Sarah Stultz: Time off does body and mind some good

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

As I finished making the newspaper last Tuesday night, I got in my car and could feel a smile begin to spread across my face.

Life has been extra crazy this year, and as we are still one journalist short at the newspaper, it has been difficult to take time off for an extended period. Knowing, however, that I had some vacation time to use before the end of the year and it was the same time as the MEA break, I figured it would be a good time to take off for a few days.

Though I had some projects I was hoping to get done, for the most part, I had no plans — and I couldn’t have been happier.

Sleeping in three days in a row without waking up to an alarm clock, not paying attention to my email, taking a nap at my leisure and watching multiple episodes of a show in a row are all things I sometimes get jealous of when I hear of other people who get to take part in these things regularly.

In the world of 24/7 journalism, it’s hard not to be “on” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s night meetings to cover, crimes or fires that happen at inconvenient times, elections that last into the wee hours of the night, evening rehearsals and weekend events. That’s the nature of the industry and an unspoken pledge I took when I became a journalist 15-plus years ago.

Though it is honestly difficult to walk away from it sometimes, to have a few weekdays where I could shut that off as best as I could was valuable.

While I didn’t get any of my projects done, I completed several of the other tasks on my wish-list, including sleeping in, taking a nap on two of the days and even catching up on some favorite shows.

While on some people’s  terms it might have been considered uneventful or even a waste of my vacation days, it must have been what I needed because it felt great. My mind, which is normally running in every direction, got to slow down.

Let’s be real — I still checked my email for urgent needs and cleared out the junk mail, but for the most part it was set aside.

And most importantly, I got to spend one-on-one time with my son.

It was a good reminder of the importance of taking care of myself so that I can continue to take care of those I love.

It’s OK to slow down, and it’s OK to take a break.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.