For many people, the holidays mean a time to take a break from the daily grind and recharge. For small business owners, this wasn’t necessarily the case in 2022 and early 2023. According to a survey from accounting software company FreshBooks, running a small business can be all-consuming and stressful, especially these days.

FreshBooks recently surveyed 500 small business owners, asking them about their plans to take a break during the holiday season, and how they feel if they manage to step away from work at any point of the year. While more than 70 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “taking time off during the holidays is essential to my mental health”, half of the respondents said they’re not taking time off this holiday season, except for statutory holidays like Christmas Day, and only a quarter of respondents said they planned to take at least a consecutive week off during the holiday season.

The survey found that 85 percent of small business owners would continue to work at some capacity during vacation time, including checking and responding to emails, answering work calls and taking care of administrative tasks. Around half of the respondents said they feel stressed while away from their work.

Nearly half of respondents said they can’t afford not to work and need to continue earning income, and one quarter of respondents said the holiday season is one of their busiest seasons and can’t get away. Sixty percent of respondents said they’re worried about their business due to the economic uncertainty looming over 2023, and nearly 40 percent said they have not taken a break from work for at least one consecutive week in a year or more.