Some Simple Tips to Avoid Post-Sabbatical Depression
When returning from an adventure filled sabbatical, it is vital to think about what made it a success for you.
List these things down, and then try and do them on a regular basis to maintain and reproduce the feelings you had while on sabbatical.
If you can do this it can help avoid the “post-sabbatical depression” that so many people feel, and stop the dramatic drop off between being on sabbatical and being back in normal life.
Planning a sabbatical is such a massive build up, combined with the emotional roller coaster of putting these plans in to action, that often the first part of the sabbatical takes time to adjust and relax to. The reverse of this situation is that when the sabbatical ends it is time to head back to “normal” life. This can often feel un-exciting and like a letdown.
It is seen as a move from the relaxing freedom and new experiences to the rules and procedures of everyday life, which often we feel we have no influence over….
….But is this really the case?
By making some small changes to your daily routine you may find that the positive effects of your sabbatical can stay with you for a very long time.
Even those of you who have never taken a sabbatical may find that some small “hacks” could produce a feeling of space and time in your often to hectic life:
- Make / take some time, whether late at night, first thing in the morning or during your lunch break. Sit down and take a 20 minutes break from everything, no phone, no music, no laptop. Think about how you are feeling and how your body is feeling at this time. No judgement just noticing and acknowledging the feelings and emotions at that exact point in time.
- Acknowledge and be open to strangers, on the train ride, on the bus or during your drive or walk to work, try making an effort to look at and smile at people around you. Yes, it is silly and you may feel ridiculous, but more often than not you will make someone’s day and have a smile of your own. This shows you are open and approachable, the way you would feel if you had no plans for the day, similar to what often happens on sabbatical.
- Try something totally new. This is not easy as we all have our well-established preferences and routines. Our favorite lunch food, the route we use to get to and from work, how we dress and behave. So today, try new lunch food, leave the office and go for a walk during lunch time, use your bicycle to get to the office or do your errands. Make an effort, to think of what your normal response would be in any situation and try to do the un-expected.
- Learn something new. The idea here is to expand your horizons beyond the knowledge pool you currently have, on sabbatical you would for example learn about foreign customs and traditions, maybe snippets of a new language or history about the places you visit. This is relatively easy to replicate in your daily life by watching a documentary about something you know nothing about, going to a book reading given by an author you have never heard of, or finding a trending DIY video on YouTube to make origami or build a garden bench.
Long-Term Sabbatical Benefits
A sabbatical is often the product we use to get the benefits or feelings we feel are lacking in our daily lives. In short, the benefits of a sabbatical are more important than and outweigh the sabbatical itself.
Most of us change when we move outside of our “norms” and routines to places and people we do not know. When we escape or break free of these “norms” we give our minds a blank canvas with permission to re-evaluate everything. Using simple tricks you can replicate this “free” feeling without going on a sabbatical, in effect you give your mind a “mini sabbatical” everyday.
“A sabbatical is often the product we use to get the benefits or feelings we feel are lacking in our daily lives.”
Each day on a sabbatical is a learning and connecting experience: learning a few new words, learning how to use the train, what to eat and where to go.
On sabbatical we connect with new people all the time, trying to order food in a foreign language, asking for directions or advice on where to go. More often than, not a smile is used to bridge the gap or make up for what we cannot say in words.
All these skills will work in your daily life too.
Has The Nature of Sabbaticals Changed?
According to Wikipedia the sabbatical was originally a period to take a break or rest from work, in biblical terms this would be the 7th day in which no work is done it is the day of rest. In these modern times sabbaticals are often the opposite, they are a time to learn new things, have new experiences and sometimes create the time and space to fulfil a life goal, such as writing a book, learning to become a photographer etc.
A sabbatical is not a solution or destination. It’s a process whereby you open yourself to the world around you, break free of your comfort zone and become open to see what happens when you do.
Maybe a sabbatical is a way to teach us how we should be approaching each and every day, with a sense of openness, wonder and non-routine.
Peter – The Everyday Sabbatical Program
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The Everyday Sabbatical Program
This was a guest post by Peter from the Everyday Sabbatical Program.
Peter is a 40+ father of two dynamic young boys, happily married and based in Germany.
His life has taken him on many paths from leading private companies with over 180 staff in 6 countries, but also incorporating two, three month sabbaticals into his career. He says these periods opened the doors of his creativity, expanded his horizons and paved the way for life changing experiences in the periods that followed them.
Peter’s mission is to show you how you can make the lifestyle changes only a sabbatical can deliver, but in your everyday life. The ultimate goal should still be to take your own sabbatical, but there is no reason not to improve your life from today.
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