Step two: avoid stuffing anything else extra into your time off. like thinking.
Step three: why are you thinking?
My symptoms began innocently enough. Irritability, anergia, hypersomnia, anhedonia, dysthymia... my mind began wandering to greener pastures. Suffering from sheer exhaustion and lack of patience, my thought process turned on me and I began to envision finding a new place of work.
For as long as I can remember, I've employed a certain sense of all-or-nothing to cope, or otherwise entangle myself in what I perceived as proactivity.
Just go on a diet? Not enough. Let's try loosing weight while stopping smoking, and throw in a new radical haircut to deal with, too. Frustrated with work? Why not look for a new job while going back to school, joining a few committees, and plan a move out of state, too!
The latter plan of action is exactly what I employed to being about change.
What am I, nuts? Don't answer that.
For some time now, I have been estranged from my spouse due to his work obligations. We have endured the separation by frequent visits and thrice daily phone conversations, but recently have been hoping and/or planning to regroup sooner rather than later.
Where he resides offers more opportunity for professional growth - and a higher rate of pay - yet the cost of living and general frustration are out of control. Sounds like a good option so far, right?
As luck would have it, one potential employer I had my eye on advertised an opening that got the ball rolling. (that would be the little red ball in my head that spins around on a hamster wheel)... I spoke with the recruiter, who was so very interested and so very encouraging she suggested I consider the next level of responsibility (supervisory!) and booked me an interview complete with shadowing for half a day and lots of anticipatory angst. This was to take place at the tail end of my vacation; I intended to cut my beach-time short by two days to attend the meeting.
The next few weeks were fraught with worry and planning, browsing rental property, preparing the resume and references, shopping for "the" outfit that would be just perfect to land the position, reviewing successful interview techniques and pondering how best to pack up ten years of crap and whether to sell this place or rent it out. That is just how delusional I am. On the one hand I know that a single interview does not mean I'm going to GET the job, but, you know, what if? I found myself drifting away at my present job, emotionally separating myself, subconsciously letting go and forcing myself to not drop too many hints of intention. Add to that the fretfulness about performance and compatibility, and did I really think I could do this job, it's a huge leap, was I ready, is it too much, ad nauseum...
As it turns out, someone with the power to HIRE, not just recruit, reviewed my experience and called me just a day before I left for vacation. Would I consider applying for the lesser position available? The supervisory position availability was kinda "iffy" from the get-go, she said, they preferred to staff it from internal resources, and maybe I would feel more comfortable as a staff nurse. It's like she read my mind. Yes, perhaps the level I option would be more in my comfort zone, but.... the salary structure was not what we required to make the move. We would barely be able to exist in that metro area, we'd have to find a place out in the sticks, and I was not looking forward to a two hour commute each way. I decided to cancel the interview, and told them I appreciated their consideration, in a "keep the door open" kind of way, and they will hold onto my information for a year just in case I change my mind.
My vacation was so much more enjoyable. Rather than thinking about the maybes, I focused on the present, and completely vegetated while working on my tan. We fished, we packed our cracks with sand, we ate at restaurants (actual sit-down-and-be-served places!), and I didn't even wear my watch the entire time. We had no plans, no obligations, nothing to worry about except the SPF15 not holding out. It was AWESOME, and just what I needed to gain a little perspective. Upon my return, people commented on how relaxed I looked, and that I was positively glowing (the SPF15 did not hold out, I'm sorry to say).
All in all, I'm refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready. Bring it.