The importance of taking a break when you’re self-employed

As the festive period draws to a close, many people are getting back to work and trying to get back into the regular routine. For many self-employed people, however, the festive break might not have been that much of a break! The uncertainty of self-employed life means many of us are unwilling to turn down jobs now in case they don’t come up again in future, and we often try to cram as much as we can into any available time. We get it, times are hard, but burnout is harder! If the thought of swapping work boots for slippers gives you anxiety, this may be the blog for you.

Preventing burnout

It can be tricky after a long year in work mode to convince yourself to unwind. What if something goes wrong? What if you miss out on a great opportunity? But here’s the thing – not taking time off can end up costing you more money in the long run. Research from the World Health Organisation shows that not taking time off work leads to burnout, which means having to take more time off than you would have done for a brief holiday! So it’s definitely something to make a conscious effort to avoid.

What is burnout?

Burnout occurs after periods of excessive or stressful work and can cause an extreme depletion in energy, which can take years to recover from. Since self-employed workers can be more at risk of burnout than their salaried counterparts, it’s even more important to make sure you keep on top of your work/rest balance.

What can be done to prevent burnout?

Rest, rest, and… REST! Health is wealth, so take some time to relax, reflect and recharge. It’s good to fit down time into your normal working week too, but nothing does the job quite like a proper break.

Time with loved ones

It’s very common to get into a routine where the days are spent more at work than with family and friends, but it’s so important to take a step back and prioritise time with the people who matter. After all, we rarely look back on life and wish we’d spent more time at work!

Breaks like Christmas are great opportunities to be fully present with those you love. This is what the festive season is all about, after all. For some people, your time might just be the best gift of all. If you didn’t spend as much time with the people you love over Christmas, maybe find some time in your diary to make up for that soon.

A break from routine

Working day in and day out can amass a lot of stress. Taking a break, where you completely switch off, can yield benefits throughout the following year. This means really checking out, though, and fully stepping away – so no checking work messages! This gives you a chance to relax both physically and mentally, which is good for your physical and mental health, which also means less days off at unplanned times!

This is also a great way to put work in context, and remember what’s really important to you in life. After all, what are you doing all this work for? It’s unlikely it’s just for the pure joy of working (unless that’s what floats your boat) – is it to provide for your family? To enable you to enjoy hobbies? To save for retirement? Whatever the things are that really matter to you, spend time with them now rather than waiting for an imagined future.

One of the best parts of being self-employed is getting to decide how much time you have off work, so we hope you find time to rest this year.

What did you do to unwind over the festive season? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram.


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