Filling All Of Our Rest Buckets

This past year has felt like it was a decade long. Last time I posted on my blog I had just wrapped up a three month sabbatical. I was relaxed, refreshed, and ready to start a new role on a new team here at Automattic. I had grand plans for blogging more, among other things, and I did – well none of it. A lot happened a lot in the past year, and a lot lies ahead for me which I’ll get to soon here on the blog. First though, I wanted to share one big thing I’ve taken away from this tumultuous time.

When I came back from sabbatical, I had largely used the time to recover from burnout. I’ve experienced burnout a couple times in my life now, and learned a lot about myself from each period I experience it and how to try to prevent it from the future. This time, I felt like I’d finally built some great habits, better boundaries, and would see it coming and stop it in it’s tracks!

Burnout defenses – meet a Global Pandemic

I won’t relive the events of the past year here. We all know the stories, and we all have suffered in different ways. Looking back over this time, how I’ve felt, how I want to feel, I realized that how I took care of myself before wasn’t clear enough to replicate in this weird moment in my life. What does this mean? Well, I wasn’t sure exactly until I listened to this podcast the other weekend.

Reflecting On My Sabbatical

Last week I returned to work at Automattic following a paid three month sabbatical. Yep, you heard that right. Everyone at our company is entitled to take a two to three month period off following their five year anniversary (which I hit at the end of November).

It’s an amazing benefit that I must admit I felt a bit guilty about taking. No one in my life has ever experienced or been offered such an opportunity.

At first I felt a bit lost about how to use the time. I’d arranged it to be at the holidays so sure, I had plenty of things on my to do list to keep me busy. But I felt like I should use the time to give back to others in some way because I was so fortunate to have the time. While I did find ways to help others where I could, I never ended up doing substantial volunteering like I thought I might. The time passed quickly due to the holidays, my son staying home sick a few times, work on our house we had planned, and a few small trips.

While I felt guilty about this at first, I realized I accomplished something far more needed at the time.

I put myself first for once.