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Taking A Career Break For Mental Health

Discover the benefits of taking a career break for mental health and learn when it might be necessary. Understand how to make the most of this time to prioritize well-being, personal development, and finding new opportunities for growth and fulfillment.
Animated vector of an empty workplace
Written by
Bloom Clinical Care Counselling and Therapy Services
February 2, 2023

Regardless of the job category or location, every job tends to affect mental health and vice versa. Luckily, taking a career break is one of the more effective choices for preserving and improving mental well-being.


A career break is an unpaid, purposeful leave from work for diverse reasons. The duration of a career break is specific to the individual. Generally, it depends on why time off work is required. It can be for any length of time, from 2 months onwards. Unlike a sabbatical, where one can quickly return to work after a few weeks to find an accumulation of work waiting, a career break sometimes entails resigning altogether.


When Does A Career Break Become Necessary?


A work environment characterized by gossip, discrimination, favoritism, tension, and employee burnout is toxic and can be draining and unhealthy. Therefore, taking a career break from a toxic work environment or generally recovering from physical and mental stress is never a bad idea.  

Although there seems to be a stigma associated with taking a career break for mental health reasons, it is crucial to prioritize your health over your career. , and it's nothing to be ashamed of. 

In 2021, Mental Health America researched workplace environments and employee mental health well-being. They surveyed over 5000 employees across 17 countries and reported that 83% of participants were emotionally drained from work. About 72% strongly agreed that their work affects their mental health. 

Many people are stuck in work situations that are detrimental to their mental health leading to employee burnout, stress, and depression. A common worry, however, is the discrimination attached to taking a career break for mental health. This worry includes the impression that explaining gap years in a resume to prospective employers is challenging.


Mental health is equally as important, if not more, than physical health. It is beneficial to look for signs that it's time to make changes at work or seek professional help. Experiencing a decline in productivity at the workplace or loss of interest in work activities usually indicates that something is off. 

An even bigger warning sign that work is affecting mental health is if the idea of work dampens one's mood or begins to damage personal relationships. Dealing with burnout before it escalates or leads to further health consequences is always recommended.




Life-Changing Benefits Of Taking A Mental Health Career Break


In this age of unprecedented stress, many people still refuse to consider taking time out to facilitate good mental health. Regardless, a career break has the potential to have life-changing effects on mental well-being and quality of life.


A career break lends time to rest and recuperate before returning to work in a positive environment. During this period, the goal is to prioritize good health and happiness. Not having to worry about meeting a deadline, waking up at dawn or getting chewed out at meetings can fare well for mental health.


Also, taking a career break can prompt seeing life from a different perspective. It provides some necessary detachment from constant work life. It is often easy to get engrossed in one's profession and live on autopilot, constantly working and toiling. 

Without work stress and enough spare time, it is easier to focus all time and energy solely on taking care of one's mental health. The time taken off work can be used for personal development, more quality time with family, or starting a passion-driven project. Engaging with hobbies you enjoy will give you a fresh outlook on life. 


Many rekindle their passion for something they loved when they were younger but lost sight of due to the lack of time.


Moreover, a career break gives the space to think creatively. It's difficult to think creatively or be inspired to do one's job if the brain is exhausted. Humans need space to reflect, away from their workplace tension, for natural creative juices to flow. A career break can also open a world of new opportunities and possibilities.



How To Make A Career Break Worthwhile

Taking a step back from work for your mental well-being is a bold decision. However, to make it work, it is crucial to seek support. It is important to confide in a trusted friend, mentor, co-worker, peer group or therapist. With a supportive person ready to lend a listening ear, it is easier to develop a game plan to improve work life and mental well-being.


While a career break is a time to rest, It is also a time to engage in transformational activities. Whether it's scheduling regular visits to a therapist, journaling or meditating. These activities facilitate quick recovery and let you resume work with a healthier mindset.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone of a current job or source of income can be scary. It's normal to feel such fear or apprehension. In dealing with this fear, It's OK to be open and admit these struggles to people who are trustworthy confidantes. 

Ultimately, one's value and worthiness as a human being are separate from career productivity or evaluation by others.

Are you struggling with workplace stress? We may be able to help. 

At Bloom Clinical Care Counselling and Therapy Services, we have a team of Psychotherapists and Social Workers who are experienced and qualified to help you deal with burnout and workplace stress. Our therapists can help with a wide range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, grief, couples therapy, child therapy, anger management, workplace stress, and stress management, to name a few. 

We currently have two locations, in Scarborough and Mississauga, to serve our clients and families across the Greater Toronto Area. All therapists on our team also provide virtual therapy across Ontario via phone and secure video calls. Our collective goal as a team is to help you flourish in life, guide you to your important milestone, and provide unwavering support. 

Scarborough Location

Our Scarborough Therapists are located at Third floor, 1200 Markham Rd suite 306 c, Scarborough, ON M1H 3C3 for in-person and virtual psychotherapy appointments.

Mississauga Location

Our Mississauga Therapist are located at 3024 Hurontario St #206, Mississauga, ON L5B 4M4 for in-person and virtual psychotherapy appointments. Similar to our Scarborough Psychotherapy clinic, the new Mississauga location also supports individuals, families, couples, and children seeking help with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, grief, couples therapy, relationship counselling, stress management, and child and youth counselling.

Struggling with you mental health? We may be able to help. Book a free consultation today.
Disclaimer: This article is solely intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as professional advice. The content of this article should not be used as a substitution to therapy, counselling, medical attention, or any kind of professional help. The author and Bloom Clinical Care Counseling and Therapy services strongly encourages readers to seek guidance from appropriate professionals if they are in need of assistance.