“My stress is at an all-time high.”
“I feel like I need a break from work and job seeking.”
“What I really want is a vacation.”
After hearing these phrases hundreds of times over the many years I’ve been helping people navigate their careers, I knew I needed to create a way for people to engage in meaningful reflection and planning in a way that also allowed them to have fun and get inspired.
I’m not about to suggest that you print out this article and hand it to your boss along with your two weeks notice, but I am here to tell you that your job search might get easier and more effective after a vacation. Especially if you’ve found yourself thinking any of those above thoughts recently!
Here are just a few reasons taking a vacation can set you up for a more productive job search in the long run.
1. Constant Stress and Anxiety Do Not Help Your Job Search
When our stress levels and anxiety are constantly high, we approach problems and situations based on a number of factors that don’t contribute to making the best of decisions.
What you do next in your career is important. No matter what you want the map of your career to look like, you don’t want to end up in a job you’re not super excited about, and feel sure is the right fit for you.
Taking a job based on fear, stress, and worry is not a good idea. You want to get and take a job based on the positivity it holds for your future. If you can stop, reset, and reflect, you’ll probably be in a much better headspace to tackle your job search when you return.
I’m constantly telling my clients to, ‘Stop. Reset. Reflect.’ before they tackle the nitty gritty slog of a job search.
2.Vacation Gives you Much Needed Time for Reflection
Inevitably, the things that matter to you the most become clear when you’re away from your daily grind. One of the things I repeatedly hear from clients is that being actually forced to reflect and think actually makes them more inspired and motivated.
There’s nothing like sitting by the ocean staring out at the waves, or viewing a centuries old piece of art, to make you think about your own life and what’s important and meaningful to you. Maybe you always find yourself thinking about the future when you’re away and you can get lost in your thoughts of what that looks like.Maybe you find yourself always coming back to a topic that’s of interest to you or a problem you’ve always wanted to solve.
This reflection time is your pathway and potentially the key to understanding what’s important to you and where your passions lie. Having the time and space to reflect on all of this is critical when making a thoughtful and meaningful choice about where you want to go next in your career.
3.Everyone Needs Some R&R
There’s a reason Arianna Huffington left The Huffington Post to pursue her new business, Thrive Global, which is focused on health and wellness. In today’s world, it’s hard to make time for all our different responsibilities and take care of ourselves. No one is capable of functioning 24/7 without some downtime – and there’s a whole other part of downtime that’s more than sleeping!
Relaxation is critical to keeping your heart healthy and your immune system strong. Relaxation is also good for your memory and guards against depression.
No one wants to hire someone who seems super stressed, unhappy, and anxious. To be the best you can be in your job search, you want to be in good physical and mental shape.
4.Travel Increases Neuroplasticity
I know, this sounds scientific, right?! It is!
There is a ton of research out there that proves getting out of your everyday environment, and stretching yourself to do new things actually increases the neurons in your brain.
Neuroplasticity is the ability for your brain to create new pathways and connections that weren’t there before. The simple act of traveling increases neuroplasticity. These new ideas and connections can help you see potential opportunities with your job search you might not have thought about before. How great is that!?
5.A Vacation Gives you a Boost of Energy
Most of us are more productive and engaged at work when we get back from a vacation (hey, at least for a few weeks!). If you’re lacking the motivation and drive to get cracking on your job search, then a vacation might be just the catalyst you need to kick your butt into gear on figuring out your next steps.
Feel a bit guilty about taking off on vacation when you feel like you should be job seeking? Come up with a list of things you want to do when you return from your vacation, and I’ll bet you at least $10 (go ahead, take me up on it!) that when you return home from your getaway, you’ll have more motivation, energy and enthusiasm to get to work. And if you need some ideas for the first things to tackle in your job search, check out this handy, free Job Search Training Calendar!
Think of your vacation as an investment in your future.
Emily Lamia is the Founder of Pivot Journeys, which offers career coaching, group programs, and organizational consulting to teams that want to build strengths-based cultures that increase engagement, collaboration, and productivity.