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

Latest thoughts

Mental Health Week: How photography helped me

During the second half of 2017, I hit a psychological wall. Not suddenly, it had been building for a while. I’d lost interest in almost everything outside of my family. At work, everything was going fine, but I was on autopilot. I was struggling to understand what was going on. I no longer wanted to socialise, go to car shows, build cars, make photographs, paint or cycle – all things that had been a massive part of my life up until then. Was it burn out? Mid-life crisis? All I knew was that I felt sad and unable to find joy in any of my interests.

Return to working with a new outlook

A new day, a new week and it’s time to return to work. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time off and feel that I’ve make good use of every minute. Finding new routines and different ways of thinking, but most enjoyable was not having to watch the clock.

Thinking about time moving forward

Having free days, for three weeks, has allowed me to appreciate the the enjoyment of not being beholden to a schedule. Not having to think about when the next Zoom call is lifts a massive weight from my mind.