I have, like many, worked myself to the end of my wits. I get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, only to realise that I’m really angling for approval and losing myself in the process. I have been known to work until 4 in the morning only to be back in office at 8, and to just keep going until my body shuts down with a flu of vengeance.
Why? Well, because we all need down time. Our body needs it to regenerate and re-energize, so that it does not shut down on us. Our minds need it to solve problems, to renew and reset itself so we can still function at optimal levels. Our spirit needs it to be refilled with joy and peace, to be happy, so that we can be balanced in our lives, and not be all over the place.
One day in a discussion, with one of my most trusted friends, about something totally unrelated we began speaking about the importance of keeping a Sabbath. He said to me, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Quoting Mark 2:27) and we went into what happens in a Jewish home on the Sabbath. We ended with this to ponder upon: How much better would your life be if you committed to a single day each week to rest, seek God and spend time with those you love?
Shortly after that, I decided that I would discipline myself (and those around me) into observing a Sabbath. I looked internally and looked at what takes the most energy from me, what I have to put out the most effort for and what I actually have to do. I did not like the answer I was getting, so I twisted and looked again, same answer. I looked and looked and after repeatedly coming to the same conclusion I had to admit to myself that I needed a break from people. On my Sabbath I need solitude, quiet, selected interaction and nothing else.
I have found I am a better person for it, and when I do not do it I am a monster of a person soon after. I choose to take my rest and this is how I do it:
1. I make the time to sleep. I’m not good at sleeping on schedule, but I get my scuttlebutt into my bed by midnight. Even if I’m not sleeping, I’m not actively doing anything else. I used to fall asleep around 5 A.M., now I’m pretty much out of it by 1:30.
2. I schedule rest into my week, I do not do anything pertaining to work on a Thursday evening and I enforce my Sabbath rules ALL of Saturday. No housework, No Business, No serving others, No uninitiated hangouts. I read, listen to music, chill with God, rest, and I often pay a visit to the river :)
3. I take a Biennial Sabbatical for a solid month. Sounds pretty long right? In my line of work, vacations are hard to come by because, well, that’s entertainment. What I do instead is work for two solid years and then hide away to recharge and get back to center. I am not unreachable by my office, but I’m not in office either. They stop calling by day 10, and I can begin to focus on my purpose there. I tend to spend this time in a different country, still being active, just being in a different space is enough for me.
For everything there is an exception or two, and I have not yet perfected this. However, what I have found is that as much as I enjoy what I do, the administrative side of my job sometimes strangles the life out of my true creative nature. With these scheduled rest days, I am able to recapture the essence of me which allows me to be better at my job, helps me be a better friend, allows me to spend time loving myself and pretty much prevents me from losing it.
Do you feel like you are getting enough rest? Do you count down to vacation? How often do you get a full nights rest?