Whether you practice Orthodox Judaism and pre-rip your toilet paper or just take a day off from work and focus on pleasure, “honoring the sabbath” is an important part of weekly life. Unfortunately, I did not do a good job of honoring the Sabbath this past year and it seriously negatively affected my happiness in all aspects of my life.
It was partly due to the fact that I am an overthinking, overachiever perfectionist and partly due to a new position I got at my school with zero prior knowledge and very little help. This perfect storm of increasing responsibility, little extra pay, and frantic last-minute jobs broke me down. I woke up most mornings not wanting to go to work, not because of my AP Art History or Humanities students, not because of teaching, but because of everything else that was thrown at me daily.
Towards the end of the year I really started to lose it and I was crying and miserable every week. I was unhappy with everything and even lost enjoyment in my favorite past-times. Something had to change, pronto!, before I just got up and quit my job and went to live in a tent (I was close!).
Read about the negative effects of the American workaholic lifestyle on the JSTOR Daily Blog: “Deaths of Despair”: What’s Really Killing Americans.
And then something changed. One Sunday morning I woke up and refused to look at my phone or computer for emails, I refused to grade (although there was a mountain I needed to do), I didn’t do anything that I didn’t want to do. And guess what, I was happy! I woke up the next morning ready to go to work and even though things still went wrong at school, I didn’t freak out or breakdown, I smiled and let it roll off my back.
By honoring one day of the Sabbath, the other 6 days were completely different for me. So even though it is the end of the school year, I am trying to take this to heart and fully “honor the sabbath” in my way. To all those workaholics out there, nothing is as important as you. Take care of yourself and your family first and really nothing else matters besides that.
7.1.17 UPDATE: I left my old school that was greatly contributing to these stresses and starting a new one this fall. I am optimistic I can regain that work/life balance I so crave.
11.12.17 UPDATE: I have continued to feel the sense of peace I sought in making a change in schools. I feel balance with my professional and personal life.