I could actually feel the tense muscles in my shoulders relax with every mile the boat inched away from our host country. When we lived overseas, we needed to leave the country every three months to renew our passports. At first it was a complete pain, but eventually it became a blessing.

On this particular visa run, we were headed to a little island for the day, part of a neighboring country. We’d exit the boat an hour later, on a white-washed island that hoisted a different flag and spoke a different language. An afternoon of lying on the beach, eating the local food, and hitting up the market for goods unsold in our host country, we’d re-board the boat and head home.

I remember the fog lifting and my body relaxing just from this few hours of escape.

As a family, we’ve taken these life experiences to heart and still live them out here in the U.S. We love going on little day trips, taking weekend getaways, or even giving each other occasional days of alone time in order to stay strong and correct our focus.

Today on my blog, I’m sharing how I’m taking an online break for six weeks this summer. I do this every year, and it’s proven vital to my health and my family’s sanity. But even if I weren’t a full-time blogger, I’d still take an intentional break.

The summer is a great time to set aside our usual rushed routines and embrace a slower pace of life. The kids are probably out of school, and we can pare down their extracurricular activities.

But grown-ups sometimes need a “summer break,” too. I’m not talking a full three months of eating popsicles and watching The Facts of Life reruns (or maybe that was just me)… I mean a deliberate mental break from the craziness of life.

Here are a few ways you can join me in taking a “summer break” over the next few weeks:

• Get out the calendar with your spouse and schedule a few days for each of you to have some alone time. If you don’t plan it, it probably won’t happen.

• On those alone days, do the things that refuel you. For me, it’s usually a lot of hours reading and journal time at a coffee shop, then a little working out, and sometimes exploring a few thrift shops or bookstores. For Kyle, it’s going hiking out in the middle of nowhere.

• Read a novel, cover to cover, just for fun.

• Make working out a regular part of your routine. Rewire your brain to think of it as a treat for yourself, not a chore. (I’m preaching to myself here, see.)

• Call up a girlfriend and go see a movie. Or grab coffee. Or both.

• Go on family walks after dinner.

• Explore some craft ideas on Pinterest—and then close the laptop, get out your supplies, and actually make something.

• Bike anywhere less than two miles away. Invest in an inexpensive basket so you can go to the grocery store, too.

• Head to the library, and just explore.

• Institute a daily afternoon quiet time for everyone in the house—including you. Take a nap every now and then.

I know I’ve said it, but I’ll say it again—if Susanna Wesley, 17th century mother of 19 kids, managed to find some rest, we 21st century gals can, too. The story goes that when she’d pull her apron over her head, the kids knew to be quiet. She was getting some alone time to pray. We can, too.

How do you plan on finding some rest from the busyness this summer?

By Tsh of Simple Mom

  • http://ajoyrenewed.blogspot.com/ Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    I love this idea. Such a good reminder! I just had my first child (she is now 6 weeks!) and while I am now a full time homemaker I do feel it is important for my sanity and mental health to schedule some “summer break” time in my days. I hope to read a few books and take regular walks around the neighborhood. Starting now!

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      Congrats on new parenthood! Definitely a must time to take a break.

  • Shandra

    Love this. Resting is a regular must. Thank you for writing about it!

  • http://www.madeforreal.com Kerry @ Made For Real

    Time away with hubby, for sure. Kids spending time at grandparents’ for a couple weeks. Read, read, read. Earlier bed time needs to become a must for myself this summer! And yes, some sort of exercise routine that is doable and enjoyable. :)

  • Chelle

    Thank you! I have been struggling with this for the last 2 weeks……feeling overwhelmed and under-charged because it’s summer and there are kids here all day every day (my part time job is teaching kids and I watch a couple kids at home to make ends meet, too!). I think it’s time I let go of the idea that the house needs to be cleaned every day, and remember my mind and body needs some love, too!

  • http://www,funkyfaithgirl.com Leigh

    I love that Tsh! Good for you, and I’m amazed your working on a new book already. ;)
    I cut back on all of my online commitments for the summer and I already feel better. I’m just crafting, painting just for me, and writing when my heart is led. My family is already loving me not on the computer :).

    Thanks for the great reminder.

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      Oh goodness, this book has been on my to-do list for years already. It might seem like I just wrote a book, but it honestly has been awhile. :)

      Your summer sounds lovely!

  • http://shellywildman.net Shelly Wildman

    Yes, yes, yes!! Last summer my husband had the distinct blessing of a 4-week sabbatical from his job. We rented a cottage on a lake for the entire month and just rested. Needless to say, it was wonderful. This summer he doesn’t have four weeks off, but did manage to get two weeks back-to-back, so we’re headed back to the same cottage. We cannot wait! And the best part? No internet! :)

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      Oh wow, sounds amazing! I’ll take a lake cottage any day.

  • http://www.annaradchenko.net Anna Radchenko

    great post. thanks for sharing!

  • http://facebook Liz

    And don’t start to actually wear yourself out before taking your health and well being seriously and giving it priority, also once you learn this as a habit don’t let it fall to the wayside or let others resentment steal it or your joy – our lifestyles, our decisions, or spiritual contentment can be an inspiration so ‘guard your hearts for out of it spring a wellspring if life’.
    Beautiful blog today but so happy you will take a break .. may God bless this time for you and yours.

