DEV Community

Cover image for "A Day Off Every Week": A Proposal for Breaking the Cycle of Workaholism

Posted on

"A Day Off Every Week": A Proposal for Breaking the Cycle of Workaholism


Are you familiar with the term "Shabbat"? Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, commemorating the end of creation and a day of rest, spanning approximately 24 hours from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. As someone not familiar with the Jewish faith, I understand that during this time, the focus is on avoiding work, while fostering connections with family and friends, engaging in prayer, and sharing meals together from a religious perspective.

Shabbat serves as an opportunity to temporarily step away from daily life, fostering spiritual rejuvenation and deepening family bonds.

Image description

Although I am not Jewish, I came across the concept of Shabbat and found the idea of ensuring "a day off every week, without fail, to switch off from work" interestin. I wondered whether practicing "a day off every week as a complete off mode" could lead to improvements in physical and mental health, as well as enhance life balance. Considering that this idea could be beneficial for everyone, regardless of whether they are Jewish, I decided to write this article.

In this article, we will explore the concept of taking "one day off every week without fail" inspired by Shabbat.

â€ģI would like to emphasize at the outset that this article focuses on productivity and health promotion rather than religious content. While I reference Shabbat in several parts of the article, it is based on what I know, so please let me know if there are any mistakes!

The Concept of "Off Mode": The Importance of Setting Aside One Day a Week to Rest

Many of you are aware of the mental and physical detriments caused by being a workaholic or being overly immersed in work. I, too, consider myself a workaholic, often packing my schedule with work and personal projects, which sometimes leads to excessive fatigue and feelings of inadequacy.

Image description

Listening to the concept of Shabbat, I found two aspects particularly important:

Having a Designated Day Off as a Continuous Routine

It's crucial to have a designated day off as a part of a routine, living with the rule that "you must take that day off." The idea of "resting when tired" or "it's okay to rest anytime" is flexible, but if you're a workaholic, you might tend to dismiss these options when busy. By setting a specific day for rest as a routine, you ensure continuous rest periods. This approach is incredibly beneficial for long-term health and maintaining life balance.

The Rest Time Is a Full Day and Provides a Perfect Break

Even if you are a workaholic, you probably take some breaks, though they might be shorter than the recommended rest periods for a healthy lifestyle. "Taking a full day off" represents a significantly longer time compared to just a few hours or half a day off. It's enough time for a day trip to a hot spring or to visit distant relatives and friends, allowing you to make various plans. It provides pretty enough time for self-refreshment and marks a good division in your schedule.

Image description

What to Do in "Off Mode"

Next, let's consider what to do with the time you've set aside. First and foremost, it's important to "prohibit any work-related activities and thoughts." Shabbat practices (which vary by denomination and community) include restrictions on cooking, shopping, and the use of electronic devices, among many other things.

The reason for these restrictions during Shabbat is not only for rest and spiritual rejuvenation but also for fostering richer human relationships, freeing oneself from materialism, and encouraging personal growth, all of which Shabbat embodies.

However, as this article focuses not on religious purposes but on ideas for improving productivity and health, you should flexibly customize the rules based on your perspective, though completely disconnecting from work is undoubtedly beneficial.

Image description

As examples, activities you can do during "off mode" include:

  • 💓 Relaxation and Recovery: One of the purposes of practicing "off mode" is health promotion, so engaging in activities that relax you, such as sleeping, getting a massage, going to a hot spring, taking walks, or doing moderate exercise at the gym, is a great idea.
  • đŸ‘Ē Spending Time with Family: Use the time to deepen family bonds by going on day trips, shopping, or dining together. This is especially recommended for those who usually have busy work schedules and little time with their families. You have enough time, so visiting distant relatives could also be a good option.
  • 👨 Meeting Friends: If you're a busy person, you might have lost touch with some friends from your school days. Use this opportunity to reconnect by having lunch or tea together after a long time. Participating in Meetups or networking events to seek new acquaintances is also a viable option.
  • 🎮 Pursuing Hobbies: Dedicate time to activities you rarely get to enjoy due to your usual busy schedule, such as day trips, sports, gaming, or reading.
  • 📕 Studying: If there's something you're studying or want to study outside of work, such as pursuing a certification or learning a new language, using this time can be incredibly valuable.
  • ✨ Trying Something New: The "off mode" period is a good opportunity to try things you normally wouldn't. Prepare a pen and paper, make a list of things you've wanted to try but haven't yet, and give it a go. With plenty of time available, it's okay to take your time exploring new activities.

Engaging in these activities can lead to improvements in physical and mental health, productivity, skill enhancement, and the quality of human relationships.

Image description


After trying out taking a full day off several times, I initially felt like I had too much time on my hands and experienced a sense of guilt (I guess I'm a severe workaholic, funny). However, after a few times I tried this, I found that having a day in "off mode" gave me a sense of relief and allowed me to feel more positive about getting back to work the next day. It's hard to explain the change in my mindset, but it's definitely a positive shift, so I plan to continue implementing this off mode as much as possible.

Lastly, while the ideas and concepts I've discussed in this article might differ from their original religious intentions, I want to express my deep gratitude towards Jewish teachings and their practitioners for inspiring me with the concept of Shabbat (I see it as a valuable opportunity to rethink our mental health and work-life balance).

If anyone has tried this practice and noticed any changes, or has done something specific, I would love to hear about it!

Thank you for reading!

Top comments (1)

linkbenjamin profile image
Ben Link

Shabbat is a practice that was adapted from Judaism into Christian tradition as well, and even within my own lifetime I recall when most nonessential businesses in the US were closed on Sundays.

Sadly it's a practice that's gotten lost over the last couple decades - whether you experience it from a spiritual perspective or merely for the reminder & obligation to rest, humans are worse for not building that kind of margin into their lives.

Congrats on finding benefits in it and overcoming the "guilt" - that's a huge win!