John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

Psychologist takes own advice

Frequently when people are feeling stressed-out, tense, irritable, or burned-out, I’ll suggest they take a vacation, or at the very least time off from work. The kicker is, I’ll suggest they take TWO consecutive weeks off.

“Two weeks! Do you know how difficult it is for me to get two weeks off--in a row?”

Actually, I do. I am guilty of not taking my own medicine. I haven’t taken two consecutive weeks off since my daughter born (she’s almost thirteen now).

Until now.

This year, I took the last two week of August off. Completely. Stayed away from the office, the voicemail, and especially the e-mail. Didn’t read work-related books or fiddle with my website. Yes, this took a fair amount of planning, and yes, for a guy who’s self-employed, it’s tricky to pull off. But was it worth it? You betcha.

What did I gain? Well, I lost track of time, sort of. (Therapists live and die by their schedules. How pleasant it was not to be constantly thinking about measured time). I thought about stuff I haven’t thought about it in a while. Hopes, dreams, new challenges. I got outside more. I read the new Richard Russo novel (and loved it). I spent extra time with the people I love the most. I traveled a bit. And yes, by golly, I came back refreshed, eager to jump back into work with a rejuvenated mind.

Hey, why didn’t I think of this before? Oh, right--I did. I just didn’t listen to myself. And why was that? Well, that’s a whole different kettle of fish now, isn’t it?