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Claim Your Day of Rest for Improved Health and Productivity

Claim Your Day of Rest for Improved Health and Productivity


    My parents were firm believers in honoring the Sabbath. Coming from the Christian tradition, this meant that we observed a day of rest on Sundays. On this day, no household chores (aside from cooking and washing the dishes) could take place. No knitting or mowing the lawn. And absolutely no shopping.

    Now, the shopping part was not much of a choice during my childhood, because I lived in Sweden, where the stores were closed on Sundays.

    However, as I grew older – and stores started being open on Sundays – these rules started to annoy me a bit. What’s so bad about going shopping on a Sunday? What if I need to do homework?

    When I left for college, I rebelled against the day of rest. I sat in the library every Sunday from the time it opened until it closed at midnight (yes, I was a really fun college student…).

    While I supported my husband through graduate school, I would often babysit on Sundays. It was a great way to get some extra cash, but not very restful.

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    And when I entered the management level in the corporate world, weekends didn’t really exist anymore. I used to joke about the fact that “it doesn’t really matter what day it is, because I’m always working.”

    You Need a Day of Rest to Avoid Burnout

    Guess what? I burned out.

    I had several of the symptoms that Royale Scuderi describes in her excellent article, Warning: You Have Entered the Burnout Zone:

    • A pervasive sense of failure and self-doubt
    • Loss of motivation and interest in my job
    • Lack of a sense of satisfaction and any feelings of accomplishment
    • Extreme exhaustion and lack of energy, feeling completely drained
    • Increase in conflicts both in the workplace and at home

    I realized I could not continue the way I was going. But what to do? I had a demanding job with an expectation of always being “on.” (I.e. checking email, answering the phone, etc.)

    I thought about my parents. They were very busy people, but they always seemed to have an abundance of energy. And they loved their jobs. What did they have that I didn’t?

    A day of rest… A built-in day to relax, be in the moment, and nurture relationships. A day of preventative health care.

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    Remember How to Rest

    It amazes me how much we forget and then remember as it relates to our health and general wellbeing. We have so much to learn from our parents, our grandparents, and other people who came before us.

    I love LJ Earnest’s article, Productivity Lessons From Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Farmer Boy”. (And not just because I am a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan.) One of the productivity lessons from this article is called “Truly Rest Regularly.” Like my parents, the people of that time had it figured out. Only minimal work was done on Sundays. The day was set aside for resting and reading.

    In an interview with 96-year-old Bill in a regional magazine, the author writes:

    “Bill said he used to just dream of Sundays. They would take the day off from farm work and go to church while his mom or Aunt Bess would stay home and cook. After church, they would pack a big picnic and head off to find a good spot by the creek. After eating well, they took off their shoes to play in the creek or just lie down on the grass and enjoy it.”

    We were pretty good at resting when we were kids. Spending long summer days at the pool, playing Monopoly for hours on rainy days, or snuggling up with a pile of good books. Remember those days and try to incorporate that resttime back in your life.

    Schedule a Day of Rest

    When I finally realized that my parents were onto something, I made a commitment to observe a day of rest. Sundays made sense for me, but obviously different days will work for different people.

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    The first few months I started with what I call a “digital sabbath.” I let the computer rest for a whole day. This eliminated a good chunk of work and enabled me to rest.

    But eventually, I wanted to take it to the next level. So I made a simple rule:

    Don’t do anything that feels like work.

    Doing laundry feels like work. Cooking doesn’t. Turning on my computer feels like work. Watching Lost on Netflix doesn’t. Reconciling credit card statements feels like work. Reading a novel doesn’t.

    This rule will manifest itself differently for every person. (Isn’t it wonderful that we are all unique?)

    Sunday is now my favorite day of the week. It is the day when I can read in bed until my stomach starts to growl. It is the day when I don’t have to spend time in front of a screen. It’s a day to spend time with family and friends – or alone.

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    And when Monday rolls around, I’m not panicking, because I know Sunday is just six days away. And I’m ready to tackle whatever work comes my way in a productive and healthy manner.

