Thursday, May 26, 2011

Burn Out and Taking Time Off

The Pier at Avila Beach, CA

Burnout, specifically where work is concerned, is such a real thing. I pretty basically worked without a break for three years straight. I do my best to take weekends off like a normal person and most major holidays, but when you have your own business, it's hard to take true time away. For many reasons. First and foremost, when I take time off, I don't get paid. It's not like I have a vacation plan, lol. I only get paid for the actual hours that I work and I certainly don't get paid vacations. Secondly, it's just hard for me to step back and let things slide. I have a responsibility to my clients and they have expectations.

In the last three years, the family has taken two vacations to the Outer Banks and one trip to Ohio, and I also flew to Ohio by myself to be with my dad when he had surgery a while back. During each of these events, I either had work to do or school work to do or both. During our family trip to Ohio, I took a business call in the middle of a corn field. When I was at the hospital with my dad, I took a call outside of his room in the hallway. Working from home and being a business owner has made it incredibly difficult for me to separate my work life and my personal life. Even when I'm not actively working or "on the clock", I'm thinking about things that I need to do for my clients. It kind of sucks, to be honest and it resulted in burnout. I hated my business, the work I was doing, and my clients. I was unhappy all the time and I started having insomnia again, and migraines. I hadn't really felt like that since Vermont.

So, I took some real time off. The Mister and I took an honest to god vacation to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary earlier this month. I gave my clients plenty of notice, (one of them had a year's notice and still bitched and complained when it came time for me to "leave".) both of us left our laptops home, and we went away by ourselves for a week to Paso Robles, CA and then another week just to be home and off of work. I didn't check my email, personal, business or otherwise, the entire two weeks. It was fantastic. Out of this world, fabulous, straight out of a dream, GREAT! We ate too much fantabulous food, drank too much wine, lounged by the pool and read books, and generally we were lazy slugs. We stayed out as late as we wanted each night and slept in as late as we wanted each morning. I can't even remember a time when I had absolutely no responsibilities. Oh. I forgot to mention that our mothers (yes, you read that right) flew out from Ohio to stay with the girls the first week while we were in Paso Robles. So that first week, we were able to do what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to worry about work or school, or about getting dinner on the table for the kids. I need to remember to do this more often than once every three years, lol.

How's the burnout? Well, to be frank, the jury is still out on that. Personally, outside of my business, I'm feeling fab. Then, when I sit down in my office to take care of client tasks, I start to wonder in which direction am I headed. Do I still like the work that I do? I'm starting to wonder if my vacation, rather than solving the burnout issue, it gave me some perspective instead. Time will tell.

Oh. In addition to the pic at the top, I have uploaded vacation pictures to my Facebook account if you'd like to see them. Central California is beautiful.

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