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The Unexpected Sabbatical - how to make the most of it at home

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Well... Here we are. A global pandemic. Panic. Fear. Confusion. It's everywhere.

I'm sitting here in 'social isolation' in my home in Amsterdam. My travel has been cancelled. Projects have been delayed. Meetings cancelled. Priorities have shifted as we all grapple with the rapidly changing COVID-19 world. Most of us have huge amounts of uncertainty - for our companies, our jobs, our health, our families.

For a lot of people, remote work is not an option - Airline cabin crew, retail staff, hospitality workers, event staff. Right now, many are out of work having to simply wait until jobs open up again. For some people work is drying up and the future looks scary.

So what do you do if you find yourself in an Unexpected Sabbatical? Locked up at home, with financial pressure, unable to travel or even enjoy normal daily life. I get it. It's really not ideal. It's not even what we'd want to call a sabbatical. But it's where we are.

Maybe you are

  • Stuck at home, with no work, trying to figure out how to put your time to good use

  • Working remotely but seem to have time on your hands now and want to explore your options

  • Worried an Unexpected Sabbatical is in your future and you want to plan for it

I usually help people design their dream sabbatical when we don't have these extreme conditions, but there are always constraints. Compromises have to be made - time, money, activities. We can't do everything.

Sure, there are some constraints now, so let's look at what you can do at home to put your time to good use.

Creative projects - Write that book you always dreamed of. Start that artistic project you never had time for. Enjoy cooking meals with no time pressure. Play music or write your own songs. I love some of these creative project ideas to get the right side of your brain firing! Try your hand at something new. Anyone for origami?

Learning - Time is what you need when you want to really dive into personal development and now, you have time! Devour your reading list, Learn online. Complete the certification that will boost your career. Learn a new language. Check out these online learning sites - you really can learn anything online! Focus on what will help you in the next phase of your career and life - dive into it! Anyone for coding classes?

Enjoy time with family - Spending time with family is one of the top priorities for sabbaticals. Now is no different. Use the time together by looking for ways to do things you enjoy together. Puzzles and games, rainy day projects, get out into nature (if you can), exercise together, teach each other new skills. Check out these great ideas for how to spend time with kids at home. Anyone for knitting???

Helping others - volunteering while on sabbatical is always popular and injects a huge sense of purpose and fulfilment into the experience. Look in your own community to see where or who you can help - either online or by (safely) supporting a neighbour. Call or write to someone in need. Check out these great online volunteering opportunities. Lend a hand where you can. Anyone for Facetime?

Need some help?

Let's have a brainstorming session on how you can make the most of an Unexpected Sabbatical. It's a free one-on-one, 30 min call with me to kick around some ideas. I'm doing this because I also have time. I want to help and I want to find the silver linings. So let's do this together! I love talking about anything to do with sabbaticals!

On the call we can also look at:

  • Where you're at now in your life and career and where you want to go

  • What would help you get there and what you can start now

  • Brainstorming ideas that will keep you moving forward

  • Acknowledging the fears and barriers that might be holding you back

Book your free 30 min call with me and we'll help you make a plan.

As always, connect with me on LinkedIn to follow the stories and if you know someone who would benefit from this, feel free to pass it on.


Beyond a Break uses the power of sabbaticals to help people and companies recharge and thrive. Step back. Recharge. Leap forward.


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