Are You Challenged To Unwind?

As we enter August, have you taken time away from your profession this summer – or I will give you – this calendar year?  Do you find it hard to unwind, to disconnect?  In our world today, it is a temptation to be continuously connected to email, texts, to our phones. 

Let’s forget the pandemic as best as we can and not blame Covid for not taking time off.  So, let’s be honest with ourselves – have we taken time off?   And now, a harder question – WHY NOT? 

We need to take a lesson from Europeans who believe in taking a “holiday.”  Some places even close down so that employees are forced to take time off.  The norm is at least 20 days per year.  The US is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee employees a paid vacation. 

So, you have paid time off through your employer. What are your reasons for not taking it (even if for a staycation)?  Are you fearful of being replaced; that a co-worker will resent you for taking the time; that if you are out of the office, you cannot meet your responsibilities?  Whatever your reason – which are really excuses – YOU need to take time off and disconnect. 

Professionals have difficulty in taking time off.  We know what is on our TO DO list, what is expected of us, what upcoming deadlines we could be looking at, and on and on and on.  This list could go on considerably.  We are living in a world of the expectation of always being available, immediate responses to calls, emails and texts.

If time off was to be taken, would it be considered being selfish in light of what is on that TO DO list?  NO!  Quite to the contrary.  We all need to rejuvenate, to get refreshed in order to avoid burn out. 

Taking time off can be doable.  If planning to take time off, set expectations to your co-workers as to what your availability will be – sporadic, once a day, etc.  Give advance notice to your co-workers as well as to your clients/customers.  Acknowledge that the world is not going to end if you are taking well-deserved time off.  Be proactive and use out-of-office announcements to reduce the expectations of those trying to reach you. 

Perhaps you are not working and are retired.  Are you feeling challenged to unwind, to plan a vacation for some or all of the above reasons modified for your individual situation?  Take the above suggestions in consideration. 

We all need time to unwind in our own special ways.  I often tell caregivers that they have to take care of themselves as they will not be beneficial to anyone if they are under the weather.  The same goes for our careers.  Take care of yourself and unwind. 



About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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