After three months of sabbatical, I’m back to work.
I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and that was kind of the plan. There were a few big projects around the house, some fun mid-week day trips, a week at the beach, and plenty of music. With the kids off from school, most days were spent just being with the family.
As a family we went to the pool often, hiking, the zoo, Crystal Cave, Knoebels amusement park, went to Ocean City, MD, for a week (where we saw wild horses on Assateague Island, danced on the beach, jumped the waves, strolled the boardwalk, and lazed on the sand). We spent as much time outdoors as we could.
I played a few punk rock shows with my band, played a local open mic with my solo material, did some songwriting, recorded a bit, and most times just played guitar, piano, and drums for no reason other than to enjoy it.
My work laptop sat closed for the entirety of the summer, and I removed work email from my phone. I even deleted the WordPress app from my phone to avoid the possibility of any work-related notifications coming through.
As a result, I was able to completely disconnect from work, which the whole purpose of the sabbatical. Not only that, I disconnected a lot more from everything else as well. I spent less time posting and browsing my personal Instagram account (I still kept up with the Chiseled Lilies account since we played a few shows over the summer). I spent almost no time on Facebook.
While the first few weeks were an adjustment period, ultimately I got to a point where it was comfortable and felt normal to just wake up and have no plans for the day.
Some takeaways and things I learned through this experience:
I realized how burned out I was.
Having been able to completely disconnect meant I could reflect. Being burned out had been affecting both my productivity and motivation at work, as well as my home life. I had less motivation. I was tired all the time. I had no patience and was more irritable. After a few weeks I felt happier, calmer, and had motivation to get things done.
Disconnecting from work is important.
Before sabbatical I would check in every once in a while after my work was done. My work email was on my phone, and I did a lot of reading work-related things on the WordPress app. That’s probably part of the reason I got burned out in the first place. I learned it’s important to disconnect, and work can wait until I’m back at my desk.
I feel more connected to my family.
Getting to spend almost 24/7 with my family changed our relationship for the better. I feel a deeper connection with the kids and Corinne. Three-day holiday weekends and times where I was sole-parenting used to feel really hard. There was anxiety around it and I had to mentally prepare myself. Now, after an entire summer, it feels much easier to actually enjoy these times. I’m looking forward to weekends with my family.
Overall, it was a great summer sabbatical. I’m incredibly grateful to Automattic for providing this opportunity. I’m refreshed and ready to bring a new perspective to my work.