I’m not sure about you, but when I think about ways to relax, I think back to summers when I was a kid. I remember long hours at the pool, laughing with my friends, staying up late, and sleeping in. My best memories consisted of time with my family, befriending my siblings, and learning how to cure boredom. Summers were what every kid dreamed of all year long, yet most of what we did, was mostly free.
Summers were busy, but they were also filled with the kind of rest that rejuvenated my soul. They were simple, focused, carefree, and marvelous. With a little effort, we can harness the fairly inexpensive magic of childhood and actually relax this summer.
Here are five mostly free ways to relax this summer.
One of the easiest things you can do to find relaxation this summer is to put down your phone. Be present in the moment. Focus on what’s in front of you. Set healthy boundaries between work and home to maximize your time off—and rest, with your phone down.
2. Take in God’s artistic work.
It’s hot most places. I get it. But you can beat the heat and enjoy some of God’s most beautiful spectacles each day by getting up early or staying out late. Watch sunrises, sunsets, or stars twinkling. You can do it alone, with your spouse (stargazing is a date if the kids are asleep, right?), your children, or friends. Take the time to deepen your relationship with those around you or grow closer to God.
3. Keep it simple.
You don’t need a Pinterest-perfect party to have fun or find relaxation this summer. Spend your days off this summer playing. Get your friends and find a pool, a splash pad, a lake, a sprinkler in a backyard, and just have fun. Remember what that’s like? Remember when you knew how to actually relax in the summer?
Nap when you’re tired. Eat when you’re hungry. Wear sunscreen and repeat as much as possible. If you have kids who make having fun a bit more challenging, get creative. A $1 spray bottle and squirt guns keep younger kiddos busy for bursts of time long enough for you to sit down or join in on the fun.
God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 MSG
4. Take time off.
It doesn’t matter what you do or whether you opt for a staycation over an orchestrated trip. Take some time to reconnect with God and double-check your priorities. When we were kids, relaxing during the summer was natural because we had a break from our schoolwork. While it may take more coordination (and time away from work) as adults, our souls will thank us for it.
5. Don’t forget about church.
When our schedules and routines change, church sometimes falls to the bottom of the priority list. But missing church means missing out—on hearing from God and his truth, on connecting with our community, on worshiping God for the many ways He’s blessed us and sustained us throughout the week. When we remember who God is and who we are, we’re better equipped to rest in the knowledge that God is always looking after us.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:9-10 NIV