The Value of a Gap Year or Break.

A gap year or extended time away from work is often about challenging the prevailing social messages of “live to work, work to live”.

I think the growing interest in breaks is part of a new and important societal focus on living life authentically from within rather than along the lines of what may be expected.

People I see in my practice are increasingly appreciating the fact that breaks offer an opportunity to interrupting old (often unhealthy) patterns and make room for a life with more creativity and adventure because embracing something new can build confidence, allow time for ‘inner work’ and sometimes healing.

Socially we’re going back to basics and valuing the richness of taking some time to go on an adventure, give back to the world or offer something to those in need. The benefits include a sense of being re-energised and invigorated as well as a capacity to tune into our curiosity, paving the way for wondering about something new. It may be a new thought, a new plan, a new revolutionary idea or even a decision to live life more according to your own tune.

Dreams and aspirations need to be followed for maturity. These dreams and ideas need to be balanced with living life healthily and cohesively but also need that little bit of “living on the edge” of our own self. The inner self develops with new input, it flourishes when experience comes from the outside in. Development of our new self is what we call “living”. A gap year, a break or a pursuing of a dream is likely to create an inner experience of newness or completeness that then leads to a healthier more fully functioning emotional “self”.

Settling back is another transition. After this experience you will need time to reintegrate. You will need to take a few weeks to “change channels” and get back into the pace you are used to. When settling keep with you the things you learnt in your time off. Keep with you the moments you were able to be fully “present” just because you had the time. Claim those experiences as yours. Claim them because you created them and never ever let them go! Those moments are precious and by a break you made the space. You made the space to find a newer more alive “self”! 

Written by Melissa Ferrari

Psychotherapist 

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