A Day of Rest: Part Four, Food Prep

Welcome back to the fourth and final installment of my series, “A Day of Rest.” In Part One we talked about why your family may want to consider a day of rest, once a week, every week. (You can can catch up on part one HERE.) In Part Two we talked about preparing ahead of time for a day of rest, so that it actually happens. (You can read that post HERE.) In Part Three we talked about ways you could spend your day of rest. (You can read that post HERE.)

Today we are going a little further in depth on preparation for your day of rest, which we talked about in Part Two. Specifically, we are going to talk about meals, food, and preparing ahead of time for them. There’s something special that happens when we wake up on our day of rest and everything down to the very meals has already been taken care of. I feel like it makes it exciting and holy to know that when you wake up, no work needs to be done. Kids may get excited to wake up on Christmas Day, but I get excited to wake up on Sabbath. (By the way, you can prepare your Christmas meals with a Sabbath/Day of Rest frame of mind as well.) Read more: Exodus 16:23-24

Day of Rest meals must be planned out ahead of time in order to be successful. We don’t want to be filled with frustration or anger on the day we are supposed to be resting. Remember, you are not simply creating a day of rest for the people around you or in your household, it is also FOR YOU. Planning our meals and prepping for them can be done the day before. As I mentioned in my previous post, I do my cleaning on Thursdays, grocery shopping and errands on Fridays, and meal prep on Saturdays. If your Sabbath is Saturday, just back that schedule up one day to put you on track to be prepared.

What does it mean to have my meals prepped for our day of rest? It means that I have already done the shopping. I already know what we’re going to eat. And I have done everything ahead of time to prepare the meals, except for maybe putting them into the oven or getting the food out of the refrigerator.

Here are some ways that you can prepare your day of rest meals:

  • Select what your family will eat ahead of time.
  • Shop for all of the ingredients you’ll need.
  • Consider freezer meals, the crockpot, or make ahead meals like casseroles.
  • If you’re eating something cold, like sandwiches or salads, cut and slice all of your ingredients ahead of time.
  • Consider a “potluck” meal with other families, where each family contributes a few things (made ahead of time.)
  • Consider using paper plates to serve meals to avoid clean-up. Some people even like to use disposable aluminum bake ware.

Even if your family plans to do something like grill out, it is really easy to prep everything the day before.

Be sure to follow my Pinterest board where I pin make ahead meals and ideas.(Below) If you’d like to share a recipe that makes a great make ahead meal, please leave a comment below.

If you need to catch up or want to re-read the other installments, you can find the links below:

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A Day of Rest: Part Three, The Day

Welcome back to the third installment of my series, “A Day of Rest.” In Part One we talked about why your family may want to consider a day of rest, once a week, every week. (You can can catch up on part one HERE.) In Part Two we talked about preparing ahead of time for a day of rest, so that it actually happens. (You can read that post HERE.)

Today we are going to talk about what a day of rest would look like. We want a day of rest to actually be restful, beneficial, and something joyful that you have to look forward to, not dread, each week. In today’s world we have an addiction to “busyness.” Busyness does not define a successful day, especially one when the goal is rest, so we are going to avoid busyness. Our Rest Day goal is to avoid the association of accomplishment with a completed to-do list. Instead, we’re going to focus on our Day of Rest as though it was a gift, which it is. (Read: Matthew 11:28-30 and Mark 2:27-28.)

When you first start observing a day of rest, one day a week, every week, it’s going to feel like the world is working against you. It is. Be strong, be patient, be persistent. It’s going to be worth it. If your friends and family don’t understand, perhaps even mock your day of rest, be protective of it. You don’t need the approval or acceptance of others to do what is best for you and your family. Your goal for the day is rest, so if including others in your plans is counterproductive to that, don’t include them or let them know.

