When To Take A Mental Health Vacation


The term mental health vacation may be new for most, but it’s one that everyone should become familiar with.

Gone are the days of unused vacation time and “work martyrs” are becoming hip. With more employees and employers becoming conscious of mental health, unplanned vacations based on need and not based on time are becoming more normal.

Anyone with a job, particularly creatives who book projects based on what’s presented around seasonal work, may find it hard to schedule a vacation. Often, multiple schedules and current workload predicates vacation time when scheduled months in advance, timing may cause anxiety before and after the trip, making the vacation worthless

At 32 I took my first official mental health vacation, and it was a game-changer. Throughout my career, I pushed myself to the point of hospitalization for stress-related illnesses and I’ve also quit jobs because of overwhelming feelings that extreme loads of stress could occur, which led to my first mental health trip.

My mental health vacation was by a friend who works in academia and had been experiencing “compassion fatigue.”  They booked a one-way ticket to Puerto Rico and invited me to come along. The timing was terrible, but so was my mental state. I immediately booked the trip and within two weeks I found myself unplugged from work — the project turned out better because of my absence.

When you realize you are losing control of both your personal and professional life or you’ve spent a considerable amount of time operating in auto-pilot is when it’s time to go. The sooner you reboot the better you will become for those around you.