Opinion: “Shomer” your health


Compiled by Jessica Gallo

Jared Schreiber, Reporter

When you think of the benefits of Shabbat observance, you might think of things that are religious in nature, like a closer relationship with G-d. But observing Shabbat has other benefits that you might not even realize, such as reducing your stress and improving your productivity.  

While I did not always observe Shabbat, I thought that I needed to take some time to disconnect from technology after COVID-19 began. The result was that I was able to spend time doing things that I didn’t prioritize when technology was available to me, such as reading a book and going outside. Surprisingly, after doing those other activities and being away from electronics, I felt less stressed.

Not only did being away from electronics allow me to destress, but it also allowed other students to do the same. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that students who had lower levels of stress spent less time on electronics. This is likely because the students were able to engage in more stress-relieving activities when they were away from electronics.

Despite the relaxing activities that you can do when you’re away from electronics, students might think they need electronics for homework. However, doing work on Shabbat shouldn’t be necessary. The CESJDS handbook states that a student doesn’t need to work on Shabbat. While I understand that teachers sometimes assign too much work, I hope that with proper planning you can experience the benefits of not working for a day.

Sophomore Aiden Melkin, who is a practicing Orthodox Jew, has been observing Shabbat for a long time and feels that not doing work has helped him destress.

“It’s just a day where I can say, ‘I don’t have to worry about whatever school work I have until Saturday- night Sunday,'” Melkin said. “I can just take a break, spend time with my family and go to synagogue.”

Not only has this idea been experienced anecdotally by people like Melkin, but it has also been studied. A study conducted by APA published in Inc. magazine concluded that vacations can help people lower their stress and anxiety levels by removing them from stressful activities, such as doing work. 

And vacations don’t only reduce stress; they also increase productivity. A study done by professional services firm Ernst & Young found that their employees were 8% more productive after receiving an additional 10 hours of vacation time. 

If you let it, Shabbat can act as this vacation. It is a weekly, unique opportunity to mentally remove yourself from the stressors of life, giving you the ability to focus on other activities.

For those of you who are unable to give up working on all of Shabbat, I challenge you to reduce your load to the necessities. In doing so, you will have some time for other activities that will help you relax and recharge for the week ahead.