Today I am going to share a few ideas of how to spend your day of rest. Remember, we are going to avoid work. So if you see something on this list would leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated, or defeated, then that’s not going to be the activity for you. Or maybe, in order to do it, you really need to do some planning and preparation ahead of time. For example: a picnic. A picnic!! Sounds like a fun, relaxing activity, right? Tell that to every mom that’s been responsible for getting their young kids to the beach and making sure they had a blast/got fed/made memories while they were there. That’s not a vacation for most moms; that’s a trip. So what if you are packing a picnic, bringing the Frisbees, hiking 10 miles in, and rounding up the cranky kids to get back home? Alter your plans by packing the picnic the day before, keeping the hike to a minimum, and keeping your expectations lower. If that still doesn’t work, then that is not something you want to add to your Rest Day activities.

Rest Day Activity Ideas

  • Worship with Others
  • Visit a Museum
  • Walk Outside
  • Use a camera to take photos
  • Go on a hike
  • Read a book
  • Play an instrument
  • Do a puzzle
  • Needlepoint
  • Play with a pet
  • Journal your gratitude
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Diffuse oils
  • Write a thank you note
  • Facetime with long-distance family or friends
  • Deliver Baked Goods
  • Take a nap
  • Brew a special tea or coffee
  • Learn a new board game
  • Look at photo albums or books
  • Spend time with an elderly family member
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Watch a nature documentary
  • Go on a picnic
  • Eat by candlelight
  • Sit by a cozy fire
  • Play a card game
  • Watch the sunset
  • Go to the library
  • Visit a loved ones grave
  • Arrange flowers
  • Enjoy a hobby
  • Go for a train ride
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Listen to records
  • Stargaze laying on blankets
  • Visit a local waterfall
  • Plan random acts of kindness
  • Memorize comforting scriptures
  • Try a new restaurant
  • Deliver a meal
  • Tell your kids about when you were young.
  • Ask your parents about their childhood
  • Play charades
  • Research your ancestry
  • Watch family home movies
  • Meet with a small group Bible study
  • Look through an old hymnal

You can download a printable version of Day of Rest Activity Ideas HERE. A pdf file will open in a new tab. You can either print it or save it to your computer.

If you’re looking for more ideas, I have saved a board on Pinterest with even more ideas for how to spend your day of rest. You can follow that board HERE. Side note: many different types of faiths (religions) observe a day or rest, or Sabbath. Jewish, Mormon, and Seventh-Day Adventists are just to name a few. My family does not personally identify with any of those faiths, and observing a day of rest does not mean that you do or do not either. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on how a day of rest would benefit your family’s mental and physical health, reading scripture that supports a day of rest, and spending time in prayer to see what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. You might see Pins on my Pinterest board that mention some of those religious faiths. Don’t let that be a distraction from getting ideas on how to spend a wonderful, relaxing day with your family.

Next week I will be sharing Part Four, Food Prep and Recipes. I feel like that this topic that falls under Preparation (part two in this series) needs more detail, because it ends up taking up a big portion of our day. When one person, or multiple people, in the family spend a large part of their rest day cooking and cleaning up from meals, then they are not able to fully enjoy the rest aspect of the day. See you next time! In the meantime, if you need to catch up or want to re-read the other installments, you can find the links below:

A Day of Rest: Part Two, Preparation

Last week I shared my thoughts on a couple of reasons why it is so important to take a day of rest. One day a week, every week. If you missed that post, you can click HERE, to go back and read it.

So have you decided that A Day of Rest is something that you want to try? Let me begin by confessing something: sometimes (okay more than sometimes) our day of rest fails. As I mentioned in the last post, I am not sharing about a day of rest to give you “rules” or to be legalistic about what can and can’t happen on your day of rest. We do our best to prepare for a day of rest, but if something happens or comes up to derail it, it doesn’t ruin everything. (Read: Mark 2:23-28)

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started!

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

Confucius

In order for you to be successful with a day of rest, one day a week, every week – you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. What happens when we find ourselves with time on our hands (restful, leisure time), and we are not accustomed to it? We start thinking of all of the things we need to get done: the towels we left in the washer, the yard that the HOA is going to send us a letter to cut, the groceries that need to be purchased. Often we use our day of rest as the day to prepare for the week we have ahead, instead of actually resting. That’s backwards. Think of how much better you will be the rest of the week if only you can spend an entire day of rest.

