Do you sometimes feel like your life is scripted? The same old routine: work, kids, laundry, meal prep. Sometimes I think how nice it would be to have the whole summer off, just like our kids do.
While we probably can’t swing taking off the whole summer, what if we, as parents, allowed ourselves to have a mindset of summer?
What would it look like if leisure were not an activity for the weekend or an event like a multi-day vacation sometime toward the end of August, but something that we could cultivate and integrate throughout our week? It would be a midday pause to become refreshed so that we could live fully in our lives.
In our Jewish rhythm, a summer mindset, or a pause, is inspired by Shabbat. (Of course nothing can replace the immersive experience of a full 25 hours of pause from Friday night at sundown to Saturday at nightfall, but a mindset inspired by Shabbat can give us a taste!).
Unlike other kinds of fun, a summer mindset inspired by Shabbat, is connected to how Shabbat is referred to in the book of Exodus. It’s written: Shabbat V’ayinafash. Literally: “It was Shabbat and God rested.” (Exodus 31:17)
More figuratively one can understand that our souls come alive because of the rest that takes place on Shabbat.
With Shabbat as our inspiration, the pause we seek during the week is different from other forms of entertainment, or escape that we might turn to.
When trying to create this pause we might need to ask ourselves:
Does this leisure activity energize or deplete me?
Does it give me true rest or is it an escape?
Here are some of my ideas around creating a summer mindset inspired by Shabbat, please add your own!
Set aside sacred time in the evenings (for a two hour period) when all screens are off.
Invite your family members for a surprise trip outside in the evening to watch the sunset.
Go on a night walk to see the stars.
Have a late afternoon impromptu picnic.
Sit down in a chair and drink your favorite cold drink for 5 whole minutes.
1. How might you categorize your leisure activities? Which ones help you escape your reality and which other ones help elevate it?
2. What is a small step you can take to bring a “summer mindset” inspired by Shabbat into your days throughout your week?
Whatever you choose, just like Shabbat which comes every week, try to make a practice of bringing a summer mindset consistently to these next weeks so you can feel its effects.
Happy beginning of summer and blessings on the journey,