Taking leave…and why it’s so important to just *stop*

I’ve hit that point in the year where I’m cranky with everyone, I’m fed up with dealing with people, the tasks that I wanted to get done this year haven’t all been done, things are behind, everything’s irritating me and I’m just fed up with life in general.

It’s been 8 months since I took a “holiday”.

Most of the time, when people say ‘holiday’, they’re talking about going away. While that would be nice, I kind of like staying home, unwinding and spending time in a house filled with things that make me happy.

I know a large number of people who don’t take holidays. They occasionally take a day or two here and there, have a long weekend or two during the year, but they never fully unwind.

I was one of those people.

Up until this year, I was always very very tied to my job. I was tied to checking my email logging in and making sure things were okay, making sure people knew my mobile phone number in case something went wrong. So while I was on holidays, I wasn’t really – because I was still thinking about work, still immersed in it, still contemplating what was left to do, what hadn’t been done, what I was going to do when I got back.

I am committing this year (in 9 days, to be precise!) to not do that. I am going to just *stop*. I am going to have a holiday that doesn’t involve, not even once, checking my work email or my work phone. I am not going to think about work or even contemplate work until, at the very earliest, the day before I’m due to go back.

We all need to take a break. As IT people, particularly sysadmins who are very closely tied to their systems, we don’t switch off. Even when we’re not in the office, we still check our email, log in and check our systems, receive SMS notifications or work phone calls. We’re so sucked into it that it can (and does!) consume us.

No wonder so many burn out!

I would like to propose to you, the reader, to work out when you last took a holiday (and it doesn’t have to be a holiday going away somewhere…even a week at home doing what you enjoy, is a holiday!) and you didn’t check your email. When you didn’t check your work phone. When you didn’t answer a call from a colleague asking about this system or that piece of software. Post about it in the comments – I’m guessing, for a lot of you, you honestly can’t remember when that time was.

There is a reason we get given 4 weeks of recreation leave every year. It’s because it is recognised that you need a break. You need to step away from what it is you do to make a living and take some time to do what you enjoy. To recharge. Even if you wholeheartedly love your work, it still reaches a point where you need to take that step back, take a deep breath, and just unwind.

So from one sysadmin to (possibly!) many others. Take a holiday. Don’t check your email. Switch off your work mobile. Leave your laptop in the office. And, for $deities sake, ENJOY YOURSELF! There truly is more to life that zero’s and one’s ^_^

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