Taking breaks won’t be the death of you!

Picture this: after a hard day of school and work, you finally sit down to take a break. Scrolling through social media seems to be the perfect activity to keep you occupied.

Just when you hope to see a good meme or two, you’re bombarded with quotes saying— “Don’t stay in bed unless you can make money in bed.” “I don’t stop when I’m tired, I only stop when I’m done.” “You have the same 24 hours as Bill Gates. So, what’s stopping you?”


Cartoon character frightened in bed.

It’s a tale as old as time—successful people don’t rest.

With ‘hustle culture’ being worshipped to the max, taking a break almost feels like a sin.

But is it?

Studies show that overworking negatively affects your productivity and personal life. It not only decreases creativity, but also gives rise to various health issues like chronic stress and depression.

So, how can you stop feeling guilty for taking breaks? First, understand why you feel so.

Why does taking a break induce guilt?

Man saying, "I feel awful."

The constant gnawing tension in your gut to be active and work 24/7 could be a result of ‘time anxiety,’ the fear of wasting your time.

According to Dr. Alex Lickerman, the author of ‘The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self,’ time anxiety is caused by thoughts like, “Am I creating the greatest amount of value with my life that I can? Did I spend too much of my time frivolously?”

The need to achieve ‘great success’ and leave a legacy often drives people to overworking themselves. This results in increased guilt while taking breaks.

Benefits of taking breaks

Man cleaning dishes and telling a woman, "Relax. You working too hard."

Bryan E. Robinson wrote in Psychology Today, “Anybody can be driven by the hustle culture. It’s easy to work on autopilot. But when your well-being is at stake, you want to make “rise and shine” a priority over “rise and grind.”

Taking a break not only helps in nurturing your health, but also helps you work efficiently. Some of the many benefits include:

Increased productivity

An animated character typing fast on the keyboard.

Studies show taking ‘micro-breaks’ drastically help improve your focus on a given task. It helps you avoid mental stagnation and increases creativity.

According to research, people are more productive when they work 40 hours a week as opposed to 60 hours or more.

So, the next time you feel guilty about working less, remember, you’re getting the same amount of work done as those who put in more hours than you.

Preventing burnout

Man saying, "I need that."

Overworking causes burnout. This can often lead to mental health issues and cardiovascular diseases. In the long run, burnout can completely hinder your ability to get work done.

Taking regular breaks is an easy way to avoid burnout. This helps in achieving a healthy work-life balance and maximizes professional efficiency.

Boost in creativity

Man saying, "We got our creative juices flowing so everyone better watch out!"

Directing your energy into different hobbies and activities reduces your brain’s fixation on work-related problems. This gives your mind time to refocus and lets your creative juices flow.

By taking breaks, you give your brain the opportunity to relax and unwind. This helps in finding clarity while tackling work.

What can you do while taking a break?

Man saying, "So what do I do?"

Okay, now that you know why you need to take a break, let’s tackle the next big question. How can you do so?

If you don’t have a specific hobby, it can be difficult to think of ways to unwind. So, here are a few activities you can try.

Take a power nap

Man covering his face with his hat.
Text: Do Not Disturb

Napping not only helps you relax, but also energizes your body. It’s the perfect activity to get you rejuvenated to tackle work!

Watch a movie

Cartoon character watching TV.

Watching a good movie is a great way to unwind your mind after a long study session. A hearty laugh can destress your mind and help you focus better when you get back to studying.


A cartoon character meditating.

Meditation is the perfect activity to help you relax. It’s a great way to calm your mind and increase your attention span.

Find it difficult to relax and meditate alone?

Grab IGNITE’s free one-year subscriptions to Headspace to help you unwind better. The program, in partnership with Humber’s Information Technology Services, gives you access to the online platform offering guided meditation, sleep coaching and mindfulness training to help you live a more well-rounded and stress-free life.

So, the next time you feel guilty about taking a break, remember, relaxing is the best way to improve productivity at work.

The key is to work smart, not hard!

Looking for things to do while taking a break? Here are 7 podcasts to keep you engaged!

Follow IGNITE on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for all things student life.