Is it Time for a Staycation?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

This time of year, in a typical year, most of us start thinking about our summer vacation plans. It’s popular to travel to places both near and far so we can get away from our work. Getting away is what we desire so we can downshift and focus on people and things other than our work. During a pandemic, we can forget just how important vacation time is to our wellbeing – and the wellbeing of our family and coworkers.

During a pandemic, traveling becomes both dangerous and impractical. This is another disruption in our lives that can rob us of what we need most – relaxation from our stress and fears. A staycation is the appropriate substitute that we all still need. Leaders especially must both take staycations and encourage others to do so.

When we are in crisis-mode, we work harder, sleep less, remain stressed longer, and eventually become ineffective. Burnout ensues. However, it is a different kind of burnout that may go unnoticed if we are not careful. Crisis induced burnout is often primarily a mental burnout. I have known people in great physical condition who have burned out during stressful times in their lives. We need to inoculate ourselves from burnout with a staycation.

I finally realized – as those closest to me did – that I was experiencing moments of mental burnout. I had been going nearly nonstop since the crisis erupted. Knowing how to respond in a crisis situation, I immediately took actions to increase my self care. I can honestly say I am in great physical shape and my health is the best it has been in a long time. However, I was not getting actual mental downtime. After a while, even the most healthy and active life choices will not save you from mental exhaustion. Getting away has been my answer in the past. I know when I need a vacation. Vacation during this period of time has to be a staycation. But, I must – and I am – taking staycation days over the coming weeks and will do so at times throughout the summer.

Why? Because if I do not, I will become totally ineffective. This hurts all those around me. As a leader and responsible husband and father, I must take care of my mental health so I don’t hurt others. Self care is responsible action.

Are you starting to feel the impacts of the crisis on your mental stamina and health? Do others indicate that you look worn-out and fatigued? Is this taking a toll on you and your relationships? Are you ready to take action? Now is the time – and throughout the summer months ahead. Also, when you do take staycation days, as a leader, you are encouraging others to do the same thing. All of us need will need to staycation.

While I am on my staycation, I will not spend my day in the daily grind that I have been experiencing for nearly three months now. I am committed to being a good leader throughout this crisis and that compels me to take action to guard my mental health from burnout. Please take staycations for yourself so you can serve others effectively. We need you at your best to fight COVID-19 and to reopen our economy safely.