I’ve never understood those people who always claimed that a break from work, say, a week-long vacation, refreshed them and got them energised to return. Based on personal experience, given a break of a week, I’d just get accustomed to it and never be able to overcome the inertia and get back to doing Proper Things. I guess Gabriel’s finally a big boy now, though, because I finally got it.
For the past week, I’ve been quarantined at home following a sinus surgery, bumming around, taking loads of naps like I’m the head honcho of some Serengeti pride and being too lazy to even do exciting things I had planned before. Thanks to the surgery, I finally got the first full break I have from any responsibilities since I graduated in May.
(Granted, it’s not like I had jumped from taking my final exams to slogging it out in some office for 60 hours a week, but I had been working part-time while studying full-time for more than a year and not only had I hit the ground running post-examinations by going for a work session straight after my last paper, I had even taken on a new client the very next day. I wasn’t doing anywhere near enough to burn me out yet but I definitely wasn’t starting my work weeks raring to go.)
(Amazingly, I found the above poster on the interwebz after having randomly typed out the analogy about being a Lazy Lion. And I wasn’t even image-searching for anything about that, too!
That was lucky I’m prescient.)
Now, after lounging around at home for a couple of days, I feel rested, like I’ve enjoyed myself enough (which is very rare for me, even more so considering I didn’t actually do anything), and am actually excited about the coming week, which I’ve packed with work sessions and research collection to compensate for the down time. Of course, being paid by the hour, the resumption of income definitely doesn’t hurt as well.
And I don’t think it’s just about the physical rest, either (although I do think not doing anything, even things I wanted to do, actually helped because I really just got to rest). I think this one-week break was the psychological period I needed to punctuate my time as an undergraduate and to fully accept my transition into a full-time working adult. I never did feel like I got that closure, having started/continued working straight away.
So, yes, next time you feel burnt out and need a break, take it. It’s worth it.
ps. I just wish I’m heading to this exciting week having fully recovered from the operation. While I haven’t had any pain or nausea since reaching home on Tuesday (thank God for that!), the symptoms that I have had are not going away. My nose is still partially blocked, blood is still common when I do my daily sinus flushes, and the sense of pressure in my sinus area (which the doctor had warned about) is still there, causing all sorts of mental fuzz. In fact, over the course of this evening, the pressure actually got pretty high and the blood got pretty…bloody. I just hope this is still par for the course and isn’t indicative of recovery that isn’t going right. Fingers crossed for my follow-up medical appointment tomorrow!
pps. And hey, randomly not doing anything for a few days actually can work as a productivity helper as well, apparently. Check out the edit I made to my previous post where, after lounging around for days, I finally got down to doing stuff and did, like, a whole lot of it!