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Burned out seared tuna and sushi rice

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

Self Care. It’s that thing we talk about after we are already burned out. After we have fallen asleep at the dinner table. After we are malnourished emotionally, physically, and spiritually. After we hit the pandemic wall, then we start talking about women and self-care.

Burnout isn’t just a catchphrase, according to the Mayo Clinic, it can cause excessive stress, fatigue, insomnia, alcohol or substance abuse, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and a weakened immune system. Working moms are experiencing a crisis within the epidemic and it is physically hurting us. Some 9.8 million working moms are suffering from burnout. Working moms are 28% more likely to experience burnout than fathers.

We know we are burned out. But the baby needs a change, we have a Zoom meeting that started two minutes ago, and lunch is burning. So many of us, including me, have been burned out for so long, we don’t even know where to start with self-care.

So we buy things. We are Americans after all. We buy bubble baths. We buy wine. We buy chocolate. We buy magazines. Usually, self-care comes in the form of something we go out and buy – as if mental health is as simple as one more purchase. We just need to buy the RIGHT thing. Maybe it’s tea? Maybe it’s a Peloton. Maybe inner peace is just one more charge away.

But self-care cannot be bought at the checkout line at Whole Foods or shipped via Amazon. It starts with the radical idea that women are people with their own agency and our own selves, not just caretakers. It starts with the idea that we ourselves are deserving of care. It starts with challenging the idea that we should be burning ourselves down in order to measure up. We need to challenge that in our communities, in our homes, and most importantly, within ourselves.

We need to talk about it with our partners and with our kids so that when we fall into those mind traps of guilt they are there to remind us of our innate self-worth and to remind us that we must take care of ourselves in order to take care of them. Jewish Women International has a wonderful campaign called Shmor L’Amour — combining the Hebrew word for “Preserve” and the French for “Love” —and is encouraging families to talk about how to have healthy relationships and healthy family lives with over Shabbat. You can print out these conversation cards to help get the discussion started around the table.

As Shabbat comes I am trying to focus on my own health as I prepare for the next phase of my life. This week, I spent an hour dancing by myself to music from my college days while my husband did bedtime. I took a walk by myself in the woods and stared at the beautiful winter camellias. I called an old friend just to catch up. I insisted on it. When guilt crept in, my husband insisted on it. We all benefited. It’s a start.

This Shabbat, I urge you to do one thing just for yourself. Spend an hour listening to music alone. Take a nap. Make a recipe. Go for a hike. Meditate. Read a chapter of that book that’s been languishing on the coffee table for a year. Call the friend you miss. Toss aside any guilt. Center on yourself for one of the 25 hours of Shabbat and do something that makes you feel nourished.

Cooking Shabbat often makes me feel spiritually nourished and at peace. Especially when I am cooking something beautiful and easy, like this Seared Tuna with Sushi rice. It’s easy, healthy, and beautiful. Tuna steaks come together quickly, cooking for only a minute or two aside, leaving plenty of time for you to take an hour to focus on yourself.

Find the recipe here: Seared Tuna with Sushi rice

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.


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