It’s the Monday of a new month. A fresh week in a fresh month!

For many of us, August is a month of either beginning school or getting ready to begin school. It is a month of both vacation and of returning to regular routine. It is, therefore, a month of tension and conflict between these two parts of our lives: summer break & workaday life.

If you’re torn between these two, or are mourning to see the season of vacation fade, take a hard look at your schedule and plan for your workaday rhythm. Is there rest built in? Are there regular breaks scheduled? There should be. We are built to operate in waves and rhythms and seasons, not machine-like go-go-go. Make sure your plan accounts for that and allows time and space for quiet, for renewal, for work of a different kind and at a different pace.

Then, perhaps our sorrow at seeing summer fade will be lessened, because we know there will be time given to proper rest and recovery between the real work and real life ahead of us. Don’t wait for summer to vacation. Set aside daily, weekly, and seasonal times to set aside the schedule and slog.

Perhaps, though, it is not the beginning of a new year that has you lamenting. Perhaps it is instead a regret about a misspent summer break. So many projects, most not done. And now no time. Me, too.

Elisabeth Elliot has a sentence in her wonderful and convicting book, Discipline: The Glad Surrender that speaks to us:

People wish they had more leisure time. The problem is not too little of it, but too much of it poorly spent.

Ah, how that cuts, because it is true. When we do have leisure time, when we do schedule a rest for ourselves, do we spend it doing something that is actually refreshing and rejuvenating? Or do we simply “veg”?

There are legitimate times to veg, I believe. Sometimes that is the refreshing thing to do.

But not usually. Not daily.

Not if our goal is to be able to reenter the day, ready to take all comers because we are well rested.

It might take some experimentation to figure out what is refreshing for you. It’s easy to start with assumptions based on what “other people” do for fun and think that we should do that, too. But if, after spending an hour in said activity, you don’t feel refueled and ready to go at it again, then it’s not a good choice for you. Keep looking.

For example, I have had to stop going to coffee shops to spend my time out, when my husband says, “I’ll watch the kids. You go out.” Shopping is draining and wearisome, I have found. But I love coffee and the coffee shop atmosphere. Surely that would be a great place to take the laptop or a good book. However, I finally realized that I just can’t pay attention to reading or writing while there are people coming and going, music and commercials on the radio, many conversations humming all around me. I return home, still zapped from spending an hour or two tuning out other people – just like I do at home. ;) It seems boring and uncool, but now I go to the library and sit in the very back “quiet area” in front of a window that looks out at the back of the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden. I can read. I can write. I can make lists to my heart’s content.

A walk might seem like a good mid-day break to freshen everyone up – get some fresh air, get some movement, enjoy nature. But if the toddler will fuss about being in the stroller or the preschooler will wander off the sidewalk unawares or it’s 100-degrees outside, it’s not going to be rejuvenating. Maybe everyone doing 50 jumping jacks over the air-conditioner vent would work better. Try to be creative in building in “refueling points,” and ensure that they really do refuel you for the rest of the journey.

It will take some trial and error. Give it thought and attention and as many tries as it takes to discover what fills your well.

As Gretchen Rubin writes in The Happiness Project:

Research shows that regularly having fun is a key factor in having a happy life. […] I needed to take my leisure more seriously. I’d always assumed that having fun was something in my life that would flow naturally.


When I thought about fun, I realized to my surprise that I didn’t have a good sense of what I found fun. Only recently had I grasped one of my most important Secrets of Adulthood: just because something was fun for someone else didn’t mean it was fun for me — and vice versa.

Take the time to find your fulfilling fun, so you can live full and overflowing rather than frustrated and fried.


  1. No, I don’t. But it is something I’m determined to find this year. I can handle organizing homeschool and housework, but I have a hard time getting to any rest or fun for me.

  2. What a great post Mystie! 50 jumping jacks over the AC vent? I wonder how that would register on my Fitbit?

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