How Would You Like a Few Months Off?
There’s a commercial from the ‘80s here in the US about a woman trying to manage a chaotic household. In exasperation, she calls out, “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene shows her luxuriating in a bathtub filled with bubbles — thanks to Calgon — as all her troubles seemingly soak away.
I’ve had a lot of those “Calgon” moments over the last couple of years though none have ended with me buried in bubbles. Although I’ve often needed a reboot (or better yet, a reset), I haven’t been great about making it happen.
OK, that might be an understatement. I can see my business coaches rolling their eyes and interrupting with, “Um, you haven’t taken any time off in almost two years!” That is certainly not practicing what I preach. I say to clients all the time, “When you feel like a break is the last thing you have time for is when you need it most.”
These past two years of writing of my book, sharing its release, starting my Hay House radio show, and working on our tiny house build has had me running on the hamster wheel pretty consistently. Even though I know full well how beneficial breaks are, I’ve let that “to-do” drop to the bottom of my priority list again and again.
Hell, even the program I use to send this email to you welcomed me with a screen that said, “It’s time for you to take a vacation!”
OK, universe, I get the message.
While my break will start with a couple days off here and there, my bigger plan is to move toward month-long sabbaticals. Or dare I say, multi-month-long sabbaticals.
How did you react when you just read that – the idea of a month-long (or multi-month-long) sabbatical? Let me guess. Was it something like:
- Must be nice.
- I could never do that.
- Wow, that would be amazing!
- What would I even do with a whole month off?
I had those same thoughts not too long ago, and I realized that my limited thinking was playing a direct role in that idea never becoming a reality. As Louise Hay always said, “Everything you speak is an affirmation,” so I’m paying closer and closer attention to my words and how they shape my beliefs.
Taking time away from your normal routine keeps things fresh. If life feels stagnant or blocked, or way too harried, this is a great way to see things in a new way. This space allows you to generate new ideas, tap into your creativity, and find solutions to blocks that have been plaguing you for a long time.
Although we tend to think of a sabbatical in academic terms, it actually relates to the Sabbath – the biblical day of rest. The modern dictionary definition of sabbatical reads: “A period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.”1
An unexpected bonus is that it also tests the waters of your regular life.
If you tend to over-give, for example, a sabbatical is a great way to see how life continues when you’re not around. It allows others to step up to the plate – mainly because they have to – and can show you that you needn’t do so much for so many. And it empowers those in your life when they have to do for themselves.
So, what is your resistance saying about all of this? How unlikely or impossible it is? Instead of dismissing it, make note of it and let’s unpack it a bit.
Play along with me and jot down your answers to the following questions:
- How true is your resistance’s story about why you can’t do it?
- As Byron Katie would then ask, “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”
- What would others need to handle while you were away?
- What support would you need to line up to make it happen (child care, pet care, work coverage)?
- What do you fear would fall through the cracks in your absence?
- Where would you go?
- What would you do (or not do)?
- What is your ideal length of time to rest? A week? A month? Three months?
- How might a sabbatical be just what you need? What benefits do you imagine reaping as a result of an extended period of rest?
This week, I challenge you to play with this idea, even if it seems totally cuckoo and out of reach. The first step in any big dream ever becoming a reality is allowing yourself to imagine it and challenge your resistance.
Take a look at your answers to the above questions and see if you can identify one to three small steps you could take immediately to move the needle in the sabbatical direction.
Then, join the conversation in the comments below. I’d love to know your thoughts!
1 Miriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sabbatical
All the best Kerri. Enjoy your sabbatical time! Good for you! – literally. We know what to do. All your nudges remind us that we have the answers when we take the time to sit with ourselves and sit with our stuff/the messengers to ask what really is the matter and take the next compassionate step. We just needed that little bit of encouragement to get out of the groove of the easily accepted old patterns of thinking that aren’t supporting us.
Ps – I did it. I cleared my space/cleared my thinking. Multi-tasking was the problem. Yesterday, I focused on one thing to accomplish and took my time to be fully present doing it (listened to a lot of uplifting Hay House content in the background). I had to laugh with myself at the end of the day when I said “Yeah, I did one thing!” Lol. But you know what it was more productive/centered time than trying to address all the things in my mind and spinning my wheels.
Take care Kerri, enjoy your tiny house journey- exciting!
Yes, Dawn! Small steps + compassion = a winning formula! You’re absolutely right – doing that one thing is a HUGE success and while it may seem like “just” one thing, the ripples effects travel far and wide. Well done!
Hi Kerri! I totally support you and all of us taking time off. Take it from me, it really is totally a great idea. I spent most of my career not taking vacations and I got totally stressed and burnt out. It became a vicious cycle of my not having enough leave to take a real vacation because I had used most of it on days off because of debilitating migraines. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had a four-year vacation and have totally needed it. I am just now figuring out what I want to do next, and you’ve just provided me with a great reminder of the importance of work/life balance. And I’m learning the importance of having fun. Enjoy your time off. You deserve it!
That is such a great point, Patricia, that by not taking vacation, you’ll burn yourself out and end up using vaca days to recover. Here’s to your healthy, next chapter!
Wow! I was just thinking this and here is the email saying it…I have a 2 deaths and my youngest son got married all in the span of several months. Add to that a move (lots of clutter ) and a new relationship. This really speaks to me. Thank you so much Kerri!
That’s a lot of change/upheaval, Laura. While challenging, you’re right — it’s also a perfect time to take a break and breathe/rest. I’m glad my post found you right when you needed it!
How do I come OFF sabbatical after nearly 2 years? 🙂
Although I’m still loving it and when I keep a check on any resistance to it, it seems like it’s okay to stay on it. It’s an interesting place to be though.
You’re going to be even more amazing with regular sabbaticals Kerri, as you know it’s time. I get it that you kept on that wheel for such a long time. I mean, take a gawp at where you’re at now because of that.
Have a wonderful break.
Ooh, Vicki — great question — how to refocus when you come off sabbatical! I think a great thing would be to use the time you have now to play and dream and imagine the possibilities of what’s next for you. When you land on something that really strikes you, I bet it will then be time.
Thanks for your support and encouragement!
If you need a break and do not take one, the universe or your subconscious mind just might cause an “unfortunate even” that will “force” you to take one.
I have multiple severe disabilities that limit what I can physically do, but my disabilities have helped me to become more self aware of what I can do, and as a result I live somewhat more purposefully at least some of the time. I have heard similar stories from some other people with disabilities.
So I support the idea of taking a break even when you are busy. People need to take breaks sometimes or we end up forced by circumstances to take the breaks that we need.
Very good point, Kit — take that break before you don’t have a choice. And then continue to take them!