Sometimes You Just Need to Stop: 10 Reasons to Take a Break from Business | by Ruby McGuire

Person on sofa with laptop pausing in work for ideas and self-care

Life is such a rush these days that we barely stop to smell the flowers (or coffee, in my case!), never mind taking a whole evening or weekend off...

But in business, there are times to take massive action. And then there are times when "doing" isn't what you need to do. And if there's one thing relocating from England to Scotland has taught me, it's to slow down. Life is beautiful when you do, and you still get things done.

So below, from my own experience and reflection, are 10 reasons to take a break to help you in your business, even if they seem counterintuitive.

Here are 10 reasons to inspire you to take a break

1. Get new perspectives

Making time to play gives you a fresh perspective. Time away from focused effort is often when new ideas come up. You might be brushing your teeth, taking a shower, walking the dog or doing other low-key activities.

Neuroscience has now proven that certain parts of your brain are activated when you allow your mind to stop focusing on tasks: a "default network" kicks in when you're daydreaming, being silent, meditating and visualizing. This network fires up when you aren't focused on a task. The brain is still active, but it's a restful activity, and supports creativity.

Action: Take out your planner now and schedule some time for restful activity this coming week. Your brain and business will thank you for it.

2. Give yourself time to reflect (and celebrate)

Stopping gives you time to reflect. And reflection time allows you to figure out what's working for you—and what isn't. You learn what needs to change, be developed or stopped altogether.

Then, you can check in on your progress. You'll gain more control over your life and business because you've taken the time to stop and rethink things.

Taking action is one thing, but you must also celebrate your achievements before moving on to the next thing. It doesn't matter how small the step is. So remember to be proud of yourself—and celebrate too!

Action: Create a mini-reflection plan. What's working? What's not? What can you celebrate? What would you like to do more or less of each week?

3. Practising self-care helps you avoid burnout

It's easy to adopt self-care coping strategies when you're feeling burnt out. You hit the point where you know you have to take some "me" time. You then start throwing in some strategies to improve the situation quickly.

It might be "I'll read a book in the bath tonight—that will help." Or "I'll spend some time painting this weekend." It might work … for a while.

But then it's back to square one of pushing and pushing because you feel re-energized and ready to go again. Before you know it, you're caught up in a vicious cycle.

A coping strategy is not enough. You end up just doing all you can to get through a rough patch, when what you need is a maintenance plan.

Instead make self-care a ritual, something you repeat day in and day out: avoid getting into a negative spiral, catch big issues early and stay healthy and productive!

Action: Create a maintenance plan of self-care and do it every day.

4. Enjoy life more

Life is fragile. We've seen that in unprecedented ways over the past couple of years. It's time to stop trying to prove something to ourselves or others and get off the hamster wheel.

You need to be aware of what's happening. You may notice that you're physically in the room with people. However, you're not physically present because your brain is constantly in work mode.

Imagine you're sitting in your rocking chair in your 80s and looking back on your life. Nobody on their deathbed ever says they wished they'd worked harder!

Will you wish you'd made another post on Instagram, or will you be grateful you took a break and cherished precious life moments?


  1. Spend half a day or a day noticing how present you are in your interactions.
  2. Decide what needs to change once you get the data.

5. It's good for your health!

Physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being is all-important. Well-being—we all want to be "well beings," don't we? So why do we put off looking after ourselves? I guess it depends on our priorities at different times.

For example: When you're younger, you never think health will be an issue. As you age, you start to consider your body more and make better choices.

Being well can help you manage stress and the pressures of daily life. You're also nicer to be around if you've learned to manage your emotions.

Action: Choose one area of well-being to focus on—physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. Ask yourself where you could make better choices, and then make them.

6. Silence can bring solutions

Take time out to reflect and plan. Explore, strategize and then stop thinking about business entirely and allow yourself to BE.

Sometimes you need to step back and create some silence. As my client put it the other day, take time to listen to your voice instead of being there to listen to others.

If you don't sit still long enough, you won't know what new possibilities could come up for you. Sometimes doing more isn't even the right thing to do. You might be lacking motivation, inspiration and energy.

Taking a short break can help you come up with new insights. Let go of the need to constantly hustle, and choose to just be.

Action: Schedule some time to sit in silence. (I know, it can be SO difficult. I'm a high achiever, so I get it! It's worth it though...)

7. Your business won't fall apart

If you're feeling worn out, stressed out and burnt out, I see you.

I know you want to believe you're invincible and indispensable. However, as fantastic as you are, your business won't come crashing down if you're not there for a few days. So give yourself permission to clear the decks and take some time out.

Of course it's sometimes easier said than done. However, you will likely come back feeling more positive—with a renewed sense of energy and some fabulous new ideas.

P.S. If you need it, I'm giving you permission right now to stop.

Action: Block out one full day in your schedule just for you and do something completely non-work-related.

8. It may be time to let something/s go

Your business evolves. In the same way that you clean your house, letting things go in your business can reinvigorate you.

Some things in business aren't meant to last forever. They're the right thing at that point in time, and then they need to be released. So if you're finding yourself stuck, you might find that it's because you're holding onto things that you should be releasing.

While it's nice doing something for a while, it can also mean you're stuck in a rut. You're not stretching yourself on any level, which can limit your potential over time.

