You’re working from home, but you still need a break

Photo by JOYUMA on Unsplash

In this podcast episode we discussed how difficult it can be to set boundaries for freelancers and other folks who may be working from home. The pandemic of 2020/2021, revolutionized how we see work and expanded our idea of remote work, but in doing that it might have affected how we define “rest” and “breaks”.


Why do you feel guilty about taking time off?

In a conversation with some colleagues recently, we were discussing how we tend to “work through the pain/discomfort” more if we are working from home. Somehow, when we’re working from the comfort of our homes it feels like we’re not really in a work environment – since we can take a nap in our lunchtime or take our laptop to bed if we want to. Not remembering that pretty much 90% of the work that we’re doing these days takes a lot more brain work than physical labour. So, while we’re not doing a physical commute, or walking around a huge office – we are still working. Your brain is still focused on these work deadlines and your body is still as rigidly focused as it would be in an office chair.

This video pretty much sums up everything

Just because you get to take your laptop with you while you travel the world, doesn’t mean that you’re not working. Just because you are passionate about your work, doesn’t mean you’re not working. This is a not so gentle reminder that you don’t have to earn rest. Heck, even computers have a sleep mode.

We’ve placed so much value on work, so much value on the quantity of our output that we neglect to think about the importance of the rest in between. Apart of us might also feel a little guilty for working at home/ working on things we’re passionate about. For the former it might be because we believe that our superiors might think we’re working less so we work more to overcompensate for any comments they may have about our productivity (even if they haven’t made any). For the latter, we might be thinking about our friends who have complained about their jobs, or even remembering the times we complained about jobs we had – so we have told ourselves that “If I enjoy it, then it’s not work”. Also, because we have experienced or have heard about job dissatisfaction we want to make it so clear to ourselves and everyone around us that we are excelling. This might be a particularly sore point for entrepreneurs (especially those whose ideas were doubted by friends and family members).


I was relieved to be hospitalized, so I could rest: that’s when I knew something was wrong

But let me say this – no amount of overwork is going to free us from these stories we tell ourselves. We’ve made up scenarios about why we work this hard and why we need to work this hard, but if we sat down to think about these scenarios and these stories – would they actually be true?

Let’s be honest, half the time we are concerned with something because of how it will look to others – whether those “others” are your supervisors, your coworkers, your audience, your customers or your family and friends. But how does it look AND feel for you?

Sit for a moment, be still…and think about where this “motivation” for overwork or neglecting rest comes from. I had to sit with these thoughts recently when I realized I was going to miss uploading a podcast episode. Our schedule is 2 podcast episodes per month and that already felt like too little so I was feeling pretty guilty about missing it – what would the audience think? They’re expecting consistency. But, when I sat fr a moment to really think about it – I realized it was more about me. I was measuring my “success” and whether I could keep this space going by my consistency in publishing blog posts and airing podcast episodes. Underneath it all, I realized I would probably feel like a failure if I missed the episode, and then all my fears would’ve been confirmed that I am an imposter and that I wasn’t fit to curate this space in the first place.


Episode 37: Unlocking your Greatness with Dr. Lisa Orbe-Austin

I decided to skip the episode because it came down to quality of work. Yes, I could have quickly edited the episode or perhaps rushed to record something else – but I did not have the mental capacity to be as precise as possible, and I didn’t want the episode’s content to be lost because of poor production. So I leaned into taking a break, so I could really focus on improving the quality of my work. What will it come down to for you?

I’ve had to take a few kicks in the butt to sort myself out, and even now it’s still a work in progress. Once it took hospitalization for me to realize that this is all madness. Please, don’t let it get there for you.

When we decide to rest or take a break it is the absence of work. This might mean taking a nap, doing a crossword puzzle, going for a walk, or even switching to a less demanding activity. But what I also want us to focus on, is concurrent days of no work – this means no income-generating work. This is especially difficult for folks who freelance, who don’t have paid vacation days and who are entrepreneurs; however even if it’s one or two days, consider what a break might be able to do for you.

In the podcast episode below, our guest spoke about what it means to be fully present; and after hearing her definition I reluctantly realized that I hadn’t been fully present with anything in quite some time. Have you been fully present with self lately?


Episode 67: This is your next chance with Brittany Wagner

No matter how flexible (or inflexible) your work schedule, you need to make time for rest. This might sound weird to you, but

Rest is a productive activity

Sophia Joan

Click the button below to access some helpful free resources if you need a nudge to shut off work and make time for rest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top