In The Past
I grew up in a Seventh Day Adventist household, which meant we upheld the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as a day of rest. No electronics, no exchanging of money, and (much to my adolescent dismay) no attending non-religious functions. When I was younger, I saw Saturdays as a burden, disrupting the normal flow of my week.
When I got to college I reveled in the fact that I could now use all 7 of my days to do whatever I want. I could work on homework (“finally!” exclaimed my inner dweeb), I could hang out with friends, I could work out, I could do all the hobbies I wanted to pick up, and so on.
At some point these coulds turned into shoulds and I was agonizing over how to maximize my weekend to get the perfect balance of homework, leisure, and personal development. I got burnt out very quickly. My emotional and psychological health was wrecked.
I wrote a version of this article in 2019, when I accidentally took 7 classes in university, but I’m rewriting it because a couple weeks ago I just couldn’t get anything done. I was burnt out and sad. My body was not cooperating with me.
No matter how good my systems are, and I have worked hard to build good systems, I cannot work past physiological fatigue. My brain was foggy, so even though I was up and trying to write, I couldn’t put anything coherent on the page. I tried to generate any small piece of content but I couldn’t concentrate for long.
So how did I get myself out of that rut? I forced myself to take Thursday through Sunday off and reinstated my weekly day of rest.
Here’s How the Sabbath Helps
I have to be smarter about how I work during the week. I know that if there is anything I want to be done for Sunday it has to be complete on Friday. Throughout the week, I can push myself to work hard because I know I have Saturday to lounge, read, bake guilt free.
By determining Saturday is mine alone, I am able to fill up the tank. I can actually enjoy my rest instead of
Additionally studies show that taking a break within a workday does wonders for creativity, retention and general brain function, the benefits compound for the weekly scope.
I think the biggest mental drain people experience is constant pressure to be doing something. When we eat dinner, our minds are still on the projects of the day. It’s like you are constantly running a program in the background of your brain-computer and it is killing your battery.
When you are doing something commit wholly to that activity. When you work, focus on work. When you rest, REST FULLY. When’s the last time you really tasted your food?
When you give yourself a full, no guilt day of rest, you give your brain and body a chance to rejuvenate. We are not machines that can work 24/7.
Think about it: of all the ways our bodies and brains have evolved the need to sleep for approximately ⅓ of life has remained unchanged. Rest is vital.
How You Can Apply This
I had been overworking myself and not taking my own advice. I worked every day of the week from May through June and it finally caught up to me.
Plus my work wasn’t any better. I started taking longer to do things less well. It’s just so easy to forget lessons you’ve already learned.
So next time, you have a week where you can’t pinpoint why you’re off your game, forgive yourself and investigate your recent rest practices.
Rest is essential. It’s all too easy to just check an email or just edit one document and then suddenly you are responding to an “urgent” request at 7pm on a Saturday. NO. I don’t want that for you.
Take one day a week off, and take it ALL the way off. You’ll see your productivity soar.