Can a Vacation Cure Burnout?

The answer is easy! YES. And…NO!

Let’s pull back a few layers to this onion in order to dive into the answer.

I believe there are 2 main causes of burnout that are within control for the employee.

FIRST…we are doing work that is unfulfilling to us. This is probably caused by a lack of alignment with our values, the vision for our life and mission for our work. There’s likely a disconnect with all these. This causes us to exert so much energy just to show up to work, much less perform at high levels.

SECOND…we are violating the work-life rhythm which I define as periods of intense and focused work followed by periods of deep recharging and refueling. When I say we are violating this I mean that in order for us to be sustaining high work performance, we aren’t finding the appropriate time to recharge within the calendar of our work and life. This looks different for each person because each person has a unique work calendar. Find the rhythm and you’ll find sustained high performance. If you don’t, you’ll find burnout.

So let’s say you are working for an employer that aligns with your values and the vision for your life and mission for your work is in alignment…woohoo! You’re doing work that fulfills you! Can you still get burned out? Yes. And can a properly timed vacation with an agenda that will recharge you cure feelings of burn out? Likely, yes. But I’d also say that this is not the majority of scenarios for folks that feel burned out.

If you are going on vacation to escape your reality, then NO, a vacation will not cure the feelings of burn out because you eventually have to go back to said reality. Which will bring stress back into the equation. In my opinion this is the more likely scenario for people feeling burned out. And vacations will not cure that burnout. Rather, they’ll provide a little respite from it. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s more of a band aide fix to the problem.

What a vacation can do in that situation, if properly designed, is gift you with awareness to burnout, its effects and the desire to make a change (as my friend Stephanie says). Perhaps it will even give you the opportunity to creatively think about new ways to solve problems that are causing stress at work which may be leading to burnout.

For more information on how I’m stepping into this space of teaching work life rhythm through adventures and retreats, visit “The Reaching Beyond Experience” section of my website to find everything you need. I’m bringing my background in hospitality, travel, teaching and facilitating all into one exclusive experience on the North Shore of MN (Oct 9th – 11th). Stay tuned for more opportunities in 2020 and beyond!

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