The Value of Seasonal Breaks

Angela Barbash
June 12, 2021

We have learned to bring the highest version of ourselves to our community, we must rest, recharge, and turn inward with regular devotion.

Leading a company dedicated to helping people align their wealth (all forms) with their values, to truly be the change they want to see in the world, is incredibly rewarding and important work. It is the kind of work that our team could jump out of bed to do everyday and never tire, if not for the natural limitations of our minds, hearts, and bodies.

While impact investing and values-based personal finance is fulfilling work, it takes a level of internal power-filling for each of us that can only be achieved through a high commitment to self-care and cross-team support. Every day we hold space for people’s need to be heard, their healing from financial trauma and personal struggle, the ecosystem’s intentions for justice, and the technical underbelly and prowess that drives our world toward a better future. If we did not practice self-care we would have burned out a long time ago.

How it works for us

For this reason, Revalue’s team embedded a practice of seasonal living into the very bedrock of our firm early on as a matter of good governance. We run hard from August through mid-December and mid-January through June, allowing us to work ten months altogether, taking one month off in the summer and one month off in the winter.

We dedicate half of each break to a quiet rest only we can define for ourselves and the other half to professional development through cross-training and self-study. These long stretches of time give us the chance to enter flow states, which we have seen proven time and again to unleash our most powerful and impactful creative work in the following season. It is our process for calming down and leveling up.

How you can do it too

Given our work and its relationship with financial markets, the news cycle, and critical personal finance needs it might seem unrealistic to take this much time off at once. For six years, however, we have proven that it is not impossible if given enough advanced planning and thoughtful intention. If you lead a company, or are self-employed, and are thinking of restructuring your work around the seasons here is some wisdom we can share.

Give yourself several days or a week to transition into and out of your breaks. Going from a high-speed treadmill pace to a complete stop can be mentally jarring. We used to jump directly from one pace to the other and we found that sudden switch on/off both before and after to be too distressing. Instead, we began closing down our external-facing calendar two weeks before the break so we can wrap up our work and internal meetings. When coming back we then take a few days to reorient before the world shows up on our calendar again.

Make sure you leave with no loose ends. If you go on break with unread emails, leftover tasks, or even a short wrap up to-do list you will have a hard time finding the peace and quiet you are seeking. Stay disciplined in the week beforehand and knock out those last items.

Be wary of over-booking your break. It can be compelling to see a long stretch of time on your calendar with nothing on it and imagine all the things you can learn, read, or accomplish. Soon enough, your self-care break may start to feel like you are running a half marathon. You may end it with feelings of guilt or despair for having not ticked all the things off your list and knowing you will not have much of a chance now that your calendar is back in full swing. Instead, consider taking it easy from start to finish.

Prepare your community. It is critical to communicate often and with plenty of time in advance about your seasonal living practices, so they do not feel blindsided. Revalue’s clients have come to truly appreciate our self-care rhythms, but we remember in our early days what happened when we did not prepare them as much as ourselves. It is important for them to know when breaks will happen and what to do if an emergency arises. It is typical for the first 4-8 weeks of our calendar to be booked with clients and other relationships upon our return because we are disciplined with identifying who needs service before and who can wait until afterward.

Develop an emergency system. If you work in an industry like ours, which is fast-paced and wrought with short-termism, it will be critical that you have a plan to handle the logistics of a break. For us, that means virtual assistants answering our phones, someone on the team being willing to take emergency calls from clients, vacation responders with clear instructions on everyone’s email, and a cell phone alert system to raise awareness about any potential market meltdowns. While it may seem that we are not really away with these practices, we can say that in six years there has only been one occurrence of a truly time-sensitive emergency during a break.

Hold the line. This is perhaps the most important pearl of wisdom we can share. The value of a discipline is only achieved when the practices are fully adhered to. If you commit to closing your calendar a week ahead of your break starting, stick to it. If you commit to not checking your email at all during the break, no matter how addicted you feel to that cortisol rush, stick to it. If you commit to reading just one book on your break and otherwise wandering around and staring at the clouds, stick to it. Whatever your version of self-care is during seasonal living, stick to it!

When we take the time to integrate our needs with our gifts, and our lives with the seasons, we open the possibility to be more present in our lives and to bring our highest selves to the world around us. Let us imagine a world where instead of fearing the difficulty of taking a break, we feared what the world would become if we did not take breaks. We hope this post sparks an inspiration in you to value quiet time like this as well.

Our timeline

Revalue’s calendar closes to clients and others after Friday, June 18th, to allow us two weeks to prepare for our summer break. During that final stretch, we will answer every email, client request, and important thing in our backlog so that no person feels unheard or unseen before we leave. Our official break begins Monday, July 5th and our calendar will reopen to the world on Monday, August 2nd.

If you would like to schedule time with us after our break, we welcome you to do so here.

Thank you and enjoy your summer!

Angela Barbash



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