Welcome to Just Answer. I am here to help you resolve your tax and finance concerns. Please feel free to ask anytime you need extra help.
An extended leave without pay is probably not the best choice if you need the income to live on. It will actually cost you more money than you can possibly save in taxes.
I suggest the following options:
Put the maximum permitted into your retirement plan(s) at work. This, if before tax dollars, will reduce your income while setting money aside for later.
Accelerate the payments of tax deductible expenses such as medical care, mortgage payments, and charitable contributions. Do not pay beyond this years costs as it will not benefit you. Paying down your mortgage will get you free of this obligation sooner saving many dollars in interest payments.
Consider going back to school. The education credits will help reduce taxes and the American Opportunity Credit is even refundable. As an added benefit, you will grow and enhance your knowledge and skills.
Consider starting a business. It can be simple but should be something you truly enjoy. The tax write offs for this are excellent even allowing up to $10,000 in start up costs to be deducted.