It’s Sunday, mid-afternoon. You’re relaxing on the couch at home when suddenly a familiar sense of dread hits you. It’s not all-consuming, but it’s persistent and distracting. Your freedom is threatened before your time off has actually ended.
Sunday anxiety can be debilitating. According to a 2018 study, 80% of Americans worry about the week ahead on Sundays, and it’s not fair that the workweek impedes your free time. However, trying to ignore that fear altogether might actually make Monday even worse.
Mondays might not ever be your favorite day of the week, but taking steps on Sunday to prepare for the next day will help you feel more in control, organized, and refreshed.
1. Prep your food.
Meal planning is a Sunday classic task for good reason. Working a full-time job during the week means you’re crunched for time, and having your meals prepped can free up your schedule during the week. With less time spent cooking and doing dishes, you’ll have more flexibility in the evenings to do other things you enjoy. And it’s no secret that meal planning is an excellent way to budget, too.
With many of us working from home this year, it’s easy to feel we can skip this step with the kitchen so nearby. But no matter where you’re working from, taking time to plan and cook meals on Sunday will make Monday feel less overwhelming. Plus, having delicious food prepared gives you something to look forward to.
While some folks find it useful to prepare a week’s worth of meals ahead of time, you don’t need to make all your weekday meals to benefit from meal prep. Even something simple, like making a few jars of overnight oats, chopping up veggies, or pre-cooking some meat to have on hand in the fridge can make a huge difference, saving you time and money.
If you struggle with this, try making it social; create a meal prep group chat with your friends where you can share tips and recipes, for example. Or ask your roommate or partner if they’d consider sharing the responsibility to make it less daunting. If you’re looking for meal prep inspiration, check out our in-depth guide on the topic here.
2. Spend some time tidying up.
Organizing your space and belongings on a Sunday can make a huge impact on your mindset heading into the week. And while chores can be grueling, if you make them a weekly ritual, you might actually find you crave that refreshed feeling. Keeping a written to-do list where you can physically cross off your accomplishments will motivate you, too.
To ensure you’re feeling calm and collected come Monday, consider the following Sunday tasks:
- Declutter your home: You might not want to deep clean your entire place each Sunday, but take some time to tidy your surroundings. If you work from home, clean up your desk so it’s fresh when you sit down on Monday. Check out our guide on low-effort ways to clean your home for further suggestions.
- Organize your clothes: Sunday is laundry day for many people, and if you’re already cleaning your clothes, why not take it one step further and pick out your outfit for the next day? Laying out your workout clothes is helpful too. If you can eliminate a decision from your groggy Monday morning brain, you should.
- Review your budget: Make a habit of checking in with your finances before the week begins. That way you know whether you need to cut out any expenses for the upcoming week, or if you have extra wiggle room. This is a good chance to transfer any extra cash into savings, too.
- Water your plants: This is a chore that can easily be forgotten, but if it’s on your Sunday checklist, soon it’ll be automatic. Plus, caring for your green babies is therapeutic, it can calm anxiety, and it’s generally good for your overall mood!
- Organize your bags: Whether you use a gym/yoga bag, a purse, a tote or backpack, take a minute to clean out those old receipts, and trash and prepare for the week ahead.
3. Check in with work.
While opening your inbox might be the last thing you want to do on a Sunday, it could help you feel more in control on Monday. For a confident headspace, take even just 15-30 minutes to review your calendar of meetings and deadlines, create a priority list, and scan your emails to ensure there are no anxiety-inducing surprises the next morning. While working on the weekend isn’t ideal, a mere half-hour might make an enormous difference in your Monday mood.
4. Touch base with loved ones.
It can be easy to get caught up in chores on a Sunday, but checking in with your friends and family is a very important way to reset, too. Whether you are coordinating your schedule with a significant other or phoning relatives who you miss, reaching out to loved ones in some way before starting the week can enrich your routine. Plus, you could also use this time to make plans for later in the week, giving yourself a reward to look forward to!
5. All done? Time to relax
Once you’ve checked off your to-dos, it’s time to chill out. Not only will this give you some motivation to complete your list, but it’ll also set the tone for your week. Of course, this will look totally different for everyone. But here are some suggestions for capping off your evening in peace.
- Pamper yourself: Putting on a face mask, taking a long bath or diffusing essential oils are great ways to show yourself some love before heading to sleep.
- Set the mood: Nothing says comfort like a fluffy blanket and your favorite sweater. If it helps, maybe even reserve your favorite cozy clothes for a special Sunday night treat. Lighting some candles doesn’t hurt, either.
- Take a breather: Sometimes the simple act of slowing down to focus on your breath can distract you from the Sunday Scaries. Pop on a yoga YouTube video or calming meditation app prior to bed for a clear mind.
- Turn off your phone: Now that you’ve checked in with work and reached out to loved ones, you can spend time away from electronics without worry. Ditch your phone for the final few hours before sleeping so your mind can reset fully.
Do you have any other tips for Sunday rituals to make Mondays better? I’d love to read them in the comments! For further tips on beating the Monday blues, check out our guide on effortless-but-effective ways to start enjoying Mondays.
Ashley Corbett is a communications professional and freelance writer based in Halifax, Canada. An avid traveler, she recently settled on her native Atlantic Coast where she loves to read, try new things in the kitchen, and get outside. You can learn more about her work here, and can follow her adventures on Instagram @ashley_corb.
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