticals are extended breaks from work that allow a person to get a breather and ponder on where a person is in life. It gives them the time to pursue other worthy endeavors such as academic or professional enhancement, personal reflection and introspection, life planning, or rest from burnout.
Unlike a vacation, sabbaticals typically take about a year. This year off from work changes a person’s life drastically in ways that leaves cannot.
How a Sabbatical Can Change Your Life
The differences between a vacation and a sabbatical lie in the amount of time spent for rest and relaxation and how the latter has a more significant long-term impact on a person. Other than giving one time off from work, a sabbatical can also provide the following:
Provides Healing to a Person’s Mind and Soul
Since the first day you set foot in kindergarten, the system has constantly trained you to become cogs in the workforce machine. Schools somehow functioned as assembly lines where they churned out worker after worker over the centuries. The notion has always revolved around the idea of putting work above all else in life.
This wrong mindset has led to practically billions of burned-out people over the last century. Sabbaticals allow people to take a much-needed breather to recuperate physically and recover mentally. This gives them a renewed sense of vigor and energy when they get back to work.
Opens Doors to New Opportunities
Another thing that sabbaticals offer people is opportunities they have missed otherwise if they remained tied up at work.
In the academic scene, for instance, sabbaticals give professionals the chance to enhance their academic qualifications, leading to higher income and a slightly different career path. An educator can take that extra year and go through a British school admissions process to gain more knowledge and increase their value as professionals.
In other cases, they give people the time to start a new business or establish a new hobby. The time off from work also allows them to meet people and make new connections to widen their network, leading to more opportunities.
Gives Greater Insight, Meaning, and Revelation to Life
Lastly, sabbaticals are a great time to assess and evaluate your life personally—your status, achievements, priorities, failures, and relationships. It clears your mind of mental clutter and makes you see the bigger picture as you take a step back from being too work-focused.
Often, people come out of sabbaticals with a new-found perspective in life, a new and improved mindset, and a renewed passion for the things they took for granted pre-sabbatical. In this way, sabbaticals provide workers a safe space to discover (or rediscover) their true selves. In most cases, you might have tied your identity to your profession, and it’s what people use to identify you.
Whether you like it or not, your identities are closely tied to your job. While they may reflect part of your personality, it doesn’t represent you as a whole. As famous comedian Jo Koy cleverly illustrated in one of his Netflix specials, there are a lot of Filipinos in his audience that are nurses. And while there’s nothing wrong with being a nurse, most of those who ended up as nurses never dreamed of becoming one and instead wanted to be a Jabbawockee or something.
You get the idea. Sabbaticals give you that safe place to be authentic. They help you truly discover who you are as a person, as an individual. You are unique and not just a cog in some dysfunctional machine.
As the world starts to rebuild, the focus on self-care has become far more critical than just casually—or routinely—going back to prioritizing economic recovery. The joys of rediscovering oneself, spending time with loved ones, having a healthier perspective of priorities, and finding peace amid chaos give individuals a renewed sense of purpose and meaning. This motivates them to perform and be better holistically, not leaving anything to chance but taking control of their lives and things that matter to them.