Labor Day has come and gone, marking the unofficial end of summer. The changing seasons mean saying hello to the school year, busier schedules and less time for play. Just writing about it is making me wish it was June again. But here are a few simple ideas that are helping me get back into the swing of things.
Changing Seasons Idea #1: Re-establish routines.
Summertime upset our normal routine. Our daughter was home from college (which we loved), but it added another driver with an entirely different work schedule to the demands on our car. Meals with the family were hit-and-miss, and it seemed like MTV was playing all day long.
Vacation and weekends out of town made our normally healthy diet a little less healthy, and the heat was a good excuse not to exercise. From diet to exercise to spiritual discipline we slacked off a bit.
With the start of the school year, our schedules become more routine. We wake up at the same time everyday and eat meals together in the evening. We’re eating better (because we’re planning our meals better), exercising more routinely and falling into more regular church routines.
Changing Seasons Idea #2: Be with family and friends.
With vacations and irregular schedules, you may have fallen out of sync with family and friends. Fall is the season to be intentional about getting together with others and investing in your relationships.
We’ve made plans to visit our daughter for a day at college and we’ll start having people over for dinner more often. Think about the people that you enjoy being with the most and set a date to get together. Capitalize on the changing season to do something new together. For instance, we’re planning to join friends at an upcoming Oktoberfest.
Changing Seasons Idea #3: Try something new.
Predictable routines are good for healthy living. But monotony isn’t good for the soul. Use this new season to try something new. Take a course. Join a club. Volunteer. The possibilities are endless.
We’ve set a date to hike our first “high peak” in the Adirondacks. It’s a few weeks away, but it’s something to look forward to when things get stressful at work or the weather starts to look grim. Not a big time or money investment, just a day with family, hiking to the top of a mountain or two.
Changing Seasons Idea #4: Plan some time to play.
We don’t need to stop playing just because summer is over. There will be less time outdoors as temperatures cool, but fall is the season of harvest. Make time for activities that can only be done in this harvest season. Pick apples. Carve pumpkins. Go leaf peeping. Celebrate the harvest season with a “farm-to-table” dinner with friends.
Changing Seasons Idea #5: Remember the God of all seasons.
Don’t forget the God of all seasons as you re-establish routines in your diet, exercise and relationships. The Psalmist reminds us of God’s authority over all creation in Psalm 74:16-17:
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.
Take time to wonder at God’s creation. Spend time in silent prayer and meditation. Just be with God, and don’t allow this season’s busyness prevent you from the spiritual disciplines and routines that bring you health and wholeness.