I Took PTO During COVID. It Was Amazing.

Staying home does not mean you can't vacation.

I took two days of paid time off last week and it was so fantastic that I am writing my first ever article for Thrive about the experience to hopefully inspire you to do the same.

This pandemic has permanently changed (and taken) so many lives. I’ve felt incredibly blessed on a personal level these last few months, that I am in perfect health and so are all of my loved ones. I got married on March 7, so the week before lockdown started, I got to see almost all of my and my new husband, Zach’s, friends and family, and have recent photos of all of us together. Even our apartment in New York, which we love, yet left at the end of March to quarantine with my mom in Arkansas, was recently memorialized in all its 350-square-feet of glory. The hardest COVID-related loss for me personally is that one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Lucky Strike, has closed.

But for the last two months, I’ve grieved for others. I’ve felt the need to step up, both in friendships and at work, because COVID is causing unprecedented chaos and trauma in the lives of people I care deeply about. Taking personal vacation time has honestly been the last thing on my mind.

Until I decided to do it! I took two days of paid time off last week and was completely out of touch for four days. I totally agree with Will Schwalbe, who famously said, “The greatest gift you can give anyone is your undivided attention,” so as I approached Zach’s 41st birthday and Mother’s Day, I thought to myself, Libby, you should really unplug and celebrate these legends! You would be lost without them! And y’all, I am here to tell you: staying home does not mean you can’t vacation.

My colleague Jessica Hicks wrote in her recent piece, “As work-life boundaries continue to blur, taking a break is more important than ever before.” But it’s harder now than ever to plan a fun-filled few days off, so below are a few things I did and photos I took during my time unplugging with my family.

My favorite photo is of this plaque my mom has literally screwed into the wall of her cabin as you enter the front door, with a quote by Walt Whitman: “We were together. I forget the rest.”

A few things I did during my time off that I highly recommend:

Me and Zach on his 41st birthday.
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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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