How to Practice the Sabbath as a Student
For Christians, the Sabbath is an important day that is set aside specifically for rest and worship. But Sabbath can actually be a very beneficial practice even if you are not a Christian; it’s important to set aside intentional time to rest and take care of yourself. For anyone, this can be a very difficult discipline to practice. As a student it can be even more complicated. In this blog I’m going to highlight ways to make it easier to practice Sabbath as a student:
Start Small: You don’t have to choose to practice the Sabbath for an entire day. It can seem very stressful and overwhelming, especially as a student, to commit an entire day to not doing work. If the idea of taking off a whole day is stressful to you, start small. Maybe you can practice Sabbath for half a day, or maybe five hours is about as much as you feel like you can commit to. That’s totally fine, choose the amount of time that you feel is reasonable for you to start at.
Practice Time Management: A major reason that practicing the Sabbath has been something I have struggled with is that I tend to procrastinate and put off my work until Sundays. But, I know if I plan ahead I can adjust my schedule to fit it in. If you are worried about not having enough time to do homework, plan your schedule ahead of time, at the beginning of the week. Adjust things around so that you know you will have time for rest. If you make it a commitment for yourself it’ll be easier to shift things around and feel motivated to get your work done before hand. Plus, you can practice the Sabbath any day of the week that works best for you! It doesn’t have to be a Sunday.
Practice with Friends or Family: As Christians we are called to live in community. Observing the Sabbath with others is a great way to develop community. Getting together with your friends or family for Sabbath can also help hold you accountable, and they can be someone to pray with during the day, if that’s how you want to practice rest and worship.
Practice Prayer: Practice prayer or meditation to make use of your time during the Sabbath. Taking a relaxing day to watch Netflix is a good use of your rest time, but if you’re religious, the Sabbath should be also used to reflect and sit with God. Centering Prayer is a great meditative option. Sit for about 20 minutes with your eyes closed, in silence, and clear your mind. When you find your mind wandering, think of a word that will pull you back to stillness. “Be still” from Psalm 46:10 is often a phrase that I use. There’s a lot of research into centering prayer and the positive effects it can have in someone’s life.
I hope you make use of some of these tips to start practicing the Sabbath. Student stress can be very overwhelming, but trust me, practicing the Sabbath will be a great influence on you and your mental health.