Life without rest is unsustainable

Image: Ilham Rahmansyah

Processing a really tough year

This last year has been tough. Due to my wife, Rachel, having post-viral fatigue, I’ve been running the home and looking after my two young girls, on top of working a full time job. The hardest part — other than seeing Rachel suffering — has been the loss of any me-time.

It sounds selfish, but we can only give out to others from what we have. If we don’t look after ourselves, before long we won’t be able to look after others.

As an introvert, the toughest thing — and it’s taken me six months to realise this — has been the loss of time to just be. By myself. I need time alone to read, write, reflect — or just watch exactly what I want on television.

This year I’ve not had that. The weekend used to be a source of replenishment. I’d get enough time by myself to recharge for the week ahead. But with being solely responsible for looking after the girls, keeping on top of household chores, and trying to care for Rachel, I’ve been getting to Monday feeling shattered before the week has even begun.

It’s taken a while for this to all catch up with me, but lately I’ve been having a least one day a week where I feel extremely down. Not depressed, but definitely low and weary.

And so these last few weeks I’ve been desperately trying to carve out me-time. Like never before, I need time each week that feels different from the rest of my week. That difference is where I get refreshed.

This, I think, is what ancient writers meant when they wrote of sabbath (as opposed to the moralistic understanding many of us hold). And my life — for reasons beyond my control — has not had enough sabbath in it this year.

Thankfully, as Rachel is now starting to recover, the pressure is easing up and I’m starting to get some me-time.

As things improve, it has reminded me how — though periods without rest may be enforced in some seasons of life — life without rest is not sustainable.

If this year has taught me anything, it is to make sure I do whatever I can to make sabbath a reality in my life. Though there may be times, like this year, where things are outside of my control, when it is within my control, I have to choose sabbath as a way of life.

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