In a society where we are constantly plugged in (addicted to every text, Instagram post, and ASOS sale) sometimes a girl just needs to shut off for a day! Let me be frank: I am probably the most addicted of all of you. I go to bed most evenings with sore thumbs and tight wrists from constantly double tapping from scrolling through Instagram. Even worse, I have an Apple Watch now, which means that I never miss anything… Not even a single step, literally.
But, there are times when I do take time to shut down, which is why I am writing to you today and sharing my best practices for separating time. You may be thinking, WTF is separating time?! Or, that concept is impossible. No sister, it is not.
The biggest lesson Judaism ever taught me was to separate time. To chill out. To breathe in. To relax my mind. To soothe my soul. Shabbat is the most important lesson a girl in our generation can learn from. Shabbat teaches us how how to pause and appreciate the world, ourselves and others. And more of us need to take advantage of this day of rest - it is our g-d given right, after all.
Ilya and I used to be way more religious, but as we became more relaxed, I realized that without Shabbat I was less productive during my weeks. When we became non-observant of the sabbath, there was no time to separate work from my own personal life. I was manic, constantly planning things and constantly talking about problems at the office, plans with friends, you name it. My mind was always on. I never had a moment to restart, pause, and hit the “refresh” button.
So, as time passed I found other ways to keep the Shabbat vibes alive. Especially in the last year! As I closed one chapter of my career and opened another, I started using time separation through Shabbat as a way to keep my mind focused.
This is where my Shabbat Ritual comes in and why I think every Millennial or Working Girl needs a lil’ Shabbat in their life. To start, Fridays are called Fri-YAY for a reason. What I notice is that many of us take the stresses from our 9-5 job into the weekend and we cannot enjoy the glorious time off like we should. This is why having some sort of ritual to separate your time is extremely important for your mental health.
If you are a newbie to the notion of separating time like I was, beginning with Shabbat is a great starting point. (p.s. And no, I’m not talking about going all out Rabbi. I am saying to use Shabbat as a start and end point to your week, like our people have for centuries.)
Here’s a beginners guide to bringing the peacefulness of Shabbat into your life, even if for only 15 minutes.
1. SET ASIDE 15 MINUTES ON FRIDAY
On Fridays after you’ve come home from work, set aside 10-15 minutes. Find a special, quiet place in your home. For those of you who do not normally light candles on Friday night to welcome Shabbat, set a daily reminder on your phone for a time late Friday afternoon or early Friday evening. You can also use a Shabbat time app as well.
2. GET OUT YOUR SHABBAT SUPPLIES
Depending on your traditions or observance level set out the following items:
2 Small Tea Light Candles
A Smudging Herb (I prefer Sage)
An Essential OIl (I prefer Lavender for its calming elements)
3. FIND YOUR “SPACE”
Keep your Shabbat Ritual items in one place. I keep mine in a bowl on my window sill. It is a constant reminder that I am slowly earning my week. Then, when Friday comes, a transition of time will occur. My Shabbat Ritual Bowl reminds me that there will always be Friday.
(Some of you may stop reading here because I am mixing our religion with smudging ceremonies, but it is okay, this is not for everyone. This is for what I like to call the Modern-Day-Millennial-Working-Jew-Ish-Girl who just needs a bit of break before happy hour or a dinner party with friends.)
4. GET INTO POSITION
Once you’ve set out your items, find a pillow or comfortable position to sit in. I am sometimes at my kitchen table or on my floor. This is where you will begin to practice separating time.
5. MEDITATION TIME
Now, begin with some deep thinking. Take a few breathes in and think about the past week. What did you accomplish? What made you proud of yourself? Is there anything you’d improve on? (You can even journal this for yourself, which I highly recommend).
6. JUST BREATHE
Breathe out. You are letting go of the week. Take time to smile. You have earned the weekend and G-d is giving us rest. It is your time to enjoy life as you see fit.
7. SAGE IT BABY
If you are into smudging ceremonies this is where you should light your sage and gently take a few moments to cleanse your mind and the space which you are in. Burning sage is an ancient Native American tradition meant for clearing space and spiritual purification. I burn sage to clear my moods and set the tone for the weekend. Whether I had a fabulous week or a shitty one, I want my weekend to be a new space of time and I think sage represents this.
8. LIGHT YOUR SHABBAT CANDLES
After my sage has begun to burn I begin the Shabbat ritual of lighting the candles. For those who are not familiar with the candle lighting ceremony I have included a breakdown below. For me personally, I light my Shabbat candles and take a moment for myself. I keep my eyes covered and try to connect with G-d and my soul on a deeper level.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה אַדֹנָ-י אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ
Transliteration: Baruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav Ve-tzi-va-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Sha-bbat Ko-desh.
Translation: Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the holy Shabbat.
9. SAY A BLESSING FOR YOURSELF
If you are new to this aspect of the ritual, after your candles are lit and while your eyes are still covered, say a blessing for yourself. Look deep within - now is the moment to connect with your hopes and dreams.
10. RELAX GIRL, YOU MADE IT TO ANOTHER NEW WEEK
Finally, after my candles are lit, I rub a bit of lavender oil on my wrists and breathe in the refreshing and calming scent. I know my week has begun again and the weekend will be filled with happiness and peace for me. I thank the world for the past week’s lesson and look forward to the coming weeks.
For anyone that actually read this entire post, Mazal Tov and Shabbat Shalom beauties. May you find enough inner peace to be your most fabulous self and have a fabulous week.