Sabbatical: Ideas and inspiration for your career break
Planning a sabbatical takes time. At the beginning of the planning process you should of course consider the most important question: What do I want to do during my break? In our blog you might find some inspiration and ideas.
Higher demands in our daily working lives result in heavier stress on the side of the employees. The largest German sabbatical survey found out that about half of the employees wish for a break – about a third would even like to do a one-year-break. No matter whether it is for burnout prevention, personal fulfillment, or acquiring new knowledge – the reasons can be just as diverse as the options how to spend the break. And since many would like to do something useful besides relaxing we collected a few ideas to give you a bit inspiration for your own personal sabbatical.
According to the sabbatical survey of the online travel platform Wimdu, traveling is the most popular option when it comes to sabbaticals. 57% of the respondents wish to travel during a sabbatical. The possibilities are of course endless: Whether alone or with a travel partner, around your home country, to neighbouring or far away ones, or even a world trip. The distance to your daily work life is especially large when you are travelling; you manage to relax, but also get to know new cultures and people and broaden your own horizon. In short: travelling makes an impact and educates.
Learn something new
If your health, e.g. burnout prevention wasn’t the reason for the sabbatical, further education is often a useful motivation. Apart from professional education, your personal one should be in the foreground: you meet new, interesting people with similar interests, build new networks, and can use this new knowledge in your personal life as well. As you know, we never stop learning, so that your sabbatical is the perfect time to start something new: How about a language, dance, or drawing course, a musical instrument or even a Field Guide course in Africa?
Everyone of us probably has that one idea that is a bit more time-consuming so that you just tell yourself: “Oh if I only had enough time” or “Once I am retired”. You don’t have these excuses anymore: thanks to your sabbatical you have all the time in the world to start your dream project. You can make the dream of your own house come true, finally write your book, or exercise for your first marathon.
For many people, a break means spending time with their family. It’s nice to have time for your family and to go on little adventures with your loved ones. You can also use your sabbatical as parental leave –is there anything better than watching your child grow up? You miss so much especially within the first months if you only come home after work.
But there are also not that nice reasons that require a break, e.g. home caring for a family member. In many cases it’s not even possible to simultaneously have a job and take on the domestic care so that a sabbatical is a good solution and you can fully commit to the care of the family member.
Many people decide for a sabbatical because of health reasons. We live in a fast, media-biased world that can be exhausting in the long run. You’re under pressure and have to be constantly reachable so that switching off and relaxing can be hard. Especially at work, we are exposed to constant and intense stress; at the latest when you are close to a burnout you know that it is time to act. A sabbatical gives you the opportunity to slow down and relax and again you have the most different options to turn your back on your stressful everyday life: a sabbatical in a monastery offers a time far away from secular influences and lets you calm down. Another fascinating option is going on a pilgrimage where you can forget stress and rush and gain new strength – no matter whether you are actually religious or not.
An interesting way to slow down is the so-called “digital detox”, a kind of fasting of digital media. Just renounce any media and displays for a period of time that you determined yourself and enjoy your time analogously. In our everyday work life where constant reachability is often required it can be a welcome way to relax.
Social engagement and voluntary work is a popular and useful option for your sabbatical. There are many different areas of application both in your own and in a foreign country: you can volunteer in areas like health and social affairs, school and education, construction and infrastructure, or environmental protection. You don’t only help others and are glad to do something good, but you also meet the most different and interesting people and acquire useful skills and knowledge.
Wwoofing is a special form of voluntary work. the Organisation Wwoof (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) places volunteers on ecological and biological farms all around the world to help as a worker. In return, you get meals and an accommodation for free as well as an authentic insight in the work and life on an organic farm. In order to get in contact with the farms you need to be member of the Wwoof organization of the country where you want to travel to.
Work and Travel
You want to see as much as possible from a country but don’t have the financial means for “regular traveling”? Another cost-effective alternative is Work and Travel where you earn your travel money on the way. By traveling around and taking on occasional jobs you get the opportunity to get deep insights in a country and its culture but you simultaneously remain independent and flexible.
Even though Wwoofing and Work and Travel are quite good and cheaper alternatives to a regular journey, there are still a few expenses that you should consider. Apart from possible programme or membership fees, you should expect costs for flights, possibly needed visa, insurances, vaccinations, and special documents (e.g. international driver’s license). Some countries also require evidence of additional financial savings. And don’t forget the expenses that might occur on site, especially when doing volunteer work and Wwoofing.
No matter what option you choose – we hope that your break provides you with rest and relaxation and simultaneously brings you new, exciting experiences. NATUCATE-founder Daniel sums it up very well: “In our stressful daily work our life often loses itself in routine. To get out of this familiar routine and to leave the comfort zone requires some effort – but it is definitely worth it. Because the moment in which you break new ground and meet challenges or fears is also the moment in which you feel alive.”
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