Briefing Notes: On a Wellness Sabbatical, Disconnecting is Not Required

Published: September 13, 2020

The 39th | a Longevity Edition


Wellness sabbatical. It’s a thing. And some say a groundbreaking concept.

We’ve all heard the common instruction to fully disconnect from work when we take those precious one or two weeks off. And who’s not familiar with the tsk, tsk, tsk and the shaming looks thrown our way when we pull out our laptops and tech devices while on vaca.

The advice to disconnect from technology has long been trumpeted by doctors, parents, and well-meaning people in the wellness space. But the reality is that for many, this is no longer viable.

Here’s where the concept of a wellness sabbatical comes in.

Think three weeks (or longer) of focusing on your health and wellness—enough time to make lasting lifestyle changes. One HUGE difference from the usual wellness offerings tho’: You get to take along your smartphone or laptop to stay connected with your work. In fact, devices are welcomed!

The need to strike a balance between the pursuit of wellness and the need to work is the central concept of the wellness sabbatical.

A wellness sabbatical acknowledges that our time for recharging has gotten shorter and shorter over the years because of the need to work.

We’ve gone from 3-week vacations to one-week getaways, to half-day spa retreats. And would you believe, express versions of the quick spa dash are in vogue too now? Talk about a contradiction in terms.

The overworked bee is getting less and less applause. Research shows working more than 55 hours a week results in an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and premature death. The Japanese even have a word for death by overwork: Karoshi.

The idea behind a wellness sabbatical is to experience the ideal personal balance of work and wellness pursuits. It’s not meant to be a short break from work where we forsake everything work-related for a few days, only to get back to it with frenzy.

It’s easier to make healthy lifestyle choices when unhealthy choices are less available.

Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones, with over 20 years of research and study in places with the highest numbers of centenarians, says this:

“Instead of seeing a long, healthy life as a goal that required discipline, effort, and a prescribed routine, people in the blue zones found it occurred almost naturally; it flowed from their surroundings. In these places, it seemed, the healthy choice wasn’t the deliberate choice; it was the unavoidable choice.”

Bottom Line

Thriving requires a balance of work and wellness. The best ROI of a well-planned wellness sabbatical is that we’ll be able to see — thru experience — how achieving this balance really is doable even after the sabbatical has ended.


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  • What to do when hygge no longer works. Hygge to the Danes means coziness and feelings of wellness and contentment. But even Danes have rainy days. What to to then when you can’t turn to coziness for help? Enter the magical word, pyt.


“A strength is what you do that makes you feel strengthened.” Boom. So it’s not necessarily what you’re good at or what you’re capable of—it’s what feels amazing when you do it. Ergo, a weakness is the stuff you do that makes you feel weakened.”
— Danielle LaPorte, The Fire Starter Sessions

Have you got a project (a new podcast, a new website, a new product, service, artwork, what have you) that you would like to get featured here? Hit ‘reply’ and tell me about it. Let’s support each other!


The Fire Starter Sessions
by Danielle LaPorte

An apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing practical guide to defining success on your own terms. We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

You’ll find this and other book notes here.


We’ve all heard about the Roomba and its siblings that vacuum and mop the floors for us. How about a robot that carries our groceries for us? Not just inside the grocery store. But like, outside. On the street or wherever we are. Actually it can carry anything for you and will follow you around. Cool right? You can buy one now… for about $3K. But that price point will go down as with all tech devices 😉. I’m lining up for this one.


… when we couldn’t wait to check the mail at the end of the day for that next DVD from Netflix? All this talk (in the US) about the state of the postal service made me think about those dark days before we had the gift of streaming. The dismay that would have resulted from delayed delivery of those DVDs! I remember watching Jack Bauer on ’24’ on those Netflix discs and I cringe now thinking what we would have resorted to had the mailman failed us. A trek to Blockbuster as a last resort?!?


🎙 If you’re interested in work that offers you flexibility, virtual assistant work may just what you’re looking for. It’s an interesting field of work because the definition of what the role encompasses is so varied. You can pretty much design it to be how you want it to be — the ultimate flexibility in work!

For this week and next, we’re peeling back the curtains to explore this world. The latest on the podcast is a chat with Janice Dalager, who became a VA in 2016 because she wanted to do work that would allow her to spend more time with her young daughter. She started as a freelancer and has since grown this to a small team of contractors that provide virtual assistance to a select clientele.

Listen to Episode 140 for the behind-the-scenes view of her work as a VA. Or read the show notes and highlights.


September is my favorite month of the year. Because it’s my birthday month 😊 When I was younger, I spent this time celebrating my achievements since the last go-round and announcing new mountains I’d like to climb next.

As I got older and especially these past few years, I find myself celebrating the things I’ve learned. How I’m just a little bit better than the last time. That’s the new goal. To be better than the last time. Even by just a tiny bit.

If you’re a fellow Virgo, Happy Birthday month!

Hit ‘reply’ and let me know what you’re thinking. Or what you’re watching on Netflix these days.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser

P.S. If you’re liking this newsletter and what to support it, you can buy me a coffee or two! 😊


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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