Ah Summer. It’s a time for lazy days, sunny weather (hopefully), barbeques with friends, evenings outside, and reading books in your favourite spot. No one wants to do anything that takes too much effort, we like relaxing summer activities. So how do you know your precious summer is going to be relaxing and refreshing? Well, I’ve curated a list of fun things for restful and reviving summer days. Things you can listen to, read and make. I promise if you are feeling the need for slow summer days that take no effort but still refresh your soul, then these are little effort guaranteed. Enjoy!
Some links are affiliate links which doesn’t mean they are dodgy, it means if you happen to click and buy I get a small commission at no cost to you and it would help me create more content for you.
Summer can be full of long car journeys or lazy days on the beach, when you want something to fill your mind and soul with all the good stuff. This year I have discovered a new love for the podcast. Picture sitting on the porch, beach, or being in the garden, earbuds in whilst catching much-needed vitamin d, this is one of my favourite relaxing summer activities. These are my podcast recommendations for soul refreshing.
The Next Right Thing by Emily P Freeman
She calls it the podcast for anyone struggling with decision fatigue, second-guessers, the chronically hesitant or just those who are a little overwhelmed. It’s a place for those who need white space, a few minutes away from the stream of information or sometimes delightful hum of entertainment. The episodes are only 15 minutes long, but each one is a little gift, even if you don’t think you have any decisions to make right now.
“If you’re in a season of transition, waiting, general fogginess or if you’ve ever searched “how to make a decision” on the internet, listen in as best-selling author and host Emily P. Freeman helps create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love.”
This summer I’d suggest starting with Episode 40: Keep your rest.
KXC is a church in Kings Cross London, the podcast is their Sunday sermons. I’ve loved the series on emotional health which starts with ‘Becoming Your Authentic Self” 17th June 2018 and is still ongoing. Another favourite was one titled Kingdom and Culture by Mark Sayers.
On being with Krista Tippett
I’m not a regular listener to this podcast but I loved this episode. Krista’s voice is very soothing and I tend to fall asleep too easily when listening to podcasts, but this episode with John O’Donohue is worth staying awake for!
“Beauty isn’t all about just nice loveliness, beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming, so I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.” John O’Donohue was a priest and a poet and here he talks with Krista Tippett on the inner landscape of beauty, It’s just a beautiful, enlarging conversation with depth.
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
I also loved this conversation between Father Richard Rohr and Oprah called ‘Finding Your True Self’ on the Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast.
iola bloom playlist
iola’s new issue is coming in September! Whoop! This coming issue has the theme of bloom and so we’ve created a themed playlist that goes with the theme of the articles. Have a listen before the magazine is available here. If you don’t have Spotify, here is a list of the songs to use in your favourite music player or app.
and the previous playlist is still worth listening to:
Having listened to the iola playlists, you’ll want to read the first issue of iola magazine – it’s still available both as a print copy or digital. It’s been described as a breath of fresh air, it will inspire you with stories of hope and courage from women just like you, it has beautiful photography which is a feast for the eyes, simple creative prompts, and poetry. It’s the magazine I wished I had ten years ago on the beach – and there is no article telling how to get a beach body, I promise. Buy your copy here.
I have a pile of books on my bedside table that I’m looking forward to getting into over August, but here are some previous favourites that will refresh you.
I read Soul Keeping a couple of summers ago and loved it, but I may pick it up again this summer.
This is a beautiful and short read, The Way of the Heart, which is exactly what you need in summer.
I will be reading this summer:
Surprised by Oxford, I’ve started this but it’s one to read in lengthier chunks so I will be setting aside some afternoons to finish this one. I’m familiar with Oxford so it’s always interesting to see another person’s experience and story based in a familiar place.
I love a good John Grisham! This one is waiting for me, I’d love to know what your favourite author or type of novel is. For me it’s often a crime novel, I love a story where the mystery is solved, there is always a sense of intrigue and I have an internal love for justice being delivered.
I just ordered Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller which I’m looking forward to, I like the sound of this: “Ultimately, this book is an invitation to those who long for rest but don’t know how to make it a reality. Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through.”
I promise I’m not going to get complicated here, you know I’m all about preaching that creativity doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are my simple ideas for relaxing summer creative activities.
When I was little my mum used to encourage my brother and me to make holiday scrapbooks. I think it was probably the teacher in her that wanted us to do something that resembled homework! We’d always be looking for things to put in our scrapbooks. We’d stick in postcards and food wrappers and write a diary of our days. Very educational. I think my favourite part would be looking for foreign food wrappers that I’d want to stick in the book, especially if we were in France. Usually the cheese ones. I never found any of those funny or rude ones where the foreign word means something different in English though. You know, the crisps labelled ‘poo’ or something. I digress. That was the beginning of my design and magazine obsession clearly. These days it seems a little quaint, but I think encouraging the kids to write and keep memories or just to keep a book that shows their creative endeavors and progress is never a bad thing. Maybe you could even start writing a line a day through the summer. It’s the perfect slow summer activity that will keep the kids busy at least until that ice cream truck comes around AGAIN. (funny story – when our kids were little we told the kids that the ice cream van’s tune that played out in the street was the angels. Mainly because we didn’t want to be nagged for ice creams every evening and we thought it was cute. I know, bad parents. It didn’t last long though, they soon figured out that their parents had lied to them – so maybe don’t do that!)
Maybe you could even start writing a line a day through the summer.
This Wellbeing journal looks great and it’s been developed in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, each page of this journal has been thoughtfully crafted and it includes activities, colouring, drawing prompts, contemplative quotes and lots of space for you to write about your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Print your photos! We hardly ever do now, do you? Photos sit on the phone or on facebook so that every so often facebook creates a video with you and that friend you made in primary school with some random photo selection! Have you ever had that? Well in summer I try to make a point of printing some family shots. Some of my favourite memories of the fun outdoors stuff we get to do. My top tip though is to print the magnets not the prints, because – it’s Summer, and who has time to frame prints? Print magnets for your fridge instead. Job’s a good un.
If you use the Lalalab app on your phone you can order your magnets straight from your phone – it’s so easy and there is a £10 offer code here for you. (only available until 21st July) Use code PG2559O0 for £10 off your first purchase.
Whatever you are up to this Summer I hope you have some fun, and some time for rest that is refreshing.