The Importance of a Rest Day

                                                      For almost 2,000 years, Western culture stopped — primarily on Sunday — for about 24 hours. Even when I was a child, you couldn’t buy gasoline, you couldn’t buy milk. The drug stores weren’t open. The only thing that was open was a hospital. Even in dairy farming country, we would milk cows, but we wouldn’t bring in hay. Society just had a day where they put it in park (That) was Sunday…until the last 30 years or so. Why do you think taking one day off a week is so important, you might ask? We go 24/7 now, and I think it’s having health consequences. I think more and more, there’s a consensus that it leads to depression and anxiety. It’s interesting, when a doctor sits down and does a primary intake with a new patient, they ask about smoking, exercise and diet, but they don’t ask how much you’re working. They don’t get any sense of if you’re working seven days a week or if you have time set aside — like people have always had — for rest. I think the lack of rest is reflected in our saying, “We don’t have enough time.” I think it’s pretty much generally felt that we don’t have enough time to really get to the things we want to do in life. A “stop day” into your weekly schedule can extend and enrich your life. A day you really cease from your labors. This really comes in Western cultures from the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment tells us to remember the Sabbath. The work “Sabbath” simply means “to cease” — to cease from your labors. Now, the definition of labor has changed over the centuries and the millennia. For some people, resting from their labors might mean resting from their sedentary job that they have, putting on tennis shoes and going for a run. For those who work physically, that would mean coming to rest. I find that there’s a growing epidemic, really, of depression. We’re the most depressed country in the world. The World Health Organization says somewhere between one in nine and one in 10 Americans are being treated for depression. We tend to work more hours than any country in the world; Japan is second closest. We are constantly bringing stress into our life, and the idea of making one day a week a “cease” day is very reassuring for most. Make the time to cease for just one day and feel the difference!