    So what are you waiting for? Claim your day of rest today and make it your own.

    Do you have rest time built into your schedule? If so, what does it look like? If not, what’s stopping you?

    (Photo credit: Young Lady in Hammock via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

      What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

      Are you afraid of being alone?  Do you worry about your physical safety or do you fear loneliness? These are strong negative feelings that can impact your health.

      One study found that when older people are socially isolated, there is an increased risk of an earlier death,[1] by as much as 26%.

      If you experience loneliness and are worried about your fear of being alone, study these 6 ways to help you find your comfort zone.

      But first, the good news!

      How many times have you said to yourself, ‘I just can’t wait to be alone’? This might be after a day’s work, an argument with your partner or after a noisy dinner with friends. You need time to be yourself, gather your thoughts, relish the silence and just totally chill out. These are precious moments and are very important for your own peace of mind and mental refreshment.

      But for many people, this feeling is not often present and loneliness takes over. As Joss Whedon once said,

      ‘Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there’.

      Read on and discover how you can exploit being alone to your own advantage and how you can defeat loneliness.

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      1. Embrace loneliness

      When you are alone, it is important to embrace it and enjoy it to the full.

      Wallow in the feeling that you do not have to be accountable for anything you do. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Take up new ones. Learn new skills. Lie on the couch. Leave the kitchen in a mess. The list can go on and on, but finding the right balance is crucial.

      There will be times when being on your own is perfect, but then there will be a creeping feeling that you should not be so isolated.

      When you start to enjoy being alone, these 10 amazing things will happen.

      Once you start feeling loneliness, then it is time to take action.

      2. Facebook is not the answer

      Have you noticed how people seek virtual contacts instead of a live, face-to-face interaction? It is true that social networking can provide an initial contact, but the chances of that becoming a real life personal contact is pretty slim.

      Being wrapped up in a cloud of sharing, liking and commenting (and insulting!) can only increase loneliness.

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      When you really want company, no one on Facebook will phone you to invite you out.

      3. Stop tolerating unhappy relationships

      It is a cruel fact of life that people are so scared of loneliness that they often opt into a relationship with the wrong person.

      There is enormous pressure from peers, family and society in general to get married or to be in a stable, long-term relationship. When this happens, people start making wrong decisions, such as:

      • hanging out with toxic company such as dishonest or untrustworthy people;
      • getting involved with unsuitable partners because of the fear of being alone or lonesome;
      • accepting inappropriate behavior just because of loneliness;
      • seeking a temporary remedy instead of making a long-term decision.

      The main problem is that you need to pause, reflect and get advice. Recognize that your fear of being alone is taking over. A rash decision now could lead to endless unhappiness.

      4. Go out and meet people

      It was the poet John Donne (1572 – 1631) who wrote:

      ‘No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent’.

      Human contact is essential to surviving in this world. Instead of wallowing in boredom and sadness, you need to get out as much as possible and seek contacts.

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      Being a member of a group, however tenuous, is a great way. So when you are in the gym, at church or simply at a club meeting, exploit these contacts to enlarge your social circle.

      There is no point in staying at home all the time. You will not meet any new people there!

      Social contacts are rather like delicate plants. You have to look after them. That means telephoning, using Skype and being there when needed.

      Take a look at this guide on How to Meet New People and Make Friends with The Best.

      5. Reach out to help someone in need

      A burden shared is a burden halved.

      Dag Hammarskjold was keenly aware of this fact when he said:

      ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden but this: I have only my own burden to bear’.

      Simply put, it is a two-way street. Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

      Reach out to help and people will be there when you need them.

      6. Be grateful and count your blessings

      Study after study shows that if people show gratitude, they will reap a bountiful harvest. These include a stronger immune system, better health, more positive energy and most important of all, feeling less lonely and isolated.

      If you do not believe me, watch the video below, ‘What good is gratitude?’  Now here is the path to hope and happiness:

      Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

      Reference

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