When you let go of the old, you allow the universe to send you beautiful new opportunities. You need to create the space for that to happen. Yes, it can feel scary letting things go, as it feels uncertain and uncomfortable. But as the saying goes: everything you desire is on the other side of fear.

Action: Write a list of areas in your business, and then go through them to find out what you've outgrown. It could even be clients. Then create a plan to let them go.

9. The "limbo" state can be useful

Sometimes being in a state of limbo and pausing can give you time to prepare yourself for the next stage. You can learn new things and recharge to prepare you for all the exciting opportunities ahead.

It gives you the space to reflect on your progress. What's good? What needs to change? What's coming up? What can you do about it?


 Allow yourself to be in a place of not-knowing.

  1. Consider how you could prepare yourself for the next stage when you're in this space.
  2. Go back to section 2 of this article if you want to create a mini-reflection plan.

10. Stopping gives you space to trust yourself

Stopping and doing nothing can be challenging. Often, being proactive seems so much easier.

Stopping takes trust. You need to trust that even though you're stopping, you'll be okay, and your business will be okay.

Action: Trust too that this next phase of your life will be scary, exciting, exhilarating and worth the wait. For now, you just need to hit pause and let it all unfold.


We can become so busy with life's hustle and bustle that we forget to replenish our energy. You wouldn't let your mobile phone battery die (although it may be very tempting)—you'd plug it in. So don't forget to recharge yourself.

Enjoy the calm before the fun and crazy time begins!

TIP: None of the above means you need to be invisible in your business. You've heard of scheduling and email automation, right?!

A personal post-script to this article

We become so accustomed as business owners to keep pushing and constantly creating new ideas; let's be honest, it's exciting being creative. However, sometimes you really do have to stop...

What happened is that shortly after writing this article, my doctor signed me off work for two months. I was terrified and relieved all at once: I knew I needed to stop for longer than a short break, but hadn't managed to make it happen!

What was interesting is that I had these big plans in my head: I could make more cards, learn to watercolour, bake, and spend more time in nature—all in the quest to get better.

But I couldn't stop thinking. I found it impossible to switch off from work. I was worrying about everything I needed to do and people I was 'letting down' and it took nearly a month for me to fully disconnect from work and start 'being'.

And then I had a really nasty fall which involved sutures and not being able to move very much due to pain in places I barely knew existed! The fall gave me vertigo—and suddenly I could do absolutely nothing, nada, not even reading. It was SO frustrating: I had all these big plans to be creative and take up new hobbies and it all went to pot!

I'm a doer and don't sit still for long. But now I had no choice! I couldn't do a thing without feeling like I was either blind drunk or on a rough sailing trip. So I laughed, cried, and ranted like a stroppy child: it's not fair; this was meant to be time out from my business to recover.

But instead, in that time, I had no choice but stop pushing. I learned to to notice in slow time all the things going on around me—the birds singing, the sky changing colour throughout the day, music.

In that time, I learned that life is incredible when you treat every moment as precious and slow down and live intentionally instead of talking about it happening 'one day'. And it taught me to stop focusing so much on the future with big goals; instead, I'm going more with the flow now.

So I hope you don't have to learn the lesson the way I did, but I do hope you take a few moments out of your day to think about what truly matters to you. It makes a world of difference and has completely changed how I live my life. And I'll be sharing more of that in a soon-to-be-started book!

If you liked this article, try these other articles, also by Ruby:

And you might also like: Balance & Self-Care: How Can We Do More for our Clients?


Contributing Author:

Ruby McGuire is a Business & Mindset Queen. She's an Accredited Master Coach & Master Mentor with the IAPC&M, Trainer, Inspirational Speaker and Author of multiple books. She loves helping her clients step up and become leaders (aka Queens) of their businesses. She helps her clients develop their leadership and business skills, create a success mindset and attract dreamy clients. She is a Brit on a mission to live a simpler life without marketing on social media so that she can spend more time in her beautiful Scottish surroundings. You can find her at her pretty online home, over on her podcast show, Rock Your Fabulous Biz, and here where she shares her Mini Guide to Marketing Without Social Media. When she’s not working you’ll find her surrounded by books, making hand-made cards, and enjoying life with her hubby, little dog and chickens (usually with a Whittard Vanilla cappuccino in her hand)!

Learn more about Ruby & see all their articles here >>

Image of Person on sofa with laptop pausing in work for ideas and self-care by siro46 via Shutterstock


  1. Lorna Stewart MCC

    I've been taking a 6-8 week break from my coaching business every year over the summer for the past 20 years. It has never hurt my business in any way. The gifts to me from this practice are immeasurable.

  2. Paula Madden

    Thank you so much for this article it has come just when I need it. At the end of last year I was diagnosed with cancer and my first thought was what about my business. Things have got a bit complicated which means I’ll need to take more time off work but this article has really helped me get things into perspective.

    • Ruby McGuire

      Hi Paula, I'm sorry to hear you're going through this and pleased the article has been helpful to you. While being in business is great, nothing is more important than our health.

  3. Virginia Reeves

    Ruby - hope your recovery is going well and that this new perspective will bring new ideas into your life and business. You will likely remember in the future to step back and enjoy more down time - on purpose. Appreciated the valid points and explanations in this article.


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