What does a sabbatical cost?

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What does a sabbatical cost?

As we continue our blog series about some of the reasons people don’t take a sabbatical, I am going to explore the potentially tricky topic of the assumed costs or money required to take a break from your life.   

The cost of things is subjective and is laden with privilege and power so I want to approach this topic with some sensitivity. Especially during this past year of the pandemic, the impact of the restrictions and the virus has been inequitable and affected those with less financial security disproportionally.  

Money is important. You need to feed our families and we all make choices on what we do with the rest of our money. Do we save it or buy a new outfit? As we plan for retirement, we want money to live now and to ensure we have enough for the future. As well, there is also no guarantee that we will be around and/or healthy to enjoy it after we retire. How can we make choices that prioritize what is important while keeping the whole picture in mind?  

This creates a bit of a scarcity mindset in life which adds to the stress. There never seems to be enough money or time. If you go back to our posts on time [here and here], you will see the similarities in how your life values and priorities should guide how you spend your money. If you don’t prioritize rest, you will never have the money (or time) to do it. Scarcity is exhausting so another question is what would you pay to have your good life and what would make it worth it?  

Now, let’s talk about money and the costs of a sabbatical. It can range from a year-long break with travel and high-end experiences (post-COVID) which could run into the $10,000’s or it could be taking a week retreat in your basement with specific intentions and would only cost caregiver fees. As you can see, you can create the scope and breadth of a pause that works for you. The price of a sabbatical is really up to you. 

The cost is often not just the price of paying for a sabbatical but potentially the loss of wages from taking time away from work. However, a growing number of companies are realizing the benefits of employees taking a sabbatical so check and see if your company’s HR policies have sabbatical or leave policies that can be used. Alternatively, as an employee, you should have vacation days. By planning intentionally, you could use your allotted days to create and plan with a sabbatical lens and approach.  

It also comes down to what you want the sabbatical to be when you take one. There are benefits to all the different forms of sabbaticals but for most people, they need rest. For me, my first week of sabbatical found me sleeping in a hotel room on the other side of the country because I didn’t know how much rest I needed at the time. 

Now, if you wanted to have a taste of sabbatical at no cost, I recommend a technology sabbath. The book 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week by Tiffany Shlain provides a path to how her family decided to take every Saturday off from their tech devices. No costs there. Just a commitment to the pausing. I feel that after this past year of doom-scrolling, this is something I really want to try. Maybe I can share what I learn and where the challenges lie with you. 

In our next blog, we are going to look at other costs besides money and perhaps what the costs are of not taking a pause in life. Here’s a hint…overworking can cost you your health. 

Or perhaps, our Sabbatical Society membership may also be what you need to pause. Each month, members receive an email of digital exclusive goodies just for them. Check out the new prices for 2021 in our shop and you too can receive the monthly membership email full of goodness inviting you to pause, reflect, and enjoy life for a few minutes.  

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