I had taken a year break after my masters, before seriously applying to PhD programs. The reason was that I was stressed and burnt out, especially during the COVID times, and wasn't ready for a PhD directly after 5 years of university, and felt like I should take a break. Even though I had applied to 1-2 places due to the insistence of my parents, and for the sake of easing my conscience that I wasn't applying anywhere, I did not put my heart and soul into the applications like I would have liked to.
Now that I have taken a break, and have had time to think about it, stay away from mathematics for a while, or have read some mathematics that I like in my own pace (Nothing hugely substantial in terms of my future plans, but I think I really needed the break, to clear my mind.), I am applying this academic cycle.
The problem is, one program asks me for any situations or circumstances that I had for any significant gaps in my education period, and they claim that the information is voluntary and will not affect my application negatively. But as I understand it, they probably mean reasons like an illness, family emergency, having a child, or some other emergencies that could not be avoided. I am doubtful whether taking a break because I was stressed (of which I have no concrete proof, than my own feelings), or was unable decide whether I want to continue with a PhD then (but the fact that I want to, is as clear as day to me now), would count as a valid reason.
Moreover, I do not understand how can something be used to better understand the application, but still not be used negatively.
So, do you think it's a better idea to mention these reasons in the application, or would it be better to avoid it altogether?
Also, seems like this question would be similar to mine, but it does not address what to do if the program application asks for a reason for the break.
Edit : I realize that I might have potentially miscommunicated the time I got out of university. It was in this (2022) summer that my masters got over. When I mean I took a year break, I just mean that I would only be admitted in the coming fall, and hence it would be a year after my masters; and not that one year has already passed after me finishing my masters.