by Nancy O Meyer PhD originally published 8/29/18
I know the whole self-care thing is all over the place. Ok, I hear about it all the time and yet I am the worst at doing it. I fill my plate with things I need to do, projects I want to create, lectures to give, books to write, videos to research, script, and edit…you get the idea. I will work myself to death if given the chance. Fortunately, I have a partner who kindly but sternly tells me to stop on a regular basis. I usually don’t listen. The thing is, and I have known this for decades, the body will stop you!
My body just stopped me. I haven’t been nearly as active as I want to be, projects are collecting dust and my ability to focus is crap! I’m tired, in pain, and I can’t eat very much. My body just put the smack down on me, and of course the insurance/medical system is none too concerned about getting this taken care of in a timely fashion, leaving me to wonder just how much Gatorade can I drink before it’s dangerous?
My point here is this. All the projects I’m working on, all the classes I’m teaching, all the stuff I’m doing is supposed to be in service and I cannot be in service if I work myself into an early grave. Judaism has it right here, I think. Shabbat is observed come hell or high water. No ifs, ands, or buts. 24 hours of doing nothing…NOTHING. Ok, they go to temple but we don’t have to do that, and in practice it’s a little more complicated, but the main idea is SPOT ON! We have to preserve a time for ourselves, and we have to be persnickety about it! If it doesn’t help you relax and breathe deeply, it doesn’t happen on your day of rest. Meaning comes not just from doing, but also from enjoying, breathing, baking cookies, making mom happy, petting the cat, and all the other stupid simple things we sometimes take for granted.
So, take a day of the week and take it OFF. Honestly, I’m not sure I can do 24 hours…but maybe 12? It’s all in the baby steps.