Sabbat­ical: For my health – How do I regain strength?

Anyone can be negatively affected by growing stress or too much workload psychologically as well as physically so that a satisfactory performance at work may become impossible. An effectively arranged break might help. Learn more

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Sooner or later, anyone can be negatively affected by growing stress or too much workload psychologically as well as physically so that a satisfactory performance at work can get really difficult or even impossible. An effectively arranged break can help with mental sorrow and emotional exhaustion and can furthermore be a good way to prevent a burnout.

Our work life has more and more demands for us – faster, higher, further is often the motto. More flexibility, constant availability, and growing self-responsibility are obviously expected and let us do more things in lesser time. You get the feeling that your life goes on high-speed, you start to lose control and slowly get directed by others. To do nothing but function has its consequences – you run danger to lose balance in life and to head towards a crisis – both physically and psychologically.

By deciding to take a sabbatical you’re already doing a step in the right direction and you can do a lot of good for your health, new motivation, and more energy during your break. “A sabbatical is basically supposed to counteract the development of burnouts, as well as support the health and life satisfaction and show new perspectives”, says industrial, organizational, and economy psychologist Leila Gisin of the University of Luzern.

My sabbatical – What am I looking for?

Longing for something distant

Popular ideas for a sabbatical is travelling, realizing personal projects, or taking up old hobbies – this satisfies the desire for something distant and unattained, which is often the reason for a work break. If you are, however, really close to a burnout it often needs a bit more to get to new strength.

Then it is important to take enough time and rest for your regeneration in order to lose the feeling of being completely burned-out and spent. To get enough distance from the daily rush is a crucial point. By travelling to other countries you already have a lot of spatial distance, now you still need to spiritually detach yourself from your everyday stress which is often much harder to achieve. On your way to new strength and balance it is, however, essential.

Looking for rest and peace

A path that many peace seekers take is the one into a monastery. Far away from any secular influences, their isolation is a perfect place to find quietness – no matter your personal beliefs. Living as a guest in a monastery can be very varied – while the one religious community involves you very much in the daily monastic life, the other one might give you more freedom so that you can often determine yourself what you wish to do with your time. But they all have one thing in common: they offer a place of retreat and allow reflection and rest, far away from daily stress and materialism.

Exercises for body and soul

If you don’t feel like spending your time in a monastery you can try to find your inner peace with special exercises for body and soul. Yoga is especially suitable since the exercises are adjusted to your body and mental concentration and can contribute to improving your overall wellbeing. Just as suitable is the spiritual exercise of meditation with its concentration exercises – they help to relax, to banish negative thoughts and to find your mental balance.

Get out into nature

For many, finding back to nature is an ideal solution to free your mind and this way get to new strength. Being close to nature is calming and helps you to switch off your head and let go of all the stress; it lets you concentrate on yourself and thus further develop your own personality. In order to get especially close to nature again, there are many different possibilities. Long backpacking trips or contributing to volunteer projects that are committed to nature conservation are popular ways of spending your break. Other intensive ways of spending time in nature are special training programs like a ranger course in southern Africa.

Change your habits – even after your break

If you’re affected by physical and mental exhaustion it is advisable to make sure to live a healthy and conscious lifestyle during your sabbatical. This includes largely renouncing alcohol and nicotine, exercising, getting enough rest, as well as mental reflection. In order to be pleased by the positive effect of your sabbatical for a long time, it is an advantage to keep these habits even after your break and to incorporate them in your everyday life.

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