How to make the most of a sabbatical

Are you thinking about taking time away from work? Find out how you can make the most of a sabbatical.

An extended break from work can help you bounce back from or prevent burnout. A sabbatical can be an opportunity to upskill and learn something new, or a chance to work on a different type of project (like writing a book or making art). If you’re considering a sabbatical, here are a few ways to make the most of your time away.

Set goals

A sabbatical can be the perfect opportunity to work toward a new goal, whether you want to write a book, spend more time with family, create art, or travel. You don’t just have to just focus on one thing – that’s the beauty of taking time off! Identifying one or two things that you’d like to take away from your sabbatical can help keep you actively engaged and return to work feeling accomplished.

Consider upskilling

Going on sabbatical doesn’t mean you can’t keep working on your professional development. Consider spending some time learning a new technology or getting certified in a new tool or process that can help improve your prospects at work in the long term.

Certifications can cost money, so make sure you have a plan for how to cover the costs. You can tap your savings or even borrow against the cash value of a whole life insurance or universal life insurance policy to help pay for a short-term course or certification. Just remember, you’ll need to pay back what you’ve borrowed to ensure your death benefit is not affected. 

Learn a new language

A sabbatical can be the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a language you’ve always wanted to learn or practice your developing language skills. If you’re just getting started, there are apps that help you learn new languages using simple exercises, as well as basic video tutorials online. If you want learning a language to be the focus of your sabbatical, consider an immersive language program that lets you explore a new city while you learn a new language.  


Volunteer work can bring a sense of purpose and meaning to your life. Whether it’s teaching, building, community work, or even an extension of your professional skills – volunteering can help foster creative problem solving, leadership, patience, and empathy. You may even find yourself continuing to volunteer long after your sabbatical ends. 

Focus on your health

Health sometimes falls by the wayside when you prioritize professional success and growth. While it’s not possible to turn back the clock, it’s certainly possible to actively work on your health and build new habits. A sabbatical can be a chance to cook more fresh food, exercise more, or ensure you get as much sleep as you need.

You can also schedule a checkup with your GP and catch up on all the specialist visits you’ve been putting off. The key is to form those good habits now and maintain them once you resume work.