Long-Service Leave as a circuit breaker to “figure things out”? Here's some food for thought | HerCanberra

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Long-Service Leave as a circuit breaker to “figure things out”? Here’s some food for thought

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As the world emerges from the dramatic events of the past 18 months a phenomenon known as the ‘Great Resignation’ is being seen in the US.

Resignations have jumped, in certain sectors in particular, and this is being attributed to workers re-evaluating the role of work in their lives.

Although debate continues on whether or not Australia will follow a similar trend, the sentiment that underpins this phenomenon is alive and well in Canberra. Exhausted workers are looking for something more from life and work.  But instead of resigning, long-service leave offers a life raft to ‘figure things out’.

Long-service leave, sometimes referred to as a sabbatical, can be a circuit breaker to give yourself some room to breathe, take stock, and figure things out.

It is a privilege to have the option of taking long-service leave, which is all the more reason to use it carefully and with intention. But that’s not as easy as it sounds.

When you’re burnt out and solutions for change are elusive, it’s likely you don’t have much spare mental capacity or energy to make a solid plan to get the most from your leave and create the change you want and need.

You tell yourself ‘just make it until leave starts, and then figure things out…’

But without a plan, leave can whizz by in a flash and you find yourself back at work with things feeling the same, having made no progress. The old patterns and frustrations are still there, but this time your leave balance is zero. Ugh!

To avoid this, there are four key areas to explore to set yourself up to create the deep change you hope for:

  • Your body needs rest and nurturing. Popping rest on the to-do list can be an act of rebellion in a culture where long hours and stress are status symbols.
  • Forget ‘work’ and ‘productivity’ for the moment and consider making time for play. Brene Brown defines play as unstructured time, ‘anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness’.
  • We are more than our body and our minds; a full rich life includes treasuring a sense of connection. Whether to spirit, the universe, or otherwise, developing of maintaining a practice of connection can be a restorative and a stabilising base from which to create change.
  • Action. Wishing for change only gets you so far (hint; not very) so brave, practical action is needed to create the change you want. Small brave steps overtime can lead to huge transformations.

Exploring these either with your favourite self-help books or coaching support can help you emerge with a sparkly new sense of purpose, direction, and motivation as well as the satisfaction of knowing you made the most of your precious time off.

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