'The power of a true break', a guest blog by Sally Shaw

“I’m the proud owner of Property Wise Launceston. A 34 year old mum of two, I’ve been in the retail industry since 2004, owning my boutique agency since January 2016. Outside of family and business I’m extremely passionate about fitness, health and supporting others in business - especially those struggling with the juggle of fitting in everything life has to offer.

I'm writing this guest blog fresh off the back of three weeks consecutive annual leave. ‘So what?’ I hear you say...

So what?! So AMAZING!!! It is absolutely AMAZING what this break did for me, especially mentally.

Let me give you some context...

I'm the type of person that, as an employee, if I took a sick day - I was on deaths door. I didn’t like to take annual leave in one large block as I felt I was letting my clients and my team mates down, burdening them and adding to their load (for those who aren’t sure how busy a property management roll is, feel free to spend a day in our office – it is hectic! And there’s immense responsibility to both clients and your team). But the ultimate context? Previous to this break I went at least 10 years without giving myself permission to take a true break.

Fast forward to now and as the business owner, I continue to put a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I also feel guilt. I should be at the helm, setting the example to the wonderful team. Definitely not relaxing in the tropics somewhere!

My 10 year old put it all in perspective for me...

The crunch finally came when my 10 year old daughter made a comment that she has never spent the school holidays with me and did I know that two weeks holidays was only 336 hours of time to find. (Stab me in the heart right about now!). I also noticed my attitude was slipping, at work and at home, I found I was constantly feeling under pressure, overwhelmed, putting in more and more hours but my output was definitely less which added to my frustration. Enough was enough. I needed a break. A REAL BREAK without access to work in any way so I could truly switch off.

So it was decided. The trip was booked.

10 days overseas and an additional week at home upon our return (504 hours to be accurate with Miss 10 and Master 2).

The time came to take my annual leave. I was anxious ensuring all of my work was done because I knew I had to leave and get on the plane with absolutely no access to my business until my return.

It took 2.5 weeks for me to really relax but when I did, it was THE BEST FEELING!

The change in me was visible!

My family especially could see the change in me, even just the colour in my skin – and no it wasn’t sunburn. It truly was the best feeling and also saw me return to work far more energised that I could have imagined. I proved to myself that my output wasn’t effective by being a slave at my desk nor a screaming banshee at home!

This has been hands down, the most important lesson I could have learnt at this stage of my business. If something as small as a break from work can improve my relationships, my health and especially my mental capacity, what else must it be improving that I can’t see/feel. I feel every person, be it as an employee, a business owner, a full time parent or carer, we all need a break and more than just 24 hours. We deserve it and we need it.

The crucial concept...

We all talk about self-care and know how this is important. We hop on an airplane and listen to the safety demonstration about fitting our own oxygen mask first, before we can help others. This concept is so crucial. If you don’t take care of yourself, your health, fitness and most importantly - your mental health, then the rest won’t really matter because you’re unlikely to be able to perform, let alone perform at your best.”

Sally’s top 3 tips

for taking an effective break

  • Just book the leave and cope with the feeling as they arise. The hardest part for me was to commit to the booking. I also chose to go overseas where I couldn’t as easily intercept my calls and emails, the point of a break is just that… that it’s 100% a break.

  • Talk about your feelings, especially with your employer and particularly if you feel guilty for taking leave. If they don’t help you with the steps to make it happen or make it such a process for you to take leave that you don’t even try… then perhaps it’s time to find another employer who understands you need a 100% break to be able to perform at your best.

  • Be present. 100% present where you are. Is that at work, at home, on holiday or on social media? Wherever you make the conscious choice to be, be 100% there. Trying to multitask may see you achieve very little of anything and add to the feelings of overwhelm.

A big thank you to Sally for sharing her story and inspiring our readers to be proactive in taking a true, 100% break!

I asked Sally to come on board as a guest blogger after watching her very passionate and candid Facebook video about the benefits of her three weeks leave. You can watch Sally’s original video here. I hope you enjoyed Sal's guest blog! If you're on a roll and want more blogs to read then head here.

Ciao, Steph

p.s. I hope you found this blog helpful on your personal success journey. If you have any questions or comments on the blog or if you want to learn how Personal Success Coaching can help you then I’d love to hear from you!

p.p.s You can check out the amazing work Sally and her team do at Property Wise Launceston via there website, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram accounts.

Author: Steph Edmunds

Certified Professional Life Coach

Steph Edmunds is SESC's incredibly passionate, well experienced Certified Professional Life Coach based in Launceston, Tasmania - coaching clients across Australia and the world. You can contact Steph directly to make coaching inquiries, sign-up for a dose of Monthly Motivation direct to your inbox or Follow SESC on Facebook or Instagram.