You know what they say: A Sunday routine keeps the Sunday Scaries away. While that isn’t actually a saying, it should be, because the right routine can make your Sunday so much more enjoyable and set you up for a productive week ahead.
No matter how much you love your job (or if you don’t work outside the home, no matter how much you love spending time with your kids), it’s normal to feel a little bit of dread on Sundays as you realize that the weekend is wrapping up and the next five days will inevitably be filled with a bit less play.
You can ease those feelings by setting up a really solid Sunday routine. While routines are highly personalized, you can start with this sample one and build on it to craft a routine that works for you and your lifestyle.
Try to wake up early.
While it can be tempting to sleep in on Sundays, waking up early can set you up for a productive, anxiety-free day — and it will help the weekend feel a little longer. If you have kids, waking up before they do can be especially empowering. Use that time to journal, meditate, read a book, or engage in some light exercise like yoga or a morning walk. You shouldn’t think of this as “productive” time, but instead as a time for self-reflection and calm.
Eat an energizing breakfast.
If you’re used to pancakes and bacon on Sunday mornings, try switching it up and filling up on something that will energize you. Heat up oatmeal, blend up a green smoothie, or simply eat eggs instead of pancakes. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!
Make a plan for your day.
A lot of people spend Sundays curled up on the couch, enjoying being “lazy” before Monday rolls around. While we’re all for doing this once in a while — is there anything better than a cozy winter day when you don’t get out of your pajamas? — it shouldn’t be the norm. Instead, make a plan for how you’ll spend the rest of your day so you don’t get stuck dreading Monday. That’s how the Sunday Scaries start!
Making plans to do something fun on Sunday can help you reclaim the day for yourself.
Get lost in a fun activity.
As mentioned above, it’s important to do something fun on Sundays if you really want to stave off the Sunday Scaries. We often reserve the “fun” part of our weekend for Fridays or Saturdays, but that really shouldn’t be the case. Sunday is a day off, too! Here are some fun potential Sunday activities:
- Go for a hike
- Get brunch with friends
- Check out a local museum
- Take a long walk around your neighborhood
- Paint, draw, or get lost in another artistic activity
- Go to the movies or see a show
- Get your nails done
- Exercise in a way that brings you joy (not something you’ll dread!)
Make your to-do list for the week (and schedule in some fun).
Many of us start getting anxious on Sunday nights because we feel overwhelmed by the week ahead. By making a to-do list, you’ll be able to organize everything on paper and see that your week might not be as intimidating as you think it is. And be sure to schedule in a fun activity or two — making plans on Wednesday night can be a great way to break up the week.
This doesn't have to be a full-blown meal prep where you get all your meals ready for the entire week, but if the "what's for dinner?" question tends to spike your cortisol, try doing some light meal prepping on Sunday nights. This can mean chopping up vegetables or preparing one easy, go-to meal that you can reach for during the week.
Engage in a fun, out-of-the-ordinary wind-down activity.
We all wind down in different ways, and you may have a solid routine in place that you engage in most nights of the week. Think watching an episode of a show before taking a shower and getting into bed with a book. Make this activity a little different on Sunday nights to make it feel “special.” Maybe you recap the events of the weekend with your partner, or call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Shaking up your evening routine — as long as it’s still calming! — can be a refreshing way to spend Sunday night.
Be strict about sleep hygiene.
Sunday nights are famous for tossing and turning. In fact, “Sunday night insomnia” is a well-known phenomenon. Our sleep schedules tend to get a little wonky over the weekend because we stay up later and sleep in more (this is another reason to do your best to wake up early on Sundays!), plus many of us are plagued with worries about the week ahead.
So while it’s always a good idea to practice good sleep hygiene, this is especially important on Sunday nights. Get in bed at a reasonable hour, keep your phone (and any other technology) out of the bedroom, and make sure your bedroom is cool and dark. You might still experience a little bit of tossing and turning, but hopefully it won’t be as bad — and you’ll be able to wake up on Sunday morning full of energy.What does your Sunday routine currently look like? Let us know in the comments. And while you’re at it, here are 51 fun writing prompts for when your journaling practice needs a shakeup.