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A FRESH APPROACH TO PESACH PREPARATION

By: Ellen Geller Kamaras



Pesach 5778 arrives early this year, on March 30th. This is an even more important reason to practice more mindfulness than usual in our Pesach preparation and reduce Pesach Overwhelm.

For Jews, Passover equates to springtime. Spring connotes gettingoutdoors and seeing things bloom, including our spiritsand happiness levels. The only caveat is that springtime brings Pesach, which can involve lots of extra labor and stress for women.

Many studies have concluded that women excel at multi-tasking and being strategic, and are better multi-taskers than men. That said, it doesn’t mean we need to go into overdrive and burn the candle at both ends in our Pesach prep. Nor does it mean that we have to do spring cleaning. So, how can we stay mindful, plan our tasks for the Hagin a meaningful, enjoyable, and reasonable manner, and avoid pushing the panic button?

So, how can you achieve these goals?

By practicing Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

The opposite of mindfulness is mindlessness or “being on autopilot.” When we prepare for Pesach on autopilot, we set ourselves up for Pesach Overwhelm. That means being exhausted at the first Seder and being unable to fulfill the mitzvah of reciting the Haggadah and educating our children about Yetziat
Mitzrayim – “And you shall tell, v’higadeta, your children on that day . . .”
(Shemot: 13:8).

As a life and career coach, I believe that to successfully achieve a goal it helps to break it down into small actionable tasks or chunks. So, here goes:

The first step is getting aware.Let’s be realistic. Passover is only eight days. It is not necessary to turn our entire houses upside down and inside out. Yes, it is an extremely significant holiday; so let’s focus on fulfilling the mitzvotof the Hag. Don’t get stuck in doing exactly what you did last year or the year before. Why not shake things up and work smarter not harder?

Closely related to awareness is self-care.As the backbone of
our homes and Jewish life, we women need to be cognizant that self-care is key. That means putting our own oxygen masks on first, i.e. if you run out of oxygen; you won’t be able to help anyone with their oxygen mask. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be there for the people you love.

Please don’t work on Pesach tasks for hours onend. Get out into nature for a half an hour, walk on a treadmill, close your eyes, listen or meditate to some calming music, treat yourself to a smoothie or coffee, or check in with a friend.

Declutter.While you are preparing for Pesach, keep an eye out for clutter. Decluttering your space helps to declutter your mind. For example, if you spot broken toys or games your children no longer play with or broken gadgets or appliances that you have accumulated and never fixed or used for spare parts, now is thetime to get rid of them.

Streamline your Passover items.First thing is to go through the storage containers, closets, and cabinets where you store your Passover dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. Are there items you bought for Passover that you never used or haven’t used in years? If your answer is yes, decide whether you need this item during the year or is it time to donate it or throw it out.

Follow this rule when you are putting away your Passover supplies after the Hag. Label your storage containersclearly so you will easily find what you need next year, and don’t pack up things that you will not use in the future.

Keep your Pesach menus simple.It’s only eight days of Hag!
My rebbetzinreminds me that there’s no need to cook new gourmet dishes or buy new cookbooks every year. Nor do you have to cook/bake mock hametzdishes such as Passover rolls. Doesn’t it make more sense to eat the matzah in its natural form? Isn’t matzah what you think of when someone says Pesach? Imitation hametzdishes such as waffles, pancakes, and bagels are quite pricey.
Be mindful about your budget. Make a list before you go shopping
and avoid impulse buying. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on a Hol Hamoedfamily outing?

Ask for help.Our children and husbands aren’t mind readers.
Let your husband and children have skin in the game and feel proud that they helped you prepare for the Hag.

Ellen Geller Kamaras, CPA/MBA, is an International Coach Federation (ICF)
Associate Certified Coach. Her coaching specialties include life, career, and dating coaching.Ellen can be contacted at ellen@lifecoachellen.com (www.lifecoachellen.com).