Why It’s Important to Take a Day Off (Even when you’re looking for a job)



Every Friday evening, I step away from the computer, switch off the lights in my office and ceremonially mark the end to the work week. For the next 24 hours, I don’t respond to emails or texts related to professional life. I refrain from trying to solve job-related issues (unless there’s a bona fide emergency). This moment of unplugging can feel counterintuitive, especially when the to-do list is endless with problems looming large. But I do it anyway. Trust is part of the point. As critical as this is now when I’m loving my career, it was even more important while I was looking for work and it never seemed like I was doing enough. How can I walk away when there’s so much left to do? Wouldn’t it be more effective to keep powering through?    


Without a firm boundary around your job (whether you’re loaded with work or in search of it) career stress can seep into every crevice of time, and zap joy out of otherwise fun, leisure activities. Taking a preset weekly break (not dependent on goals accomplished) allows us to recharge and refresh our energy. When you’re on overload, frustrated or spinning in circles, time off helps to create physical and mental space, leaving room for the AHA moments where new solutions are discovered.


Part of my weekly unplug from work includes a worry-free zone. When negative or anxious thoughts pop into my head (which they inevitably do), for this one day a week, I ignore them. I try to actively infuse the time with hope and possibility for a bright tomorrow. This is not avoidance or wishful thinking. It’s the opposite. It’s visioning, a step towards carving out that bright tomorrow. On Sunday, I find my perspective invariably looks different.


Pick a day ahead of time. Don’t wait for the moment when you’ve finished your tasks. No matter how productive or seemingly unproductive the 6 other days have been, give yourself this weekly oasis. Have the trust to step away. If a whole day seems too daunting, try a morning. How about this Sunday from 9 to noon? Remember, if your job is looking for work, that’s work, too. You deserve a day off (or 2). You’ve earned this, just for being human. Let me know how it goes.

If you’d like a customized plan for staying centered as you plan your next career, please get in touch.

11 thoughts on “Why It’s Important to Take a Day Off (Even when you’re looking for a job)

  • I couldn’t agree more of how important it is to unplug from the daily (work) grind. It took me many years to discover and accept this process of rejuvenation. I love your suggestion of just even breaking down those oasis moments into smaller snippets of time vs. someone like me who many times takes the “all or nothing” approach! Thanks for your insight of how I can view my downtime in a way that will be much more beneficial to my work weeks!

  • I also agree Wendy of the importance to unplug. But, with all in my life and all that I am driving to accomplish, 24 hrs is usually to.long for me. A couple of movies (Back to the Future 1,2,3) is my little.unplug time

    • Hey, Candido – I completely understand. It’s so regenerating to get off the wheel for a day. I’m ultimately much more productive because of it. But even a few hours makes a difference. I’m glad you’re able to find at least a little downtime.

  • Great perspective, Wendy. I love the idea that taking some time off will ultimate make you more productive, not to mention, energized. You’ve inspired me!

  • I can’t agree more! During a brief unemployed stint, I didn’t feel worthy of taking a day of job searching until the problem was fixed…And I learned that’s not exactly how it works. I now have a designated “off” day and a designated “off” time for electronics. : )

  • OK. YOU’VE INSPIRED ME! Sunday I spent the day in a park reading, walking, sketching. I was aware of those voices inside saying, ” You better get some work done today, girl!” I told her to lay down and be quiet. Today I’m refreshed and moving with purpose. Thank you for this seemingly simple advice that apparently I’ve been ignoring to my detriment.

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