How to Survive the Stress of Summer
"The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace." Psalm 29:11 (NLT)
The threat of summer craziness was becoming a reality. I settled in a chair at my kitchen table, surrounded by the clutter of information sheets regarding work obligations, sports practices, mission trips and church activities. Pulling out my family calendar, I mapped out the summer months.
After writing down all our commitments, I stared at the endless scribbles etched across practically every date. We had only one free week during the entire summer. With a heavy sigh and swirling thoughts, I felt a twinge of stress and anxiety slowly rising up in my chest.
I couldn’t help but wonder, Isn’t summer supposed to be footloose and fancy-free? What happened to sleeping in and time to rest and unwind? Are relaxing summer days merely a thing of the past?
Instead, now it seems like summers are filled with days when the kids get bored and whiny, camps get cancelled, work gets in the way of vacation plans, the AC goes out, and traffic is horrendous.
We have more and more days when we lose our patience or harbor a bad attitude, or have had quite enough of "family time." Days when we feel powerless against the exhaustion of our busy schedules and stress rules the roost.
It may seem that easy summers are long gone. However, we can make it through the hectic days and stay at peace despite the chaos. In today’s key verse, God promises He will help us with whatever we face: "The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace" (Psalm 29:11).
There are several keys to God’s peace overriding the mayhem. When we remember to focus on God’s sweet goodness, instead of all the scribbles on our calendar, we can proactively manage our summertime. We can receive God’s calm, even in a busy and sometimes stressful time of the year.
Here are some practical tips to keep summer stress at bay:
- Focus on all the good things God has done for us so far this year, instead of the challenges of the summer months.
- Remain calm and pray for God's peace when the demands of family and life seem overwhelming.
- Ask God to give us rest and strength when we begin to feel stretched thin and worn out.
- Take daily mini-vacations. Try to set aside at least five minutes per hour to stretch and take a break, and stay committed to your time in God’s Word each day!
- When you take days off from your work or daily routine, unplug completely — meaning no phone or emails.
- Keep a checklist or a detailed calendar of all scheduled activities so you can stay organized and less stressed.
- Do something for yourself once a week: take a bubble bath, read a good book, spend time outdoors or take a nap.
Busyness and stress can heat up quicker than the summer sun. But it is possible to stay cool on the inside. Whether we are low in spirit or low in energy, depending on God and seeking a daily infusion of His strength and peace can ensure a less stressful summer.
Dear God, sometimes I allow the chaos of summer to distract me from spending time with You. I neglect to claim Your peace and allow myself to get bogged down with the stressors of the season. I get frustrated with my children, rather than treasuring this time with them. Help me focus on You when I begin to feel overcommitted and to seek Your peace with each rising sun. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 13:6, "I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms — I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers." (MSG)
Proverbs 8:30, "Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence." (NIV)
Consider purchasing Tracie’s book Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World to help prepare your heart for the stress of summer and life in general.
For more tips on having a less stressed summer, visit Tracie Miles on Pinterest and check out her Summer Survival Series pinboard, which offers tips for stay-at-home and working moms, working women, vacation planning, free checklists, back-to-school and college send-off tips and more!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Do the stressors of summer zap your strength and rob you of your joy and peace in Christ?
What can you do differently this summer than you have done in the past to prevent summer stress?