Jews and Christians value a day for rest as one of the most important parts of their religious devotion. Muslims, Buddhists, and Bahá’ís all devote one day a week to rest, reflection, and community building. There are very real benefits of taking a day of rest for all of us—even those who aren’t people of faith.
- Take a break. Energy and will-power are finite resources. You can’t bring the same enthusiasm to your daily routine indefinitely. Setting aside a day of the week as a day for rest gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge. You’ll be a better employee or student, mother, wife, and person for it come Monday morning.
- Find a hobby. When I was a student, I got so bogged down in my studies that I lost my grip on reality. Now, as a mom, I have to work carefully so I don’t spend all my time thinking about laundry and diapers. A day for rest gives me the opportunity to exercise my mind on other pursuits I enjoy, like writing, going for long walks, and knitting. Adam and I even schedule “crafternoons” so we can both work on our separate hobbies together.
- Share a meal. People who care about each other ought to eat together as often as possible. Setting aside one meal a week as special means that, no matter how busy you are, you and the people you care about will always have at least an hour or so to sit and enjoy each others’ company.
- Evaluate where you are. A day of rest is a great time to reflect on where you are as a person, a community, and a family. Take time to think about your week—what made you happy? What was difficult or stressful? If you take the time to step back from your daily routine, you’ll be surprised what new and creative solutions present themselves that will make your life just a little bit more enjoyable.
So how do you make a day of rest work?
- Triage housework. Orthodox Jews consider even tasks as simple as turning on a light “work,” but reducing your housework just a little bit once a week can make a big difference in the way you feel. Brainstorm ways to cut your housework down to a bare minimum on your day of rest. Maybe that means getting all your laundry done on Saturday or throwing your Sunday dinner in a crockpot.
- Put family first. Set aside one day a week that your family is expected to spend time together. No soccer games—unless you go as a family. No meetings. No trips to the grocery store. Sunday makes a great Sabbath simply because it’s the day with the fewest scheduled activities to give up.
- Don’t plan. Planning an exciting day-trip is no way to relax. Occasional excursions are fine, but you’ll get more out of your day of rest if you just let things happen. You might find yourself on an unexpected picnic or trip to the zoo!
How do you make rest a priority in your life?