We are all guilty of setting too-high expectations, especially about our summers.

Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a family holiday, or just more space in our schedules, there’s a lot to anticipate during the summer. But despite the relaxed routine, some years we reach August feeling just as tired and overcommitted as we did in the spring.

This summer, get the most out of your time—implement these four habits into your routine to make your summer count!

1. Maintain Healthy Disciplines

It happens to the best of us.

Maybe it’s grabbing a donut for breakfast every morning or forgetting to spend time in Scripture—whatever our situation, we can all slip into unhealthy habits. We’re especially vulnerable during the summer. Because of the more relaxed schedule, it’s easy to fall into unproductive routines.

This summer, maintain healthy disciplines to make sure you’re entering the fall as healthy as possible. If you don’t know where to start, try dividing your life into three overarching categories: your physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health.

  • Physical health: Take advantage of the long summer days by going on evening walks around your neighborhood or a nearby park. Try balancing treats like ice cream and hamburgers with fresh fruit and seasonal produce—summer is the perfect time to shop local and support your community’s farmers market!
  • Emotional health: It’s easy to let relationships slide during the summer. For your emotional health, make sure to maintain relationships that recharge you or keep you accountable. You don’t have to spend time with people every day—to start, try scheduling a one-on-one meeting with a friend, family member, or mentor every week.
  • Spiritual health: During the summer, prioritize your spiritual health. Enjoy the warm weather by reading your Bible outside, and try setting aside more time in your day for prayer. Look into spiritual retreats or conferences, or listen to sermons and podcasts as you drive—ask God to show you how He wants to spend time with you!

Too often, we put our wellbeing last. This year, practice developing and maintaining healthy disciplines to feel rested, grounded, and focused throughout your summer.

2. Practice Intentional Rest

Even in the summer, rest doesn’t come automatically. We schedule trips, cookouts, and summer camps, and before we know it, August is here and we’re even more tired than we were in June.

Implementing regular rest into your routine is vital. Without rest, we are more than just tired and overwhelmed—we will not live or perform at our best.

But rest means more than taking naps or watching TV. While physical rest is crucial, we also need deep soul-rest, the kind that comes from doing things that you love. Below are three examples of different types of rest, from disconnecting from technology to taking a kayaking trip.

  • Unplug: Screens can easily consume our time, energy, and health. This summer, try disconnecting from screens and social media for one day every week. Instead of interacting with media, use that day to invest in your hobbies or spend time with friends and family.
  • Refocus: At the beginning of your summer, identify the major stressors in your life—you might be able to reduce them. For example, if you turn on the news first thing in the morning, try spending a day without reading or listening to current events. Re-focusing on your immediate environment could help reduce stress and anxiety, and it could make you feel more present throughout the day.
  • Recharge: Consider taking one day, morning, or afternoon a week to do things that recharge you. If you love being active, don’t force yourself to sit on the couch—kayak on a nearby lake, or take a weekend road trip. Alternately, if you feel as though you’re always going places, take time to sit in silence with a good book or your journal.

Ultimately, the way you rest is determined by what you love and what you need. This summer, intentionally set aside time for renewal. When you integrate rest into your routine, you’ll help yourself enter fall as ready and refreshed as possible.

3. Remember to Serve

It’s often hard to find time for yourself, let alone for service. However, during summer, your service might be needed the most—many ministries are at their busiest during summertime, but their support is at its lowest.

Make your summer count by giving back to your community. Here are a few examples of ways you could serve your neighborhood:

  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit: This summer, you could pick up shifts at a nearby soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or thrift store. They will love the help, and you’ll be able to interact directly with your neighbors and community.
  • Lead a Vacation Bible School class at your church: Many churches host week-long VBS programs during the summer, and they need all the help they can get. If you don’t love teaching, most camps require a lot of work behind the scenes, from set design to cleanup crews.
  • Help an elderly neighbor with their lawn care: Warmer weather often means grass growth spurts. Keeping your yard maintained can be time-consuming, especially for the elderly. If you live near older neighbors, offer to help them with their yard care during the summer—mowing or weeding is a simple way to serve and encourage your neighbors.
  • Sign up for a shift at your church’s nursery: One way to support your church during the summer is to volunteer in the nursery. Your service will allow the regular volunteers to take a much-needed rest, and you’ll get to know the families and children in your church!

During your summer, give back to God and your community—service reorients our hearts towards God and our neighbors, and it helps us use our time for God’s glory, not our own.

4. Invest in Christian Community

During the summer, it’s easy to overcommit.

Although many people have some extra room in their schedules, new obligations, events, and trips can quickly fill the space. This busyness can affect our community—when we’re too busy to meet with our friends and mentors, we can burn out by the end of summer.

We need intentional Christian community to keep us accountable and recharged. This summer, set aside time in your schedule for investing in your brothers and sisters in Christ. One of the best ways to do this is to start or join a Bible study.

  • Join a study: Many people travel during the summer, which makes regular church attendance difficult. Additionally, church small groups often take a summer-long break. To continue to invest in Christian community, search your area for a Bible study group that meets during the week.
  • Start your own: If you can’t find a class at your church or in your area, prayerfully consider forming your own. A four- or six-week-long course is short enough to feel accessible, and you might attract more people with a short study than a long one. Invite your friends and neighbors, and reach out to new people in your church—for example, you could invite college students who are home for the summer.

Bible studies are a fantastic way to stay engaged in Scripture and community during the busy summer months. Learn more about starting your own class today!