Q: I have struggled with this for years. My day is 13 hours with my commute. How does one come into keeping Shabbat when you are so overwhelmed and everything is geared for Saturday to be a regular day. Any suggestions welcomed.
A: That is truly the challenge, these days. People are just working and working all the time, and it’s hard to find time to rest. And while this may sound like an overly simplified answer, it really is the key to “successful resting.” You have to plan.
You know what your week is going to look like. You know how tired you are now, and how tired you’re going to be at the end of the week. So here are a few tips to get you from Shabbat to Shabbat.
1. Each day, prepare some element of food for Friday-Saturday so that you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to make to eat. You can make a side dish, some vegetables, a casserole ahead of time so that all you have to do is heat it up later. It will make eating much less stressful. And if you’re cooking during the week anyway, it is really nothing to prepare a little something else for Shabbat.
2. Plan a stopping time on Friday, and stick to it. There is nothing in that additional hour or two that won’t wait until Monday. And when you stop, stop. Don’t think about it anymore. Plan ahead so that you will be ready when the clock hits x o’clock, and you can walk out the door.
3. Look forward to it. God says it’s a time for rest. When it becomes work, it is very hard to look forward to it. Take it as a 24 hour vacation. Attend services, spend the time with your family, read a book, whatever you do, use the time to recharge. That’s what it’s there for. If you don’t, you’re right. It becomes just another day to get stuff done that you weren’t able to get done during the week because of work. That makes it work, and who looks forward to that?
I am sure that if you thought about it, you would be able to find plenty of other ways that you can prepare for Shabbat during the week. It takes a little creativity, a little ingenuity, and a little extra preparation, but in the end it will allow you to come into Shabbat with a right heart attitude, looking forward to meeting with God for a while, and recharging your batteries so that you can face the beginning of the week again with hope, looking forward to the next Shabbat.