Thankfully, we are beginning to see signs that the recession is on the way out and there continues to be good economic news each day.  Yet unemployment lags the upturn and people are still concerned about their positions, their savings and the future. In fact, we are a nation on the verge of burnout – both from the higher levels of stress over the past two years as well as the piling on of responsibilities where we work. We are ready for a change and having a way to make that happen is of interest.

According to a 2009 Gallup Poll and information from, statistics underscore the stress people are feeling in the workplace and the desire for change.  American workers are working more hours than they did 20 years ago, with men averaging 49.9 hours and women 44 hours per week.  Eighty-six percent of workers are experiencing job stress, and half describe their stress as “extreme fatigue” or “feeling out of control.”  Sixty percent of workers feel pressure to work more than they want to, while 83% of employees want more time with their families.  Over 50% of employees are either somewhat or completely dissatisfied with their jobs, and 83% of workers plan to look for a new job as the economy improves.”

How can taking a “reboot break” help you plan for change?  Our soon-to-be-published book,  Reboot Your Life, describes the ways taking a sabbatical has helped many people plan, and take, time off. Whether it was a month, three months or a year, the “gift of time” was pivotal to people in addressing the stressful parts of their lives and finding ways to renew and refresh their personal and professional selves. Just having downtime or time to exercise or to care for a family member relived the stress of guilt and multitasking. Having time to think about, or experience through an internship ,new career opportunities gave them the ability to see a way out of a stressful job. Having time to explore the world through travel or themselves through introspection freed them from many internal stresses. Learning to “live light” during the sabbatical period helped them be less stressed about finances. People we interviewed who took time off work consistently said it helped them change their attitudes, behaviors and lives.

First see if your employer has a sabbatical program and if you are eligible. Consider taking a paid or unpaid leave of absence. Is this the time to go back to school and upgrade your skills? Can you dip into savings or use a windfall to “fund your freedom”?  Join our blog community and find out what others have done, or better yet, join us at one of our upcoming Reboot Your life Retreats in Sag Harbor, the Berkshires or Santa Fe, to get yourself thinking about time off.

An investment in yourself is your best investment for the future. A sabbatical gives you the “gift of time” to do that!