Taking a vacation when there’s nowhere to go

As many of us work remotely, the lines between work time and personal time are blurred—you might struggle to “disconnect” from work when your office and home are the same place. We may even take fewer sick days this year while we’re not in an office to share the flu virus.

“The pandemic may discourage you from using your holidays this year, but taking time away from work to refresh and recharge is more important than ever,” says Wayne Patterson, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Human Resources). “Scheduling time away, whether a day or two at a time, or a week or more, can help you maintain resilience and a healthy work/life balance. Taking a vacation contributes to more engagement, productivity and satisfaction at work.”

And when you schedule a vacation, make every effort to honour that time. Make arrangements for your duties to be covered during your absence, or hold off on tasks that can wait until you return. Our normal vacation use policy applies during the pandemic.

Ideas for time off

While many of us dream of a beach vacation in the middle of Albertan winters, we all need to get a little creative this year.

  • Take a genuine “reading week”, and catch up on all of the novels you’ve been eyeing on your bookshelf. The UAlberta Virtual Book Club recommends From the Ashes: My Story of Being Metis, Homeless, and Finding My Way by Jesse Thistle
  • Brush up on your ability to think and speak critically about science with the U of A’s new free online course in science literacy.
  • Tackle your to-do list. If you feel like your work is taking over your home life, spend a few days reclaiming your peace of mind.
  • Play outside. Enjoy some outdoor leisure activities while maintaining the recommended safety protocols before we hit the 40 below days. The Alberta government suggests taking the opportunity to visit local hidden gems while limiting new people you will be in close contact with.

Reading Week from November 8 to 14 is often in sync with school holidays, providing a week to spend with family and friends free from our university responsibilities. Speak with your manager about taking some time for yourself.