Taking a Break and Leaving Town

by Clare Sobotka, Head Editor, INALJ Idaho

Taking a Break and Leaving Town

Clare SobotkaRecently I left home and work behind for ten days and traveled to another state for some family business. It wasn’t a vacation per se, but once I had left town I realized how badly I needed to get away for a while. I had been worrying a lot about the future and had finished my most intense interview process to date, and needed to take a break away from home where I could focus on something unrelated to job searching. For most of this year my rest time has consisted of days off locally. While that is relaxing, there are mental benefits that come from taking an extended vacation.

Why is this relevant? Because in the crush of job searching, working, volunteering, and taking care of daily household tasks, it is important to recognize that we need different types of rest and recharging. We need to give ourselves permission to do so, and recognize that it may actually help us by allowing us to gain new perspectives. Weeks on end of job searching and a regular routine can narrow your focus and muddle your goals for the next stage of your life. Traveling can provide new ideas even when you aren’t trying to relate it to your job search. For example, on my trip I saw parts of the Midwest that were new to me and thought, yes, I could move here and live for a while if I found a job here. Being able to picture myself somewhere new made me feel more optimistic and ready to pursue job opportunities further away from where I was doing most of my searching.

Whether local and short, or distant and long, a vacation offers enticing possibilities:

• Catching up on sleep

• Working on a hobby or new project

• Catching up with friends and family, hanging out with pets

• Not having to plan activities, or having time for a special one

• Leaving town and seeing new faces, or not having to see the same ones you usually do

• Experimenting with new activities that might lead to a new passion or hobby

• Drawing inspiration from unfamiliar landscapes

• Not having to check e-mail (not always possible, but I think being able to get away from e-mail for a few days is one of the golden standards of a true vacation)

Having the opportunity to pursue some of these possibilities and taking a vacation doesn’t just help you relax in the moment and relieve stress from the last few months. When you return feeling refreshed and reenergized, you are more productive. Doing a lot of job applications in a row can start to drag you down, and you might find that taking a break helps you move through them quicker upon your return, and with a more positive outlook. In addition, you might find that the best way to clarify your career goals is to not think about them for a while and let the mental dust settle. This is a case where leaving town on an extended trip can help; having to deal with unfamiliar logistics, novel activities, and new scenery can provide a good distraction. When you return home, you will be ready to take a fresh look at your lists, resumes, cover letters, and e-mail inbox. But above all, a vacation can remind you that you are not just a job seeker by giving you space and time to think about and do other things. So schedule a vacation, and let yourself rest, relax, and enjoy life.