Five simple ways to make your summer a sabbath

Most of us do not have the luxury, like our children, of taking the whole summer “off” from life. We have deadlines to meet, dirty diapers to change, and duties to fulfill. Let’s face it, sometimes summer doesn’t feel like the beautiful sabbatical it once was when we were kids.

The idea of sabbath comes from the ancient Jews who took the seventh day off from labor and work. The Christians have used it to represent Sunday, the day of worship and rest. Whether we take a weekly sabbath or not, few of us will argue that taking a break once in awhile is an unnecessary thing.

Whether we are stay-at-home moms, work-at-home parents, or have a full-time, out of the house career, a few simple tweaks can make our summers feel much more like the ten gorgeous weeks that stretched out before us when we are kids.

1. Change up your routine.

Summer is the perfect time to do what you don’t do during the rest of the year. If you normally sleep in right before the alarm goes off or your littlest person wakes you up, take advantage of the early light hours and get up a little bit early.

Sit on the deck or porch and drink your tea outside. Let your kids stay up a little later at night and treat Wednesday like Friday.

Instead of taking that class at the gym for exercise, dust off your bike and ride the bike trails near your house. Whatever you normally do, do something a little different.

2. Take time to breathe the outdoor air.

Summer just begs us to step outside, to dig our toes into the grass or the sand and get some good old fashioned vitamin D therapy (with sunscreen, of course). So pile the kids in the car on a Thursday morning or a Tuesday evening and take a slow walk in the park.

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

3. Do what makes you rest.

If reading a novel is the way you rest, do it. If throwing a party is how you relax, plan a Sunday afternoon to have all your favorite people over. Or if you {like me} need a complete break, schedule in time for a long weekend nap or time away from the kids or work.

Plan a vacation or a staycation, but either way, take a break from the grind of the rest of the year and work some rest into your schedule. Take a social media break if you need to, and redirect your attention to the things that fill you rather than take from you.

4. Indulge a little.

Okay, okay. You’ve dieted all year and you’ve been pretty consistent with your Wednesday early morning cardio class. If there is any season to do so, summer is the time to have 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 on a Saturday morning. 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. It will make you feel like you’re 12 again.

5. Prioritize.

Even when we try to schedule in small bits of rest into our regular weeks, we come up against opposition. Every project and person seems to compete for our attention. In order to turn your summer into a Sabbath, figure out what is important to you and only focus on that. The long-term projects might need to wait for the cinched-in discipline of autumn–at least for this year.

I know that as adults we don’t get a summer like we did when we were kids. But hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas that can help us all create a couple months of rest and joy in a busy year.

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Sarah Markley

Sarah Markley speaks regularly for conferences, MOPs meetings and church groups. She also writes for (in)courage and A Deeper Story. Sarah has two daughters, a husband, a dog, and a cat, and lives in Southern California. You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

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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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