the lost practice of resting one day each week

currently, leo babauta is hosting our guest post at zen habits titled “the lost practice of resting one day each week.” check it out. it is a practice that our family has worked hard to incorporate into our lives and never regret. we are confident that your family would benefit from it too.

if you are visiting becoming minimalist from zenhabits, welcome.

we used to be a typical, suburban family of four living in vermont until a conversation with our neighbors two years ago turned us on to the simple lifestyle of minimalism. since then, we have encouraged hundreds of thousands of families around the world to give simplicity and minimalism a chance.

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in february, we just released a new e-book: simplify. 7 guiding principles to help anyone declutter their home and life. the book lays out the 7 most important lessons that we have learned during our journey towards minimalism. it is a rational approach to minimalism designed to make the principles of simplicity attractive to the masses. it runs $9.95. and we think you’ll enjoy it.

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Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    Great post. Believe it or not, some of us actually do rest one day each week … literally.

    Observant Jews spend Friday night and Saturday refraining from work, watching TV, driving, talking on the phone, using the computer and more, instead spending time with family, going to shul, learning, eating and resting.

    I didn’t grow up practicing this way, but as I grew into it, I realized how big of an effect it actually has on the way you live your life. It’s that one day per week (every week) where you know you can get into bed early, you don’t have to worry about what’s happening at the office, and you focus on the important things in life: your family and your values.

    It’s not for everyone, but it certainly does a lot of positive things for you.

    (PS – when you unplug for that one day per week, you also realize how unimportant some of the little things that bug you day to day are — the things that seem important at the time, but in perspective, rarely are. This is worth it by itself.)

  2. says

    Hey—besides Jews. Seventh Day Adventist rest on the sabbath in accordance to the old testament… and if you look up research on longetivity and quality of life in the WORLD… adventists are always in the conversation. I highly recommend folks to read Wayne Muller’s “Sabbath”

    It has great ideas and exercises to integrate rest into your spiritual or work experience. Great stuff!

    • di says

      I used to work 3 days a week and comfortably managed on a small income. My 4 days off consisted of one day for indoor chores, one day for outdoor chores, one day to run errands and one day off to do nothing (if I was lucky).

  3. says

    This is a good post, but what is rest exactly?

    Lying in bed all day is ultimate rest. But not particularly appealing. Social events work for some but are draining for others. I’ve often wondered what to do on ‘rest’ days. I usually just read (read things unrelated to ‘work’ days if possible), or play computer games. Things that work the mind a little, but are not too strenuous.

    You’re definitely talking to me in that post. I can barely spend a lunch break away from my desk without feeling guilty. Tell you what. I’ll take Sundays off work for a few weeks, and see how it goes. If it’s good enough for Da Vinci maybe it’s worth a try!

    • says

      I totally agree with your comment – what is rest exactly? I could lie in bed all day and not feel rested. But I could spend a whole day gallivanting about downtown Toronto with my friends and family and feel exhilarated and rejuvenated.
      Thenix and I have been planning a major 1 year road trip to South America right now and rest is an ephemeral concept to us. We do not have time to rest, but that means we are burning out. Taking out even a few hours on the weekend just to stare at the walls even is important when you are going a 100 miles per minute.

  4. Robert Seymour says

    Fantastic post. I find it far too easy to feel guilty for any time not spent on BirdBreath. It totally consumes me, and in ways, (thanks to this post) not in my best interest.



  5. says

    Congrats on the guest post at Zen Habits! I completely agree with your article and have tried to apply the idea to my own life as much as possible. It’s amazing how much more productive I am when I take the time to NOT be productive (if that makes any sense).

  6. says

    I’m seventh-day adventist myself and can attest to the wonderful blessings of practicing the Sabbath. As noted above, there are various studies and books out there, namely “The Blue Zone,” that attest to the longevity of adventists as a people group because they seek simple lifestyles, eat healthy, and practice the Sabbath. Everyone should try it from Fri sunset to Sat. sunset. Amazing. Beautiful.

  7. says

    Hi Joshua,
    I’m an Aussie gal who listens to podcasts from Liquid Church in New Jersey. Pastor Tim Lucas does a fantastic series on Margin which looks at the subject of rest (as well as other things). Just thought you’d like to know- it’s a series that I’m sure you’ll enjoy too.

  8. says

    This is something I am struggling with and I know I am less productive by not resting properly but when you “work from home” as I do it is so hard to leave the laptop alone. Note to self; Must try harder!

  9. Kate says

    In Switzerland, although I may not vote (yet), I often catch wind of a debate to allow stores to be open on Sundays. Currently the only thing permitted are for stores to open with reduced hours if they are in a main train station (Genf, Luzern, Zürich, etc.) or during the Advent season. (Ugh. I HATE shopping in December. I have Christmas purchases finished by the end of October to avoid the obnoxious “buy me! buy lots of me” advertising.) Naturally, the push for this motion comes from the merchants.

    I am against stores open all week–employees need a rest, too!! Besides, anyone can take a quarter hour each week at some point or another to write up a list of what needs to be purchased, and then find the necessary hour (I shop with 2 young children now, and walk–it used to take me 15′ with the bike…) to get said essentials. If something is forgotten, well then: there’s the list to write it up, and was it really that necessary anyway, or can one wait until next week? Makes for a less stressy day for me, only shopping once. If I–scatterbrained artist-type with a chaotic household (slowly being decluttered, mind you) and two pre-K children–can organize this while working 2 days a week, I’m sure anyone can.

    Sundays is Holy Day for us–always have been, and we respectfully restrain from work. Besides, even GOD rested on the seventh day, and we don’t have his unlimited reserves… :D

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