  • http://www.thoughtsinterrupted.net Cari

    I love this post (and the one on SimpleMom as well). I respect and would love to emulate your decision to step away for six weeks in terms that translate to my life. It’s so healthy and also so undervalued in today’s terms.

    Between the words you’ve shared and Renee’s words at FIMBY lately they have my full attention. We’re coming off an incredibly busy couple of weeks on top of an also very full school year at home (most of which was self-induced if I’m honest).

    Everything within me knows I need to put on the brakes. My plan is to ride out the rest of what we’ve committed to and then find some space to regroup heading forward….beginning next Tuesday. :)

    Thank you. I hope that these six weeks grant you the space to be creative, to live well alongside your kids and husband and to fill your lungs with deep and rich summer air.

    Take care.

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      “Everything within me knows I need to put on the brakes.”

      I know exactly what you mean, Cari, and this is exactly how I feel. Thanks for your kind words, and may you find rest this summer as well.

  • http://www.santabeso.com La Donna

    I’ve already mentioned this in a comment at SM, but our family is taking a workation to CA for my husband’s work.

    This has been absolutely THE best thing for us EVER!!!! It has given us an amazing perspective on life. One of those things is- we need to rest more, and we need to help one another as a married couple to let the other parent just have a break.

    Yesterday he took the day off so that we could celebrate my birthday. We went to Malibu and had lunch by the sea, and then went to the Getty Villa. It was amazing. He took the kids so that I could look at pieces of art and actually read about what I was looking at. I felt like a new person after we were done.

    I completely agree with you on this Tsh!! BTW I cannot wait for your next book to come out!!!!

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh Oxenreider

      Aw, thanks, La Donna!

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  • Queen Mary

    I have a bit of a forced rest this summer, I’ve just lost my job. My salary has always been the primary, or largest salary in the home so it had a significant shock component. We realized though, that my severance package is very generous, our kids are grown and well settled in their lives, so we are treating what started as a hardship as a blessing. DH is a teacher and his summer begins next week — this will be the first time in our 32 year marriage that we will both be home! (Well, except the 2 week paternity leaves he was able to take back in the dark ages). He is VERY GOOD at taking the summer to relax so I hope to take his lead and just dance.

    • patty

      My husband lost his job of 17 years last summer. (Business closed the doors). we have 4 kids at home and one with need of some therapies ($$) Be prepared for some great lessons from the Lord! I was blessed with a new found freedom in spending (and saving of stuff in case of a rainy day)) – I think I was most surprised with the lessons He has taught me and certainly blessed!

  • http://myhometableau.com Johanna

    Tsh, These are great ideas! LOVE them! I am definitely going to implement a few of them. This summer we have put a weekly time away for me and it has made a huge difference. Just a couple of hours does wonders! Have a great break!

  • patty

    I really need this! 4 kids, preschool thru high school and homeschooling, therapies, sports, couponing – I find myself so hyped up I don’t know how to sit still anymore! Without “permission” to take some time, I am sure I just won’t do it…..and even with a plan to get some down time, I am still uncertain it will actually happen! I better start out small :)

  • Beth Williams

    Rest is also important, even if you don’t have kids. Sometimes life can get busy with just getting up early, exercise, housework, driving to work, errands, commitments, etc.
    Love the idea of date days with hubby alone. I will try to schedule one a month with him.

    Great Post!

  • http://www.redeemingthetable.com Kamille @ Redeeming the Table

    Great ideas to slow down. Bellingham boasts of slow & take it all in during these summer months.
    Ben and I celebrated 10 years this past week, but he planned a day long extravaganza for us in early July (I’ll be about 35 weeks pregnant then). We have another planned getaway for the night while the girls enjoy G&G.

    I have an all day ladies excursion. It’s interesting when having a summer baby (both of mine were winter), because it is like living each moment to the fullest, my carpe diem summer. During the days also taking in sunshine when we get it with the girls. Read some, write some & then labor.

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  • http://cookingatcafed.com Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D

    Such a good reminder!
    Summer are my busy time at work…but we cram some days in. Three day weekends here or there can make all of the difference.

    I love to get lost. Literally. In the days before GPS systems I would simply drive till I was in the middle of farmland – the intersection of corn and soybeans. Then, I’d find my way home.

    I just love falling off the map.
    ~ Dana

  • http://www.heritagebarnmarket.com Pat

    For the last 5 years I have had the priveledge of having a job where I have had both July and August off (not so great on the budget tho). I’ve loved being able to travel, hike and play with my family and friends. It’s been busy but I’ve headed back to work revitalized and ready to jump in to work once again in the fall. This summer is very different… I started July off with abdominal surgery and have a complete R & R recovery time of 6 – 8 weeks…. At 10 days in I’m still in the twice a day “nap” mode but just so thankful to be able to rest and completely slow down…. time to think, reflect, and renew both body and spirit…. Not sure how I stumbled onto this site but it is perfect for where I am right now :)

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