Time off work is a wonderful thing, but it can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. My brother recently came home on leave after almost two years of training as an Air Force air traffic controller. It’s funny watching him experience the same trials and tribulations that I used to go through while I was on leave.
Thirty days of paid vacation each year is one of the great perks of being in the military, assuming you ever actually get the time to use it. The problem is, especially for young service members, coming home means coming back to all the things you left behind. Your friends are still doing the same things, your family wants to spend every waking moment with you and sometimes it feels like you never left at all.
This isn’t always a good thing.
I remember when I would come home on leave, my mom would always make my favorite meals: biscuits and gravy with fried potatoes, homemade macaroni with ham steak, hot rolls, steamed broccoli and fresh cut pineapple or even just a slice from the local pizza joint. I remember how much I used to look forward to these meals, as well as a whole other assortment of impossibly delicious food that I could only dream about while deployed.
The problem is that while that sounds good, when every meal turns into this sort of fanfare, after a few days your stomach is screaming for a break. And it’s not just the food.
I remember the pressure to party and drink every night with all my friends from before the military was relentless. To be fair, it wasn’t like they had to twist my arm or anything, but again, after about a week, my check-liver light would come on and pretty much stay on for the rest of my time back home.
This kind of gluttony does not leave you feeling rested and reinvigorated when you return to your job. I always felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation when I came home. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay sane while on leave:
If I could summarize my advice to anyone coming home from the military (and this goes double for you, brother), it would be to take it easy. In the military, you’re constantly running a breakneck pace from one objective to another. On leave, the mission should be to rest, relax and recharge your batteries.
Your mind, your body and your wallet will thank you for it.
Photo courtesy of Arvee5.0.