At the end of October I was having a conversation with my friend Faith, and we were discussing how we did not feel that we were properly taking time off. On our days off we read our e-mail, did a “bit” of work, and felt compelled to respond to calls and requests if they seemed urgent. As a result, we did not feel that we were getting proper rest.
I felt that my days off were so busy that I needed to take days off to recover from my days off, which of course defeated their purpose. When Monday rolled around, I did not feel fully rested.
Faith shared that a few years ago she used to partake in what she called “Wellness Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday she would take time off to spend the day at the beach or something of the sort, and on that day she did not do any work.
I was fascinated, first at the fact that she took time off in the middle of the week, and then that this habit helped her be the most successful she had been in all her career. More importantly, everything in her life went “well.”
How could this be? How is it that a day off in the middle of the week could make someone more productive, more effective, happier, and have improved wellness? Turns out this did not just work for Faith, but Devon Franklin does something called the 7th Day Restart, which he lives by.
I decided to try this myself, and below is what I learned. Faith also decided to bring back Wellness Wednesdays, and you can read about her experience here.
The 7th Day Restart
The 7th Day Restart that Devon Franklin described appeared in an episode of the Dr. Oz show aired on January 12, 2017. Faith recommended that I watch these clips because they described taking 24 hours off every week in order to fully recharge and find balance.
It sounds easy, but it is harder than we think. And, this is why. As Devon Franklin describes, during those 24 hours, we are not allowed to:
- Work- meaning not to do any type of work, including not checking email, not talking about work, and not thinking about work
- Run errands- this includes shopping, dropping a mail off at a post office, picking up dry cleaning, or any little task
- Do housework- this includes cleaning, chores, laundry, and anything else that we need to do at home
- Use social media- not to connect in any way, even if just for a few minutes
All of these activities are draining and stressful. But, how do we do that? We are constantly plugged in and connected. Yet, disconnecting is key. According to Dr. Oz, this day off would help to reduce stress, increase longevity, and reduce weight. That day off allows us to recharge, refuel, and revitalize. Devon Franklin says that this is the only way we can operate optimally for the remaining six days.
But, we are not just meant to sit on the couch and do nothing. During those 24 hours, we are meant to do things to re-energize ourselves. These include:
- Nurturing work- this means working in other areas of our lives, such as spiritual work, community work, or self-development work
- Spend time in nature- I wrote an article about why this is so effective. When we take in the environment and take deep breaths in the outdoors it helps re-start our bodies and reduce stress
- Reading as a meditative exercise- this means focusing on the words that are in front of us. However, we must avoid reading topics that stress us out. Instead, we should read topics that elevate our spirit and bring joy
- Take naps- and not just short 10 or 20 minute naps, but a full 90 minute nap so that we can go through a full REM cycle and fully recharge
- Cook, but not as a chore- Devon suggests cooking with other people in mind, trying new ingredients, and cooking foods that are healthy for us
- Write a destiny diary- journal about who we really are and where we are meant to be going. Writing and visualizing the life we want to live and are meant to live gives more power to it, and makes it more likely for us to act on it and manifest it
How I Prepared
I decided to try this, and as Devon Franklin the first step was choosing a day. For me it was Sunday. Since I was a kid, it is the day that I have seen as a day of rest, so it seemed like the natural choice. I decided to call it my “Serene Sunday.”
The next step was to prepare. That meant taking care of all my work, housework, and errands, so that all I had to do on Sunday was to take care of myself.
Lastly, I needed to plan what I would do that day, whether it was spending time outdoors, focusing on nurturing relationships, picking the book I would read that day, or deciding what I would cook. I already keep a daily journal, which I call morning pages. It’s a stream of consciousness practice that I started a few months ago that helps me de-stress.
On the first Sunday I discovered that I needed to turn off notifications on my phone. I get a notification with every new email or social media update, and of course this would lead me to think about work or others. When I saw the first set of notifications come through in the morning, I quickly turned them off.
Taking one day off a week felt wonderful, but I must confess, preparing for it was more exciting. Knowing that I would have one day where there was nothing I “HAD” to do was novel for me. Getting ready was encouraging and motivating.
My Sundays were still quite busy. I had people over for dinner one Sunday, and really enjoyed cooking for them. I helped my brother move on another Sunday, and felt great because I was doing something for someone else. I was traveling on another one, and enjoyed the sightseeing. Only on one Sunday I was able to have a calm day at home where I spent the day reading. I used to do that often when I was younger, and had not done it in quite many years. It was a refreshing experience!
Despite the activity, I felt rested, and I believe it is because my mind was not engaged in thoughts that brought me stress. Instead, I focused on was in front of me, whether it was my family, my book, cooking, or whatever I was doing.
I will definitely continue with my Serene Sundays. Even when they are full of activity, they have helped me feel refreshed, rested, and re-energized. They have also helped me feel more myself than I have in a long time. I would highly recommend it!
Oz. M. (2017, January 12). Why you should take a day off every week. Retrieved from http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/oz-investigates-will-eating-probiotic-foods-really-change-your-gut?video_id=5278677526001