As someone who's dedicated to making music, following a passion, it can be hard to take breaks from what you love doing. Usually taking a break from making music is enforced by any number of things, including other events going on in your life or just feeling like you have a creative block. The typical reaction to this, as I pointed out last week, is to feel guilty about not doing anything and then go back into making music with a very negative attitude only because you feel you should be doing something.
However all artists have downtime. While it's important to know when to go back into making music, it's also important to know when to take a step back without being too hard on yourself. It is OK to not always be working on something, although obviously you shouldn't use this as an excuse. The fact of the matter is that creativity takes a certain type of energy. You have to be in a good mood, and you have to be motivated for your best ideas to come out. You should always be evaluating what attitude you have towards making music with a view to getting in this headspace, however if you're finding it hard to start ideas, you are tired and you have a lot of other commitments in your life that are taking time away from your core area of production, it can be a good thing to take some time for yourself and allow the creativity to re-charge until you have the opportunity to go back to it.
I've often said that creativity doesn't happen in a vacuum, so use your downtime to do other things that you wouldn't normally do. Record your friends and help them produce their music as solely an engineer. Build up a library of field recordings and samples that you can use later on. Find inspiration in other forms of media that you like, films, visual art and that sort of thing. If you have an interest in something other than making music, spend some time indulging this. Being in a different mindset without being hard on yourself every once in a while isn't a bad thing.