“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” — Genesis 2:1-3.
If this day of rest precept seems antiquated and downright fraught with rules and obligations –well, it can be. The art of resting one day per week, Shabbat is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish observances. People who do not observe Shabbat think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, or as a day of prayer like the Christian Sabbath. But think again.
Any doctor or athlete will tell you rest is golden. The body requires rest to recharge and function at full capacity. Sleep is essential to overall health. But Shabbat takes sleeping, resting, and napping to a whole new level. A day of rest includes physical, spiritual, and mental benefits.
Technology’s enforced frenetic pace is reeking havoc to our productivity and quality of life. If you’re like me, you’ll stress about what you need to get done — even on the weekends. My brain needs a clear signal to shut down and shut off. The more we chase productivity, the more it eludes us. Finding balance is crucial.
Even your soul needs to shut down sometimes. Spurts of daily meditation, yoga, or baths do the trick, but the Sabbath enforces much needed rest without feeling burdensome. Setting aside a block of time to unplug, connect with friends and family, or just read a book instead of driving, doing errands, texting, and planning — is key.
Some other key benefits include: Letting go of stress, deepening our relationships without excessive stimuli, self-reflection, balance, increased productivity, and storing your energy for the real crises in life so you’re not always in a state of panic.
If you think your life should be better than it already is, you’ll constantly spin on life’s hamster wheel without respite. Wanting more money, power, authority, and materialism just causes pain. It’s when you focus on what you do have, and become happy with it, that you are actually considered rich! So think about what you enjoy doing — which doesn’t entail getting something done.
Next, plan your day of rest. It can be any day of the week. Planning is essential to progress. Carve out time and you’ll commit. Practice turning down events, errands, chores, things you don’t truly need to get done under the gun. Plan meals in advance, turn off the iPhone, disconnect your computer, and stick your car keys in a drawer. Instead of being a slave to time, create it by accepting downtime. By taking time out, you’ll have more in the end.
Don’t just take my word for it: “Take a rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” — Ovid