by Mira Reverente
If you are reading this, you probably know that all-too-familiar feeling of burn-out, being overwhelmed, overworked or being just over-everything.
If you are responding to emails long after the kids are in bed and fielding phone calls on the weekend during sports practices, it might be time to hit that pause button. Disconnect. Recharge. Take a break.
France was on to something with its new labor law making it illegal for workers to respond to emails and phone calls after work. It’s already on a 35-hour work week with six weeks of annual paid leave. Hurray to France for leading in the work-life balance movement!
Right after working on two large projects and right around the time the school year ended for my daughter, I did just that. My inbox was overflowing. My to-do-list was a mile long. I was tired, cranky and dragging my heels with other things that needed to be done quickly. Or so I thought. What I realized was that some things can wait.
So we packed our bags and drove over 1,600 miles to camp, hike and disconnect from this big, noisy world.
Guess what? We both loved it.
Here’s why disconnecting and hitting the pause button can be good for you:
Simple is good. From cooking basic meals to getting to places, you realize you can make do without gadgets. I was so proud of my daughter for knowing how to read maps (yes, those paper ones you get from AAA and the National Park Service) and directing us to where we needed to go.
You have more time to talk to people. From late-night chats under the stars to actually conversing with strangers on a hike, you are not hiding behind a gadget checking your newsfeed or tweeting. My best conversations with my daughter took place in a two-person tent, in a quiet campsite. No interruptions. No warnings to “Turn off that TV now.”
You’ll develop a heightened sense of awareness. Without electronic distractions, you pay more attention to your surroundings. Sure, the gigantic pine trees were incredible, but we actually learned their names, distinguishing traits and where they thrive. We learned the names and hometowns of everyone we met and hiked with. We paid attention to sounds in the forest and at our campsites, staying alert for wildlife.
You’ll come back with a deeper appreciation of what you have. Not everyone can hit pause. We have families to take care of and work obligations to fulfill. So if you are able to disconnect, relish every minute and be thankful you are able to do it.
You’ll come back refreshed, reenergized and ready to tackle the world again. Need I say more?
So do it. Whether it’s two days or 12 or 32 days (lucky you!), take some time to hit pause every now and then. That email can wait.
Mira Reverente is associate editor of CVH and a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in many local publications. Her first book on money came out last fall. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more money savviness tips or check out her new blog.