How to Prevent Burnout: The Extroverted-Introverted Approach to Taking Vacation

There are times when our responsibilities simply take over our lives.

In the past few months, I have worked hard to care for a parent that’s dealing with serious health challenges while simultaneously working full-time. I love my family, I’m happy to be a caregiver, and I love my job — but it was all taking a toll. After months of non-stop intense stress, I decided to take an extended vacation to recharge my batteries because I was feeling burnt out and knew I wouldn’t be able to help anyone if something didn’t change.

But how many times has it happened that you’ve gone on a vacation to recharge your batteries, yet you feel the same when you’re back? You feel as if you need a vacation because of your vacation?

I’ve felt this way countless times and knew something had to change. I had to recharge (for real this time) because people were counting on me.

That’s when I came up with a plan, which I would like to call the “extroverted-introverted approach to taking vacation”.

What does that mean? Let me explain.

I’m an extroverted introvert, which you can think of as a social introvert. I enjoy being around people and being social, but I need solitude and introspection to really recharge.

The extroverted-introverted approach essentially means dividing your vacation into two parts to fuel both the extrovert and introvert within you. It doesn’t matter how many days off you’ve planned for yourself. All you need to do is divide your vacation so you can derive two distinct benefits:

1. Recreation

2. Relaxation

Say, for example, you go on vacation for one week. Split up the week so that the first couple of days you make time for recreational activities like exploring the city, going to restaurants, socializing with people, etc. Do all that you love, so you don’t feel like you have missed out on something, and you can tap into the energy of what’s around you. Lean into your extroverted side.

The next few days, just relax. Enjoy the solitude. Let your introverted side take the lead and indulge in things that help you relax and rejuvenate. Read a book, take long walks (what I did on my vacation!), go to the spa, or simply order a scrumptious meal and binge-watch a tv show or several. Make time for the things you always want to do but can never find or justify the time for. Lean into your introverted side and see where it takes you.

By taking the time out to satiate the extrovert and introvert sides of your personality, you won’t return from vacation still feeling exhausted and craving another vacation or feeling like you wasted precious time away from work. It’s probably the closest thing to having your cake and eating it too.

And if you can swing it — I highly recommend taking at least two weeks off from work. I know the idea of taking two weeks off from anything often feels impossible, you can never find the right time and the thought “my company will implode if I’m away that long” will play on a loop in your brain, but honestly, TAKE THE TIME — everything will be okay. Previously, I’d never taken a vacation this long and while I had to do a lot of upfront planning, taking an extended vacation was worth it. Upon my return, I was able to show up as a better daughter, partner, cofounder, etc.

So, the next time you go on vacation, try this approach and see if it helps you recharge and replenish your energy levels.

If you feel the difference, please share your experience! I would love to hear from you and see if it works for others too.

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Jacques Anderson

Cofounder @DUOS, Harvard Law alum; Swiss Army knife; extroverted-introvert; Harlem-based