"> Self Care Spotlight: 10 Reasons Why I Take a Weekly Sabbath - MidoriLei

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self care spotlight

Self Care Spotlight: 10 Reasons Why I Take a Weekly Sabbath

Channeling relaxing beach vibes in the middle of fall for a blog photo shoot.

I grew up Seventh-Day Adventist, and although I no longer am SDA (I’m a Calvinist Christian now), I still haven’t given up the ritual of the weekly sabbath I grew up practicing. All week I stay super busy and productive, blogging and homeschooling my eldest four days a week, keeping up with a busy household, and chasing after my two boys. I thrive on having a to-do list and getting things done, but because of that, I experience burnout and overwhelm on the regular. I found out early on as a mother, if I don’t give myself breaks, nobody, I mean nobody is going to just hand me one.

A part of me wishes that I could just go go go nonstop and get the same amount of stuff done each and every day, but since the beginning of time (at least in the Christian world view) humans were created with a need for periodic rest (God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day to show us an example of what this might look like).

And even if you don’t hold a Christian worldview like I do, these benefits may still ring true to you. I carve out a weekly sabbath simply because of what Gretchen Rubin says in her “Secrets to Adulthood,”

 If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish.

Here’s more reasons why I take a planned weekly sabbath-

10 Benefits of Taking a Planned Weekly Sabbath

1. It’s the difference between an impulse buy (sometimes produces bad feelings of guilt) and a planned treat (produces a good feeling of deserving something and looking forward to something).

It’s so funny how our minds work. I can buy the exact same purchase, let’s say a dress I’ve been eyeing at Reformation, as a planned treat, and it will feel way different from the exact same dress bought impulsively on a whim. It’s the same thing with breaks. I feel like when I don’t carve it out and just give myself a break as necessary, I feel guilty because I had other things planned. My to do list is still beckoning. If I haven’t put my break in my calendar, and I impulsively, on a whim, give myself a day off, I feel like I’ve let myself down just because I had other plans and things I wanted to do on that day. But if I plan it, then I expect it. This leads to less disappointment in myself.

2. When I have a planned weekly sabbath, I avoid burnout.

If you’re anything like me, if I don’t actually put it on the calendar to take a break, by the time I realize I need a break, I’m at my breaking point. Having a break already in the calendar helps me not get to that point. It’s a safeguard for burnout.

3. When I have a planned weekly sabbath, I avoid feelings of guilt that come from taking sporadic breaks and having to move all my to-do list items onto another day.

I’ve done this and let me tell you, it feels like a big let down. Sometimes extra breaks even apart from a weekly day off are necessary. For me, these breaks never feel good, at least initially. Why? Because I had other plans for that day. That also means I have to manually move all my to-do list items to the next day. This activity that feels like I’ve let myself down. With a weekly planned day off, these sporadic necessary breaks are much fewer and far between. I can plan to have nothing on my to do list that day. This means I don’t have to feel guilty moving things over to another day.

4. When I have a planned weekly sabbath, I avoid getting to the point of needing more than one day off because I get a break regularly.

Between leaving the faith that I grew up in to readapting my weekly sabbath, there was a gap where I didn’t rest every week. What would inevitably happen was a sort of crash. I wouldn’t give myself a weekly respite, so when I finally reached my breaking point and forced myself to stop everything, I needed days and days to recoup. I felt guilty during these days. Having a weekly day to rest makes it so I don’t have to recover for days on end.

I eventually want to take a week long break every seven weeks, a month long break every seven months, and a year off break every seven years. #goals

5. You have something to look forward to.

Did you know that happiness relating to an event has three parts? One part involves the actual event itself. Another third involves reminiscing about the event after it happens. And the last third is in being able to anticipate an event. Let’s say you do get breaks, but you just don’t plan for them. If you don’t have it in the calendar, you eliminate a third of the happiness you could get out of having the break. Anticipation is a huge part of the happiness equation. I want to max it out!

