Working in a service based position was beginning to wear on me. I was new to the field of work and new to full-time employment. As a young professional, I did not yet know the signs of burnout and that I was slowly creeping into that stage. I struggled to find the energy to do the things I knew I enjoyed, but after a full day at work evenings were a time to crash and relax and weekends became a blur of cleaning and catching up on sleep. Talking with a close friend about these struggles and finding hers mirrored mine, we decided we needed to get away. And so we began: the destination, transportation, length of time, accommodations and stops along the way. Eventually, we had a plan and the rush of knowing a break was on the way, was enough to propel me into my work.
As the date of departure grew nearer, so did my excitement and drive at work. I knew I had things to get done before leaving for such an extended trip. (Extended meaning longer than a normal weekend.) I wanted to be sure nothing was out of place before I left.
Then, finally, it was time to go. I spent the night before, packing and checking to be sure we had everything we needed. The trip went as expected, things went wrong and things went right but we were both just happy to be together in a new place.
The return from a trip is bittersweet. It is good to be home, in your bed with familiar surroundings but it is hard to part ways with good friends and a magical place. An expected benefit of this trip was my burnout symptoms at work abated. After the trip, returning to a work schedule was hard but did not feel so routine. I had new perspectives and ideas on life that had been discovered over hot coffee or while gazing at stars.
But the most important things I learned was how important it is to take time away from your usual and how it reinvigorates your life when you return. Taking time off is not a sign of weakness or lack of dedication; it shows that you know how to take care of yourself so that you can care for others.
In, 2015, there were over 600 million unused vacation days in America. National Plan for Vacation Day was created to raise awareness about Americans not using all their vacation time each year. There are various tools created by Project: Time Off and US Travel to help plan your days off and Cluventure wants to be a resource for you too.