Sunday, December 11, 2011
Day of Rest
For years now, the weekends have been my "big chance" to catch up and get all the things done each week that I hadn't gotten done earlier in the week. This especially became true once we began our homeschooling lifestyle. Then, I found all that time I had once had to do things like vacuum, clean, organize, and decorate, suddenly evaporate, taken over by the necessity of juggling math lessons, history readings, and science projects.
We brought more children into our family, the kids grew older and activities were added into the mix, and suddenly, the weekends became a time to stress out, trying to shove 50 hours of duties into a 48-hour span.
A few months back, I realized that I was burning the candle on both ends. I never seemed to have time to relax and just enjoy life without worrying about all I have to do. I found myself trapped in the cycle of thinking: Oh, I'll be able to veg/knit/relax for a while as soon as I get the ironing/mopping/shopping/planning done.
News flash for myself: the ironing/mopping/shopping/planning would never be done. It's like painting the Golden Gate bridge. As soon as I'm done, I have to start all over again.
So, I have now claimed Sundays to be a day of rest for me. God really got that one right, and shame on me for being such a self-asborbed, bone-headed martyr for me to miss out on it for all these years.
I have friends who are Adventists, and they take their day of rest very seriously, to the point of having lists of approved and unapproved activities.
My list isn't legalistic in a biblical/Christian sense. I just more or less took some time to think about what fills my tank and what things deplete me into an exhausted stupor.
Things I'm okay with doing on my day of rest:
* Taking a walk/bike ride/ run if the goal is to make me feel re-energized, or to give me time away from the house. I love to explore the larger neighborhood, looking at landscaping or exterior color design on houses.
* Baking/cooking if it is not done to make the week easier, but instead out of a craving/intense desire and liking of the food.
* Reading a good book
* Enjoying yard or garden work, as long as there is no set work goal in mind
Things that are not allowed and which I gave my husband permission to look me in my bedroom and throw away the key if he catches me being a numbskull:
* Preparations for the week. While it makes me feel more organized in the end, the actual process stresses me out. I have 6 days each week when I can plan and prepare. No one--least of all, me-- is going to die if I skip out on this one day.
* Cooking for the week.
* Exercising to achieve a goal or keep a schedule.
* Reading parenting books.
* Cleaning (except the Dyson. I allow myself the luxury of vacuuming if I am going to sit on the couch and knit, because I don't want a ton of dog hair in my knitting.)
* Ironing or laundry.
I am amazed by how much just one day of doing nothing each week improves my mental and emotional health. And I have found that I get more done in 6 days/1 day of rest than I did in 7 days of feeling tired and sluggish.
The past 3 Sundays consisted of cross-country roadtrips and our dance school's Holiday Performance at a local theater, so my self-prescribed Day of Rest was missed. As such, I awoke on this Sunday morning, feeling panicky and off-kilter about all that needs to be done.
But then I took a deep breath and reminded myself: it can wait.
So, I spent the morning reading in bed, with kids coming in and out to cuddle, look at books, show me their newest lego creation, etc. The Mister is whipping up batches of bagels and English Muffins (because, yes, I somehow managed to score a husband whose biggest stress buster is baking!) and the house smells of a doughy-heaven. It's sunny out and a very warm 38 degrees (I'm not being facetious here. 38 degrees right now feels awesome.) and this afternoon I'm going to take a walk and look at Christmas decorations. And then I'm going to whip up a big batch of my dad's chili (because I want to), open up a cold beer, and watch my 12-0 Green Bay Packers whip some Raider ass with my little boys.