There is one person who truly knows best. And no, it’s not your mother (although she is probably a close second). That person is God, and he knew that humans need rest. That’s why the most important day of the week has nothing to do with your work week, and everything to do with taking the time to rejuvenate yourself. Observing the sabbath, the weekly day of rest, is important for both your physical health and your mental health. Whether or not you consider yourself religious, I think we can all agree that rest is something everyone needs.
But how do you rest in a society that prioritizes always being on the go? We work all week and many of us work all weekend as well. It’s true that this is a necessity for some, but for many others it’s simply a choice. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with being constantly busy, and a reason the phrase “you can sleep when you’re dead” is so popular. But I would encourage you to take a deeper look at the success that observing the sabbath can provide as well.
Your loved ones will thank you
Filling your hours with work or mindless distractions might lead to monetary success or days that pass faster, but how much time does that leave for the other important aspects of your life? Where are you stopping to enjoy your relationships? Are you truly happier when you neglect the hobbies and other things that were once important to you? The truth is that time is just as valuable as money. After all, you cannot buy time; you only have a certain amount, and it will run out eventually.
This weekend, try to observe the sabbath and dedicate it to your friends and family. Do an activity: cook a meal together, play a game or even simply put your phones on airplane mode and talk for a while. Remind yourself of what it feels like to leave the distractions behind for a few hours.
Your body and your mind will thank you
Ask yourself why you feel the need to stay busy all the time. I think you might find that you are avoiding the thoughts that pop up in quiet moments. There might be hard emotions that you are hoping to avoid, but taking the time to sit with these thoughts could be exactly what you need. Learning how to feel your emotions and move through them is an important step towards growth that will only enrich your life further.
And even though the goal of the sabbath is to go 24 hours without work or distractions, you don’t have to jump right into resting for a whole day. It might feel unnatural to slow down at first, especially if you’re usually adamant about staying busy. Start with an hour, then two hours, whatever you can accomplish this week. The final step is sticking with it! I guarantee that after a few weeks you’ll start to feel better than you ever have, and you’ll look forward to the sabbath and begin to see it as a valuable and unskippable part of your week.
What’s your ideal sabbath?
Right now, there’s a good chance that you’re horrified at the idea of lazing about on your couch all day, but “rest” doesn’t have to mean doing nothing! The whole point is do something that rejuvenates you, and this will look different for everyone. For example, my wife loves gardening, but I definitely do not. For her, tending to our yard is sabbath.
In fact, all of these are things you can do on the sabbath:
- Take a bath
- Play a sport that you love
- Go for a walk
- Go to the gym
- Family game night
- Connect with your spouse
- Work on personal projects
- Read a book
- Study scripture, journal, reflect
- Go to lunch with friends and family
- Play with and care for your kids and your pets.
Establish a few simple rules for how to sabbath: No work. No chores. No screens. Get all of those things done in preparation for your day of rest.
The kind of rest can be almost anything. Did an idea pop into your head as you read that list? Maybe something that you didn’t think of as “rest” before? The only thing that matters is that it fills up your soul and revitalizes you. Make it part of your routine and you’ll be surprised by how much more productive the rest of your week becomes!
If you’d love to sabbath but feel too tethered to your work or your hobbies to get the rest your soul needs, please reach out to us. We’re always here to help you achieve the best life possible.
“Observing the sabbath, the weekly day of rest, is important for both your physical health and your mental health.“
By Grant Stenzel, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
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