Mini Sabbaths

Jaime VanNostrand   -  
It seems to me that everyone I know is in the middle of a season of almost overwhelming busyness. I myself have often found lately that I am often going in at least 5 directions at once! I wonder if you know that feeling? Perhaps you would find some value in incorporating mini-Sabbaths throughout the course of your week. Below you will find Traci Smith’s instructions for celebrating a mini-Sabbath as outlined in her book, Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home.

“I heard a compelling sermon on Sabbath once that talked about Sabbath as a rhythm throughout life. Just as the Bible commands us to have one Sabbath day out of the week, there are also Sabbath years mentioned. The preacher encouraged us to think also the other way. “Isn’t it possible to have Sabbath hours in our days, or Sabbath minutes in our hours?” This simple idea has inspired me for years to focus on the concept of a “mini- Sabbath.” The idea is to train yourself and your family to take as little as one minute of time to rest and recharge. The mini-Sabbath ideas in this activity encourage mindfulness, which reduces stress and anxiety in adults and children alike.”

Materials: 1. Notecards in two different colors 2. Basket or box for the notecards. Time Investment: Initial investment of 30 minutes to make the notecards.

How To: 1. Make Sabbath notecards. To make the notecards, use ten cards each of two different colors. One color will be for one-minute Sabbath ideas and the other color will be for five-minute Sabbath ideas. 2. Put the basket in a prominent location for use when a one- or five-minute Sabbath is called for. 3. When it’s time for a one- or five- minute Sabbath, pull out an appropriate colored card and read it. Then set the timer for one or five minutes and do the activity listed. 4. Notice how refreshed and recharged you feel! Return the card to the basket or box to come up again.

One-Minute Sabbaths:
• Breathe in and out for one minute. As you breathe in, think to yourself, “I am breathing in God’s love.” As you breathe out, think, “I am breathing out worry and fear.” • Go outside and notice what the weather is like. Is it hot on your skin, or cold? Is it raining or sunny? Notice what the day has to offer and what nature you see. If it is night, notice the moon and the stars. • Write down (or say) three things you are grateful for. • Read a psalm. • Stretch as high as you can and then scrunch down as low as you can. Repeat for one minute. • Take one minute to tidy up some space inside or outside. Notice how a tidier space helps you feel calmer. • Close your eyes and think about a rainbow, a sunset, or other beautiful scene in nature. • Focus on all of the sounds you can hear in thirty seconds. Jot them down, or talk about them with someone else. • Jump up and down for 20–30 seconds. Notice your breathing and put your hand over your heart to feel your heartbeat. • Squeeze hands into strong fists, then relax them. Repeat for one minute.

Five-Minute Sabbaths:
• Read a short poem. I find Mary Oliver, Ann Weems, and Madeleine L’Engle particularly inspiring. • Close your eyes and listen to an inspiring piece of music. • Sit in silence and drink a small glass of ice water. Don’t do anything else. • Do five minutes of yoga. • Write someone a thank you note or email. • Try a finger labyrinth. • Put some essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser and sit in silence, noticing the smell. • Take a five minute walk. • Look out the window at birds or look at a fish tank.”

Visit for template downloads and links to poems or musical pieces referenced in this activity