1 in 8 Americans never take breaks — even though the average person takes 4 daily!

NEW YORK — Are you finding time for a pause in your busy day? A recent survey reveals that a significant portion of Americans might not be, with one in eight adults confessing they never allow themselves a moment’s break.

Fortunately, the majority do recognize the importance of taking a breather, with the typical person indulging in four breaks daily — just one short of the five they believe would be ideal.

The survey, commissioned by Pacific Foods and conducted by OnePoll, investigated the wellness habits of 2,000 adults. It uncovered that the ideal duration for a break is approximately 17 minutes. During this precious time, 41 percent of participants prefer to unwind with music, while 36 percent choose to relish a meal or snack free from distractions.

Outdoor activities also ranked high, with 35 percent opting for a walk and 34 percent simply sitting outside to soak in some fresh air. The kitchen becomes a retreat for 33 percent who drink water to stay hydrated, and 22 percent enjoy a comforting warm beverage during their downtime.

Despite an average of four busy days per week, with one in eight viewing every day as a whirlwind of activity, many acknowledge the struggle in remembering to take breaks. A staggering 34 percent either “always” or “often” neglect self-care routines, and 36 percent wish they could carve out more time for pauses.

Infographic on what people like to do when they take breaks

Barriers to taking breaks include feeling overwhelmed (55%), inability to quiet the mind (31%), and losing track of time (31%). Yet, an overwhelming 87 percent agree on the critical role breaks play in promoting wellness.

“While taking breaks may seem counterintuitive in today’s busy world, studies show they can be of great benefit to overall well-being including helping to reduce stress levels, increase productivity, enhance mood, and improve concentration and focus,” says spokesperson Mia Syn, MS, RDN, in a statement.

When asked to define wellness, responses varied from “feeling healthy, happy, and energetic” to “maintaining sharp mental acuity” and “rejuvenating the body.” Interestingly, while half of the respondents consider their wellness habits above average, daily practice of these habits is only the case for 62 percent.

However, a third of those who have healthy habits admit they’re not always a priority. Similarly, one in six admit that mindfulness is low or no priority in their daily lives. On busy days, healthy eating also falls into the “low” or “no” priority category (23%).

The pursuit of wellness is influenced significantly by media, with trends such as yoga, intermittent fasting, and nutritional supplements like sea moss or ashwagandha catching the public’s attention. Social media plays a pivotal role, with 57 percent likely to follow health trends there, and 31 percent influenced by celebrities or influencers.

“More and more Americans are becoming aware of how what we eat has a direct impact on not only our physical health, but the way we feel including our energy levels and mental well-being,” Syn says. “This has led to a rise in popularity and prioritization of nutrient-rich foods that the body thrives off, over more indulgent, less nutritious options.”

The findings suggest a shift towards prioritizing wellness, with breaks and healthy habits seen as essential components of self-care and mental acuity.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Pacific Foods between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


  1. I’m not afraid to say that I’m living below proverty and I need help with my Edison bill , but no one wants to be able to help, so I strackle each moth to month now I have received a letter my power bill is behind and they will have to shut off my power I live in southern California near Palm springs California and believe me it gets hot last year we had warnings not to go outside, 120 degrees

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