a breathing space
1. A sufficient buffer of time or space that allows for freedom of movement or relief from a given source of pressure or stress. My yearly bonus always affords us a little bit of breathing space for the Christmas expenses. Please move back and give us some of breathing space here. The professor extended the deadline for our midterm papers, so I've got a bit of breathing space to get it finished.
2. A pause to rest or to think over something. Give me a minute, I just need a little breathing space while I figure this out.