With warmer days upon us and outdoor activities starting to add a boost to our moods and general wellness, I want to use this blog to remind everyone to plan for some safe, physically distanced downtime for yourself in the coming months. We all need vacations, even if these are staycations this year. (On the plus side, coming from the Maritimes, I highly recommend Saskatchewan in the summer!)
For some, days have been extra-long, as we strive to maintain the many organizational needs supporting education, research and clinical service during COVID-19. This type of schedule is not sustainable, as I’ve experienced firsthand. I realized recently that I was exhausted and needed to take some time away. I made the Victoria Day weekend into a four-day mini-vacation of sorts, complete with many hours of outdoor gardening. This was a significant construction project resulting in raised garden beds. The construction was fun—moving four yards of topsoil less so! But now, between online meetings, I can go outside and check on what seeds have germinated. In the last two days, Swiss chard and beets have started.
Other ways I’m enjoying downtime include doing more cooking for Jane and Marie on the weekends. While I have no races to train for, I continue to enjoy my running. And I frequently watch my grandchildren on FaceTime.
We’ve all experienced a high degree of change in how we work, whether working remotely or due to changes in healthcare delivery. There has been stress and change in other ways, including work slowing down or transitioning to a different focus. These realities understandably come with stress and uncertainty. Add to that the changes in our communities and economy, with closures and new requirements for simple things like getting groceries, and this year taking breaks that help us with stress management and escape are especially important.
I encourage our administrative staff and faculty to get away, whether by actually going away from home if you can do so safely, or by ensuring that you find ways to make home purely a place of relaxation for periods of time. Whether this is in the form of some extra, shorter breaks from work, or by stepping away entirely for a few weeks of vacation, we all need this balance.
I encourage everyone to plan for and commit to vacation and breaks from work, and ask supervisors to support their teams in planning for this. It’s all too easy to let the demands of work take over, but we really can’t be at our best when we allow this to happen. We are doing right by our employer, colleagues, families and ourselves when we effectively balance work with time off.
So, another beautiful, sunshine-filled Saskatchewan summer lies ahead. We have had a tough spring and we all deserve some peace and relaxation. For myself this summer, I plan more landscaping projects, including my hobby from back in New Brunswick of growing roses. (Wish me luck!) As well, I am buying new golf clubs and hope to golf more.
What are you doing this summer? I’d love to hear about your plans or ideas for time away from work!