December 18, 2018

Get HoriZENtal

Without having to subscribe to any religious dogma, there is reason to believe that the concept of the Sabbath- taking a day to relax, put work, stress, and emails aside- is good for the body, mind, and soul.

Very religious Jews use sundown Friday to sundown Saturday to disconnect from electronics, spending money, cooking, etc. All meals are prepared prior to the Sabbath so their time is spent praying, getting together with friends, enjoying time with family, reading, and completely disengaging from the distractions and the normal activities of a busy week. I have spent most of my life pitying people who are inconvenienced by religious beliefs that prohibit the modern conveniences of cars, computers, microwaves, and TV’s.  However, upon reflection of what it takes to attain feelings of being present/peaceful/living in the moment, I am reconsidering whether what I have perceived as inconvenient, is actually holy behavior for the inner self.

Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, it seems possible and important to make one day of the week different from all the others to put Life aside and to take care of You. If you are not ready to make a change in life, it may seem scary to let go for a day.  But if you know something in your life could change, start small. Take half a day if you prefer.  Disengaging from the external stresses to engage your inner self may actually increase your productivity for the week. By engaging in activities that promote being at peace with yourself, you recalibrate and recharge; you feel whole, which promotes positive thoughts, which in turn, promotes healthy behavior.

Suggested Activities for Inner Peace:

Try spending a day engaging in holistic activities such as massages, walking, meditating, and yoga. Think spas and pampering yourself is too indulgent? Studies on massages  found that a single, 45-minute massage led to a small reduction in the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood, a decrease in cytokine proteins related to inflammation and allergic reactions, and a boost in white blood cells that fight infection. Get over any guilt that focusing on yourself is wrong.  Or do an activity that truly speaks to your soul like watercolor, singing, dancing, cooking, writing, or photography.

I know what you are saying, “I enjoy being busy. I like having my weekends booked with activities and errands. TV and movies relax me.” If you aren’t used to taking time that is really just to celebrate who you really are and enjoy the people or beauty around you, then this concept may seem scary. But if you are ready to really connect to your Self in a mindful way (that means not engaging in passive behavior like TV) and feel that “Zen” thing you keep hearing about, I highly encourage you to set some time aside to truly commit to just…..well, Being.

What do you have to lose?