Outfit items similar to what I’m wearing: Panama hat and navy floral bandeau top (and bottom).

6. When I have a planned weekly sabbath, the next day I find myself renewed, restored, and rejuvenated.

Some people carve out time every day to take a break but don’t give themselves an entire day. I too believe in daily breaks. I get mine from 7pm when I put the boys down until my bedtime. But this is not enough for me. Carving out an entire day off every week does more for my overall well-being and creativity. A few hours a day is not enough.

It’s not uncommon for me to find that I have my best ideas, and lots of them, on the day after I take my weekly sabbath.

Can you imagine every week having a whole day to just think of whatever, dream of whatever, and do whatever? Can you imagine having a weekly day to let go of any expectation to try to make money or try to be productive? This is the gift of the sabbath, and it does wonderful things for opening up space in my brain for new ideas.

7. I set expectations for all the people who are in my household, so nobody is disappointed.

Every Wednesday when I take my weekly sabbath, Noah knows we don’t have school time. He misses it, but he knows what to expect. My husband knows the dishes are going to pile up that day. My kids know we may or may not be going to a playground. Either way, they know it’s mommy’s day to relax. That may mean I’m laying in bed a lot that day or watching movies. The expectations are low for getting me to do anything besides heat up leftovers and help with potty stuff.

On one hand, it seems like mommy is just being lazy, but on the other hand, because I have nothing on my to do list but to enjoy the day and relax, there’s a lot more spontaneous dance parties and fun going on with the boys.

8. Because I have a planned weekly sabbath, I can make plans with other people ahead of time and seize the day from start to finish.

One thing about having last minute sporadic breaks as necessary is that when the time comes, it’s hard to gather people to join me. Knowing I have my weekly sabbath, I’m able to plan ahead and invite people to join me in activities I’m planning to do that day, be it a playdate in our backyard playground sipping tea and talking with a girl friend while the kiddos play or an evening girl’s night out for drinks just to have a reason to dress up.

9. A weekly sabbath automatically gives me the space to implement time for self care, self reflection, and self discovery.

I have to admit, I’m a lot better at not having a sabbath day. It’s actually super hard for me to do nothing. That being said, because of this fact, I want to practice stillness. It’s a great practice for me to have leisure with no goals or objectives in mind. It reminds me that even without my help, the world is still spinning on its axis. Without my help, everything is fine!

Sabbath days allow me to make space for doing relaxing beauty rituals that get put by the wayside because of time. It’s a great time to just sit with my own thoughts, think about my life, and learn about what things I enjoy for the mere sake of the activity, not to try to make money or try to accomplish anything. I spend time getting refreshed by nature, binge watch shows, and catch up on sleep.

Having a day off forces me to prioritize myself and think of my own needs and wants. As a mother and wife, sometimes it feels like I’m taking care of everyone and nobody is thinking of my needs or wants. I know this isn’t the truth, but a weekly sabbath forces me to turn inward and do things for myself.

10. A weekly sabbath shows others around me a good example to follow.

I want my boys to see me and know that they are not worth their net worth. People are more important than tasks, than money, than stuff, than most anything. By taking a sabbath, I’m allowing others to also embrace their humanity. I am teaching my kids by example what life balance looks like. I am teaching them that it’s just as important to enjoy my leisure as it is to enjoy my work. Nate can see that I value and respect myself. By caring for myself, I am teaching the people around me my expectations for how they need to care for me. I am also admitting that I am not super human and yet things will be fine even if I don’t cook one day a week and the dishes are stacking up.

What’s next?

I have to remind myself that no awards are handed out to moms who can go nonstop without a break. And nobody really minds that I do need a break; it’s just my own guilt trying to sabotage me. Are you intrigued by this idea of a weekly sabbath? What do I do on my weekly sabbath? I’ll give you my list of my do’s and don’ts next week so you can have an idea!

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