How can a career break improve wellbeing?

By Kate Norris,
updated on Dec 20, 2023

How can a career break improve wellbeing?

The idea of taking a career break may seem daunting but research suggests it can offer numerous benefits, particularly when it comes to mental health and wellbeing 

England men’s rugby captain Owen Farrell is the latest public figure to announce he is taking a career break from international rugby to prioritise his mental health and wellbeing. The rugby star joins a growing list of celebrities taking temporary breaks, including singer Lewis Capaldi who announced he would be stepping back from music to focus on his mental health earlier this year.

Although career breaks can be considered an expensive luxury, temporarily stepping away from our jobs may have some significant benefits. In fact, research suggests that those who take career breaks not only benefit from lower levels of stress during their time off but also experience less stress after returning to work. Here, we explore the benefits of a career break and how taking one can boost mental health and support wellbeing.

Reduced stress and burnout

One of the most evident benefits of taking a career break is the chance to recharge your mental and physical batteries. Following a survey by Deloitte, nearly half of millennials and Gen Z respondents said they felt anxious and stressed "all or most of the time," citing that they found it difficult to step away from work. Taking a break can help to reduce the risk of burnout and demonstrate to future employers that you are self-aware enough to recognise your stress triggers and know when to take care of your mental health and wellbeing. 

Enhanced creativity

Stepping away from your usual routine can often fuel creativity and is a great chance to connect with your inner child. With no more impending deadline anxiety or Sunday evening jitters, taking a break is the perfect opportunity to explore new passions, engage in activities that promote wellbeing and experience the world in a more child-like and curious way. As a result, you can return to work with a fresh outlook, bringing forward a newfound sense of creativity and inspiration. 

New perspectives

By taking a break from your daily routine, or perhaps even your comfort zone, you can gain clarity and discover what truly brings you joy, happiness and satisfaction. When it comes to returning to work, having this renewed sense of self-awareness can often lead to more fulfilling career choices, a greater feeling of purpose and a more positive outlook on life.

Improved work-life balance

We all know the importance of work-life balance when it comes to wellbeing. A career break is a great opportunity to establish healthier routines, set boundaries, and prioritise self-care. You can use this break to maintain perspective, restore self-motivation, and develop habits that promote a better balance and mindset upon returning to work. 

It's no secret that taking a long absence from work can be an expensive luxury and may not be a sustainable option for everyone. It's important to talk to your employer if you are struggling, this could be discussing the option of taking a period of paid leave or looking at flexible working arrangements to help support your wellbeing. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional support either. Talking things through with a counsellor can help you understand and manage your worries and stress while connecting with a life coach can help you identify the right career for you, provide new perspectives and help you set some work/life balance goals.

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