Do you think it’s time to disconnect, to make a change in your life? Maybe you need a gap, also known as a sabbatical year. Here we explain the best time to take a sabbatical, its benefits, how to plan it, and how to come back after an extended period of rest.
Do you feel in this situation, and do you think the time has come to disconnect, to take some distance? Maybe you need a sabbatical year. Here we explain the best time to take a sabbatical, its benefits, how to plan it, and how to come back after an extended period of rest.
Gap year: when is the right time?
The best time for a gap year is when you feel it’s time, tautological though that may sound. In the first instance, it need not arise from a rational decision. You could compare it to a crush in love: it’s like a pang, a need for catharsis, something you feel you must do.
Now, once you have a crush, you have to give way to reason and evaluate the options available to you to take a prolonged break, especially financially, family, work, etc. Although there is no specific stage to take a sabbatical year, certain situations indeed favor this decision:
- After finishing studies. That transition period between two student stages or before starting in the labor market can be ideal times for a sabbatical year.
- After a layoff. A sabbatical year after a setback at work can be the perfect way to redirect your career.
- A relationship crisis. If you’ve ended a relationship, a gap year can help you move on.
- A routine life. There’s no better way to spice up a dull life where everything has become a boring routine than a gap year.
- A health problem. Sometimes illness forces us to rest. After a recovery period, it is more appealing than ever to get out there and break the routine.
The advantages of taking a gap year
Of course, taking a sabbatical is not something to be decided lightly, and if you have doubts, it is expected since there are not many opportunities in life to take an extended break. But if you look at these advantages, you’re sure to be encouraged:
Improve your education
A sabbatical year does not have to mean turning your back on training. On the contrary, there is no better way to learn a language than by spending some time abroad. Moreover, platforms like PaperHelp help you maintain your student achievements from any location in the world. Alternating studies with travel is one of the best ways to make the most of a year away from home.
For many, a gap year is synonymous with travel. And travel is synonymous with discovery, with learning. There is no better way to distance ourselves and rediscover ourselves than traveling. And if what you want is to turn the page on a more or less traumatic event, the trip will allow you to do it more quickly because you will not have time to think about it too much. You will have enough time to live the trip.
Getting some distance
A gap year allows us to visualize our life from another point of view, less dizzying than our usual routine. You will discover things about yourself that you did not know, immersed as we were in all that vicious circle of responsibilities and monotonies. A season of rest can refound a life directing us towards the path we want to travel. Or not, you never know. But at least you will have tried.
Meet and help others
Having more free time will allow you to enjoy others, both your friends and family as well as new people. And don’t forget that one of the best ways to spend a gap year is to participate in a volunteer activity. For most people, it’s an experience they will remember for a lifetime.
And speaking of experiences, the gap year means unforgettable months full of unusual experiences. Because taking the subway day after day to get to the office is not a memorable experience, no matter how much you love your job. Just changing your routine and embarking on a sabbatical year is an experience to remember.
Taking control of your life
Ultimately, a gap year offers us the chance to take back control of our lives, often delegated to other people who have a decisive influence on our day-to-day lives: parents, partners, bosses, etc. A gap year puts you in front of yourself, back in total control of your destiny. It’s up to you to choose the proper steps to take.
How to plan a gap year?
Despite its many advantages, taking a sabbatical year has undeniable risks, especially financially. Therefore, as we said, the initial catharsis of determining our sabbatical year must be followed by a few days of reflection and some preparation.
It is necessary to remember that a sabbatical year can be of a few months, adapting its extension to our circumstances. Let’s say that there are sabbaticals for ‘all budgets,’ so you should adjust your activities to your budget during this time of active rest.
Although it is not about changing one routine for another and that one of the undeniable charms of the sabbatical year is the surprise, minimum planning of what we are going to do is essential to take advantage of the time. And finally, remember that you are in control and that, if you get tired of the gap year, nothing prevents you from returning to your routine ahead of time: a gap year should never become just another ‘obligation’.
And after the gap year, what next?
The worst part of the gap year is usually the return to routine unless you want to stay on sabbatical all your life, which is also an option.
Just as it happens to musicians when they go on tour, returning home can be the prelude to a sad and melancholy period, even close to depression. But don’t worry, it’s a logical feeling after a very intense period.
Little by little, all those experiences lived during the past months will strengthen the foundations of your new life, and you will feel that you are ready for anything.