By AJ Vallario

We’ve all been there – the deadlines, commuting, the 9-to-5 grind – toss in a global pandemic, and burnout is unavoidable. Now more than ever it’s important to recharge those batteries! 

We all have our favorite ways of getting away, of resetting. Mine? I love the outdoors. To me. there’s no better way to recharge than to completely unplug. That means no Internet, no cell service, and – most of all – no people. I recently took my yearly canoe trip down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This amazing trip took me though 92 miles of large lakes, small streams, and beautiful remote wilderness. With more sightings of moose than people, I couldn’t help but feel at peace. Waking up to the calls of loons rather than an alarm clock, enjoying a cup of coffee on a riverbed instead of in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and going to bed in a hammock on a brisk early fall Maine evening is just what I needed to get back to normal.

These days, truly getting away has become a real challenge. There’s too much temptation to check email in between tourist attractions, take a quick phone call from a customer, or pop in to check on the status of that lingering project. In this ever-connected world, disconnecting can be next to impossible. According to a 2018 INSIDER poll, 21% of respondents said they “always” monitor their work email on vacation, 23% “usually” check it, and 22% “sometimes” log in. Think about that for a minute. Two-thirds of respondents check in while on “vacation.” That’s why I find it imperative to take a vacation that forces me to disconnect. Check email, nope! Make a call? Can’t: there’s no service out there! 

“But what if I miss something important?” Well, there’s a reason you need to put on your oxygen mask before you can help the person next to you. Burnout prevents you from being your best, from being engaged, from being excited about your job. A recharged you is going to perform better. A recharged you is going to be a better coworker. A recharged you is going to be able to tackle the challenges a burnt-out you cannot.

So, take a week where you’re telling time not by looking at your cell phone but by looking at the sky. Between the fresh air and all that solar power you’ll soak up, you’ll be a new person after you spend some time in the outdoors, literally away from it all.

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