I have just finished week 5 of my leave of absence without pay.
As expected, I am much less stressed. An interesting side effect (and definite bonus, in my opinion) is that I do not feel the need to veg out. The common state I experience while working. Weekends and holidays were never periods of leisure for me – they were periods of recovery. I have long noticed that it took me 5 to 7 days to fully unwind from work. Only at that point did I start to indulge in leisure.
A key component of vegging out is doing something which requires no user participation - watching TV, endlessly browsing the Internet for mindless diversion, or keeping up on the latest news (political, technological, entertainment, gossip, whatever). So, my ‘Danger Man’ DVD collection goes unwatched – I am certain that had I been working, I would have finished watching it by now.
On the positive side, I spend more time with my family, read more to the kids. It is a nice change to have the kids fighting over me to put them to bed (instead of running screaming to their mother).
Being a stay-at-home parent is not a holiday, but it allows me to enjoy life more. I am glad I have the opportunity to spend time with my son before he heads off to school in September (my daughter has already been in school for two years).
An interesting insight I gained from the book is that recovery time is not the same as leisure time. I have long know that I spent most (usually all) of my non-work time recovering rather than “playing”.