September 21, 2020 // By John Doucette
I went barefoot for a week in August. Does it matter where I was? Not really. The point is, I took my shoes off, put my feet on something more comfortable than under my desk, and let the days pass by as slow as possible as I relaxed and recharged.
We all associate a vacation with "travel", but it does not have to be. The key to vacationing is mental disengagement from work to gain those beneficial recovery experiences. Research has shown that the pandemic has made the average workday 48 minutes longer. Experts at the Society for Human Resource Management have also addressed the issue, saying: “Now that work is home and home is work, employees may not properly disengage, making it impossible for them to unplug and refresh.”
Well, I am here to say, You must!
The Summer of 2020 will likely not have a place on your fridge for those magnets you get on the annual road trips. However, if you look closer to your surroundings, you can find the escape you need - you just have to look with a different lens. Drive a few miles away and find a park to relax in, a bike path to explore, or a simple sightseeing trip to another State (without leaving the car). The idea is to disengage and let go of work besides the weekends.
The key for me in my effort to break free from work was my teammates and their absolute commitment to support me when I disengaged and took time off. A big part of truly vacationing, is trusting your mates, and that they have the ball when you are gone. That trust and the act of picking up the ball, is ever so important during these times. We can often feel like we are "indispensable" on our projects. It is a fact; our engagements are on fire (in a good way) and are driving towards very important deadlines. It is up to you to recognize the trust with your teammates and allow yourself to take a break, come back re-energized, and reciprocate the joy of letting go.
My recommendation to you - pick a week (or even a day) and go barefoot.