A Moment of Peace: Why I Take Sundays Off

Editor’s Note: While this article contains discussion of a topic from a religious viewpoint, Her Campus Kenyon is not affiliated with any one religion.

Author’s Note: I write this article as a Christian, and it reflects some Christian ideas. However, I truly believe that the concept of a sabbath or a “day off” is beneficial to everyone.

On any given Sunday, someone stops me at brunch to ask about my plans for the day. I anticipate confusion when I reply that I have no plans. I take Sundays off every week, forgoing the crowds in the library for a day of quiet time, reflecting on the previous week and anticipating the week ahead. In my routine, the whole week turns around the still point of Sundays. For me, most Sundays involve taking a walk, calling friends, yoga, church, and painting my nails while watching TV. Or they involve none of these things, and I spend the day in and out of bed, immersed in a book or catching up on the news. On Sundays, I try not to do anything that I don't enjoy. That means as little homework as possible, and it means relishing the rare feeling of boredom that seems like a luxury.

A sabbath, or a “day off” doesn’t have to fall on a Sunday. If you feel too busy to take an entire day off, you could start with just an hour or a half-day. Additionally, the Sabbath isn’t designed to make you holy (I don’t think any less of my Christian friends who don’t have time for a day off); it’s designed to make you feel at peace. It’s one of the easiest Christian doctrines for me to explain to people because, honestly, most of us don’t allow ourselves enough time to rest (and I don’t mean sleep).

Making time for a day off might seem impossible, and I don’t want to give off the impression that I’m somehow not a stressed college student. Like many Kenyon students, I have the tendency to pack my schedule to my breaking point. I decided to try Sundays off last year, but I had committed to so many different organizations that I had to question what to let go of to stay afloat. However, taking Sundays off forces me to become more organized during the rest of the week. Using Sundays as a reward for completing my work motivates me because I can see the possibility of rest. It also makes me more willing to tackle my homework when Monday comes.

Taking a day off has always meant sacrificing something else, and sometimes proves impossible. Sometimes Wiggin Street Coffee needs me for an extra shift or I have a required screening for a class or I just don’t finish my homework by Saturday night. And that’s OK. However, planning for an empty Sunday gives me extra time to tackle these projects. It provides a cushion of time that whatever I don’t finish can spill into. When an unexpected commitment comes up, I have some free time to fill.

The concept of a Sabbath is, to some, as old as the world itself. I advocate for it as a Christian, but I originally learned about it through growing up in a Jewish family: as a child, my mom would always tell me that boredom and rest helped your brain. My parents, no matter how busy their work schedules became or how they felt, took the weekends off to spend time as a family. My father, even as he battled cancer, took Saturday mornings (the Jewish sabbath) to take me out alone to a local cafe for a pastry so we could talk about how our weeks went. This tradition made me feel valued, and has taught me to value myself.

Over time, taking Sundays off has forced me to trust God instead of trying to work myself ahead of the week to come. Counter-intuitively, taking a day off has made me less stressed. It has given me an entire day to step back and focus on the bigger picture.

I often still find myself reading and writing on my “day off,” which reminds me of why I came to Kenyon in the first place. On Sundays, I find myself looking around as I walk outside. I engage more in conversations because I have nowhere else to be. Most of all, I feel a peace that I often forget about in the busyness of the week. Through this peace, I feel God’s love and come a little closer to seeing beyond the day-to-day struggles and meaningless stress of the week. Sundays remind me, if only for a day, that I am OK; that I have done enough. They allow me, briefly, to stop the cycle of trying to prove myself. They remind me, more than anything, that I am loved. 


Image Credit: Lena Mazel