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Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Many moons ago, when I still had time in my life to relax, I saw a skit on TV by famous UK comedian Ricky Gervais which I still remember. He was talking about the struggle of life. Ricky said when he wakes up in the morning, he thinks, “well I didn’t die, now I have to do it all over again.”

Of course he was being funny, but there is a serious side to most of his comments. It got me to thinking about life and work balance.

Cheeky Monkey Media points out that the best way to re-energize yourself is to just walk away. Its another way of saying the age old adage that a break is as good as a vacation. But nothing beats an actual vacation.

Right now I am at the start of a sabbatical to do exactly that. I have worked intensely for a year, without break, working mostly 7 days a week, loving every minute of it, but also now feeling the effects on my body and brain. Is it burnout? Is it just me?

Recouping takes a special type of vacation. Life and work can be exhausting, but so can some kinds of travel. Many people love the rush and excitement of a full on vacation, but they can be exhausting too. There are alternatives that allow all the benefits of a refreshing, reinvigorating break from it all, some luxury, some pampering, but not the noise and crowds and tight schedules that may make your vacation seem like work.

A true recouping getaway takes into account the two cardinal rules of recovery:

Be kind to yourself. Enjoy someone doing something for you. Be pampered, be waited on. Be it a massage, carrying your luggage, cooking your meals, leaving you alone. Stop thinking the world depends on you, have faith in the ability of others while you are away, especially your younger team members. In a recent survey, “63% of millennials essentially workers under 35 said the primary purpose of businesses should be improving society instead of generating profit." A study from the Society for Human Resource Management tells us that 94% of millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause and 57% wish that there were more company-wide service days.”

Make the change real. Get right away, a vacation where you are still answering the phone is not a vacation. A vacation in the seaside resort next to where you life and work is not a vacation. In a recent Korn Ferry survey, “36% of employees surveyed expressed concerns about their large workloads and questioned whether their employers were helping them achieve a reasonable work-life balance. More and more jobs are coming with the expectation, sometimes unspoken, that employees should be available at any time. Bosses may think they’re squeezing extra productivity out of their direct reports, but its that type of pressure that can depress employee engagement. In one recent survey, 80% of working adults say they feel increased job stress on Sunday nights.”

I am off to Europe, but not to London or Paris or Rome. To Zaragoza, a remote city in Spain with a smaller population, a slower life style, a rich history I can take in at my leisure (or ignore), new foods, but inexpensive classy hotels and restaurants. For me the best way to recover is to spend hours lazing at a street side cafe, people watching, having no set commitments slowly munching on sweet things.

My suggestions are to find a remote island or mountain top resort that is still a best kept secret, ask your travel agent, that is where their personal experience and expertise is invaluable.

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