Person in brown coat looking oat distant trees

What if… I stayed home?

What if I didn't return to work next week, could I cope with the situation? Would I be able to handle not working and what might happen if I took the decision to pause for longer?

The first thing that hits me is that I’d need to address the lack of income. This happens to be the main factor for me not considering taking a sabbatical, ‘how do I finance it?’. While I do have some savings, I’d rather not dip into those. Why I’m really not sure? The money is sitting there in the bank, for when we need it. Why am I not comfortable using it to part-finance a sabbatical? Maybe lockdown isn’t helping and possibly not the best time to take a sabbatical, I mean, where can I go? What can I do? But there is never a right time, is there?

The second thing on my mind is ‘what would I do with my time?’ Draw, paint, make photographs or write – now that’s something I’d never thought I would be contemplating, even just a few weeks ago. Spending time on projects that interest me, collaborating with others where possible certainly appeals. This current break has proven to me that I don’t need to have set goals or a fixed to-do list. I create and work better with loose ideas or direction and time to think. Projects then appear to light up and evolve however they see fit, allowing me along for the ride, gently nudging them along. From that comes progress, a lot less stress and anxiety too. These three weeks have been a complete reset. A chance to question and think, to create new habits, like writing every morning, and cast aside old worries. My challenge going forward is how to make sure these new, helpful, habits continue. And maybe, after the success of this extended break, I should reconsider the idea of taking a sabbatical.

Photo by Daniel Bowman on Unsplash

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Last year I attended the one day Do Pause workshop and it has proved to be one of the most valuable events I’ve ever attended and Robert Poynton is a superb facilitator. The day left me with a whole host of practical things I could put into practice straight away, along with deeper things to take away to think about. Over the year since the workshop, I’ve been practising many of the lessons learned, introducing different pauses, all of which I’ve felt has provided me with a slower, more thoughtful way to see things.