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Related to breathing space: breathing room
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.
1. Room or time in which to breathe, as in In that crowded hall, there was hardly any breathing space. Previously this term was put as breathing room. [Mid-1600s]
2. A rest or pause. For example, I can't work at this all day; I need some breathing space. This usage replaced the earlier breathing while. [Mid-1600s]
If you have some breathing space, you have some time when you do not have to deal with something difficult, and which may give you time and energy to deal with it better in the future. I spent seven happy months there, and it gave us both a breathing space in which to plan for the future. Even if the boarding school didn't help Louise, at least the family would get a breathing space.