What does it look like to prepare ahead of time for a day of rest? There are a few things that will be common to all of us, but there are some things that will be unique to you and your family. What are you normally doing that day? What would you be tempted to do that day instead of resting? The areas a lot of people focus on when preparing for a day of rest are: cleaning, shopping, and cooking.

If you are working full time, or you have your hands full with kids, you may need to jot down things you normally do on the weekends, and do them throughout the week. If you find yourselves making a list that you cannot possibly get done, and also take a day of rest each week, then you might want to consider that you may be overscheduling things. Maybe you have too much on your plate and you haven’t asked for help. Maybe you need to hire a few things out, or trade some time with a friend so that you can get things done.

In order to prepare my house for a day of rest, I begin preparing on Thursdays. I clean the house (bathrooms, floors, etc). I do all of the laundry that is currently dirty. (There will be more later in the week, and I will do it then.) On Thursdays I also plan out my meals for the week, and on Fridays I do the grocery shopping. I start thinking about our plans for the weekend, and see if there is something special that our family wants to do together on our day of rest. I am also trying to anticipate what work my husband and kids might be dealing with that would interfere with their day of rest. For example, if I don’t think my husband will have time to cut the grass, I’ll take care of it for him. In addition, on Fridays and Saturdays I will start to prepare our meals as much as possible ahead of time, so that all I have to do is put something into the oven to finish it, etc.

Preparing for a day of rest doesn’t need to fall on one person. Different members of the family can help with different things. Maybe your teen wants to plan the meals and create a grocery pick up order. Maybe your elementary kids can fold towels. It’s a group effort, and you’ll all benefit from the day.

If you’ve never observed a true day of rest before, it can take a while to get used to. It can also take time for your family to get on board with you. Don’t give up! Give yourself some grace, and keep tweaking things until they work for you. Once you get into the swing of things, you may want to take steps to make your day of rest more special, or sacred. In that case, you’ll want to set aside time during the week for those extra steps, too.

“Be brave enough to be bad at something new.”

What’s next? You’ve prepared for your day of rest, now what? Come back next week, and I’ll share some ways to spend your day of rest, without crossing over into the work zone again. (Further reading: Matthew 11:28-30)

A Day of Rest: Part One

Somehow we’ve gotten to a point where resting and recharging is looked down upon, as though it is a sign of weakness. We’ve given people (family, friends, clients) 24 hour access to our lives through social media notifications, texting, and email. Who are we kidding…we got the email because we don’t set our phones down for 2 minutes. Right?

Or what about “the hustle”? Now a 40 hour work week is somehow less than “full time.” It’s not enough to have one job, you’ve got to have a side hustle, too. Between work, constantly checking our phones, and the bombardment of “news” media, our brains and life in general never stop spinning.

We weren’t meant to live like this. It’s no wonder that more and more people are suffering from mental health issues. And our immune systems become weaker when we don’t take time to care for ourselves. Worked to the bone? Yikes, not good.

“If you’re tired, learn to rest, not quit.”

So what’s the answer? How do we fix this? A day of rest. Simple as that, a day of rest. One day a week, every week, where you unplug from distractions. One day a week of no working on emails or working around the house doing laundry or yard work. A day to do nothing but rest!

Many people do this because their faith calls them to do it. A Sabbath day is one to worship and to abstain from work. Some people get half-way there by going to church to worship, but then they fall short of the rest portion. The best part! (Read: Deuteronomy 5:12-14)

Even if your faith doesn’t call you to take a day of rest, there’s no denying that it’s a good choice for your mental and physical well-being. But, it’s easier said than done, right? I mean, something always comes up. It’s true, and I am not sharing to be legalistic in any way. In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing blog posts on taking a day of rest. I won’t be sharing “rules” for observing a day of rest, or Sabbath. I’ll be sharing a starting point: How to prepare so that you can truly rest, Suggestions for how to spend your day, Recipes I like to use, and so forth.

If you weren’t raised observing a day of rest, this might be completely new for you. I hope that you’ll come back for the rest of the series. In the meantime, spend some time thinking (praying) about all of the benefits a day of rest would mean for you and your family.

Further reading: Isaiah 58:13-14, Exodus 20:8-11