Sabbath Spelled Out With Letterpress BlocksSabbath is a term for rejuvenation. Its origin is tied to the creation story found in Genesis, at the end of which God rested on the seventh day. The message of the myth is that it is good and right for human beings to take time to rest, too. It is hard enough, however, to find the time off to take an occasional vacation. Ironically, looking for regular time to relax may actually create stress for busy people. If you follow these tips, though, you may be able to make your desire for a sabbath routine a reality.

Designate a Time

Your faith may have a set time for taking a day to rest. For example, many churches consider the day that they meet for services to be their chosen time to take a break from work or studies so that they are free to enjoy fellowship with one another without the time crunch of the next appointment looming. Other communities embrace sabbath as a practice, and the timeframe and details are best left up to the individual households. At any rate, you need to have a specific period set aside for rest if you want to reasonably expect it to actually happen. If a whole day each week seems impossible, start with one day a month, or just set aside a particular morning or evening. Once you have found a time the whole family likes, put it on the calendar so that you are less tempted to fill up the space with other plans.

Set Expectations

Sabbath means different things in different traditions. While it is primarily a Judeo-Christian term, similar concepts of practicing regular rest and relaxation exist in almost every religion. Even within a particular faith, however, the specific way it is practiced varies widely. Talk to your family or whoever is observing sabbath with you. Discuss specifically what the restful time will entail. Are you going to spend most of the time together, or are you mostly engaging in personal, quiet reflection? It may defeat the purpose of rest to plan out every moment, but having an overall picture of how you want the period to look can alleviate confusion.

You may also want to consider the activities from which you will abstain during your sabbath time. After all, rest is just as much about what you don't do as it is about what you do to relax. Taking time off from your job or schoolwork is a given, but there are other aspects of regular life from which you may want to take a short break:

  • Social media
  • Chores
  • Shopping
  • Errands

It may be difficult to adjust to having a large block of free time in which nothing productive is expected of you. However, once you and your family get past the initial shift in your perspective and realize how nice it is to have time just to do things that are fun or spend time together, you are likely to adapt quickly.

Make Preparations

It sounds easy enough to stop doing everything for a little while. If you don't actually prepare for the time, though, you may find your mind wandering back to your unfinished to-do list, and that isn't restful. Right before you take a break, it's a good idea to give yourself a little extra time to finish up incomplete tasks, such as the laundry you'll need for the day after sabbath and the bills that are due that week. Being prepared helps ease your mind so that you can fully enjoy your time off.

Your tradition may not call its ritual rest the sabbath, but no matter what term you use, taking frequent breaks from the busyness of life is important. Hopefully, this advice can help you create a practice that works for you and your family.

Category: Holidays and Observances Religion Judaism

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