5 ways to make your summer a sabbath

Most of us do not have the luxury, like our children do, of taking off the whole summer. We have deadlines to meet, dirty diapers to change, duties to fulfill, work. Let’s face it—sometimes summer doesn’t feel like the beautiful childhood sabbatical it once was.

The idea of sabbath comes from the earliest Jews, who took off the seventh day of the week to rest from labor. The Christians have used it to represent Sunday, the day for worship and rest. No matter if we take an official weekly sabbath, few of us would argue the necessity of regular breaks.

Whether we’re stay-at-home or work-from-home parents, or if we have a full-time, outside-the-house career, a few tweaks can make summers feel a little more like the ten gorgeous weeks that stretched out before us as kids.

1. Change your routine.

Summer is the perfect time to do what you don’t normally do. If you normally sleep in right before the alarm sounds or your youngest wakes you, take advantage of early light hours and get up a bit earlier.

Sit on the deck and drink your tea outdoors.

Let your kids stay up a bit later and treat Wednesday like Friday.

Instead of heading to the gym, dust off your bike and ride the trails near your house.

Whatever you normally do, do something a little different.

2. Breathe the outdoor air.

Summer begs us to step outside, dig our toes into the grass and sand, and get some vitamin-D therapy. Pile the kids in the car on a weekday morning or evening and take a slow walk in the park.

Take a picnic dinner to your favorite spot and enjoy the extended evenings. If you’re the mom that doesn’t “get her hair wet” in the pool, jump in the deep end.

3. Do what’s restful.

If reading a novel is the way you rest, do it. If throwing a gathering is relaxing, plan an evening to have all your people over. Or if you need a complete break, schedule time for a long weekend nap. Take a social media break if you need to, and redirect your attention to the things that fill you.

Work some rest into your schedule.

4. Indulge a little.

You’ve eaten healthy all year and you’ve been pretty consistent with your early morning cardio class. If there is any season to do it, summer’s the time for the second margarita or the lemonade cupcake your neighbor just brought over.

It’s time to stay up a little later than normal to watch your favorite movie or binge-watch the last few Netflix episodes of your favorite show.

Summer is the season to spend the money you’ve been saving on those perfect sandals or the pedicure you’ve been dying for. Indulge, just a bit.

5. Prioritize.

Even when we schedule small bits of rest in our summer weeks, we’re faced with opposition. Every project and person still competes for our attention. In order to turn your summer into a true sabbath, decide what’s essential and focus only on that. Those long-term projects might need to wait for the cinched-in discipline of autumn.

How do you sabbath during the summer?

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Sarah Markley

Sarah Markley is a mother of two daughters and lives in Southern California.

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  1. Yay for summer! We purposefully unplug more in the summer…especially on the weekends. And we went on our first family bike ride the other day. My butt still hurts but it was great!

  2. My favorite thing about summer is stepping away from the tyranny of the clock. Just this one little thing is liberating.

  3. Great advice! Going to print it out and post it on my fridge, so I can look at it when I get some ice for my second margarita! :o)

  4. Thank you for what you shared! It’s so good to read a post about summer that recognizes not everyone has the entire summer off. I miss those days of summer vacation so much that sometimes I wonder if I should’ve been a teacher, but I’m also grateful for the work I do. For now, that means just taking a week or two off in the summer when I can, which just so happens to be next week! I’ll be taking your tips with me as I create space for rest and again as the week ends and I enter back into my work routine, with a hint of summer rest thrown in 🙂

  5. I keep the kiddos on a super-strict bedtime schedule during the school year. We all have enjoyed later nights hanging out and sleeping in! 🙂 We FINALLY treated our Sunday as a Sabbath this past weekend and it felt AMAZING while energizing me for the week ahead! Great reminder, thanks for the tips!

  6. I gave up running for the summer. I have been running every other day for the past seven years (minus a break for having a baby). But the truth is I hate it and its a time drain in my day. I don’t know why but I just stopped and went back to walking…which I love. I don’t know if it will last forever but for the summer I am sticking with my running break. I live in the country and enjoy the slower walks. I can hear the birds chirp, watch the grasses sway, and marvel at the changing landscape as the crops grow. It has been wonderful.

  7. Fantastic video, I agree, belgium chocolate is the best on the world (: Eliza..

  8. I am trying to indulge in TIME this summer. They are attending daycamps while I work, but we have ZERO “after school” activities during the summer. This means lazy evenings at home without trying to squeeze dinner in between practice and homework. I’m working in the garden (my place of peace) and they’re roaming the yard with a baseball, hose, stick, or shovel. People have asked me what activities my kids are doing this season and I answer, “They’re doing SUMMER.”

    I was also just talking with a co-worker about grabbing summer with two hands. She’s trying to take as many long weekends as possible, and plan adventures with her husband on her days off. The house projects can wait for winter!

  9. I love this–especially the part about changing up your routine. We don’t have kids, so summer usually feels pretty much the same for us. But this summer has felt so alive for me, for many reasons internal and external, and I’m absolutely loving it. We’ve done some spontaneous things, we’ve done a weekend away, but most of all, I feel like we’ve made time for relationships and rest.

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