FEBRUARY, Day 21: Listen to Your Body

In 2021, I took a mental health day with four working days left, before my week-long vacation. There is a lot of stigma around doing this, but here is why I did it.

In the weeks leading up to my vacation, I was pushing myself extremely hard to finish several client projects I had been juggling. As a result of overstretching myself, I'd started feeling more irritable than usual, experiencing very restless sleep and thinking about work 24/7, all signs of burnout.

In addition to feeling burnt out, my week-long vacation would involve my first flight in three years (COVID and starting a business made traveling difficult) to a place I had never visited before. We often forget that flying, time zone changes, and a new environment can add tremendous stress to the body, even when they are in the context of a vacation.

So I had a decision to make, keep pushing, run my body further into the ground, enter my vacation on “empty,” and run the risk of getting sick, or take a mental health day, reset my mind and body so I could finish the final few working days strong, and enter my vacation with some gas in the tank to maximize my recovery. I chose the latter.

In our society, far too many of us are just “trying to make it” to our vacations, which means we enter our vacations totally burnt out, which in turn prevents us from recharging effectively. Burnout doesn't care about your deadlines, projects, or timelines, and it's your body's way to slow ...

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