Sunday is one of those special days that is the bridge between the end of the week and the start of a new one. Hopefully, it’s a day where you get to sleep in (unless you have kids, they often miss that memo), slowly sip your coffee while reading the paper and spend most of the morning in your pyjamas.
Come Monday morning you’ll be heading back to the grind of your working and school week, but today is the day where you get to savour that last sip of carefree weekend living.
Wouldn’t it be nice to stretch out that relaxed feeling to the week ahead? Taking some time out of your Sunday to prepare for the week can help take some of the stress out, and helping you return to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on all of life’s challenges. Here are a few things you should try and do on a Sunday for a less stressful week ahead.
1. Create a to-do list
Look at your week and write down everything that you need to get done. Create a "perfect week scenario" which is a plan of what an ideal week would look like for you. Clock in all your workouts, meetings, school drop offs, time for lunch, phone-calls etc and slot in the tasks you need to get done where you have space. If you don't have space then you obviously need to shift things around. Prioritise the most important things and do them first thing Monday morning. It's very easy to get caught up in the not so important stuff first because it's easy, but getting the big stuff out of the way will create less stress in your system because once the big scary hairy stuff is done... it's done. Also, create a little reward system for yourself for getting those things done like treating yourself to a nice dinner out with friends or your partner, or getting a mani.
2. Grocery Shopping
Whether it's Sunday or even Saturday, try to get all your grocery shopping done for the week so that you're not caught off guard or madly rushing around come Monday morning to get things into your kids' lunchbox. Stock up on healthy fruits and veggies, your staples, milk, eggs, bin bags and anything else you might need for the week ahead. When you're not prepared you're more likely to eat out, which can cause you to spend more throughout the week causing unnecessary stress. Have breakfast at home, and the same goes for your coffee. Dropping at least $5 per day can end up costing you big over the whole year.
3. Tidy Up & Declutter
Having clean surroundings has a tremendous affect on your wellbeing. They say your surrounding environment is a reflection of how you feel inside. If your home looks like a bomb has gone off, take the time to sort things out and clean it up. It will have a very positive impact on how you feel inside too. It may be daunting at first, but just start. Pick up all the things that are cluttering up your life, do the vacuuming, dusting, floors, and even the bathrooms. You will feel better for it. I promise. Ladies, clean out your handbag too. Get rid of the crumpled up receipts and junk you've accumulated in there.
4. Meal Prep
Having food in your fridge is all well and good but what is the point if you don't have time to cook it all. Try prepping a few breakfasts, lunches and dinners on a Sunday instead. This is my number one when it comes to reducing stress. Pre-chop some veggies and keep them in glass containers to throw into stir-fries, or roast up big batches of veggies to use as sides or to fill out salads. Cook up big batches of food and pop them in the freezer to use later throughout the week. It will save you time, and the stress of what to pack for lunch or have for dinner the next day. For breakfasts, make some jars of soaked oats or even a big frittata that can double up as a lunch too.
Do your laundry. Wash (and fold) your clothes, sheets, bath towels, school uniforms etc on Sunday. Save yourself the stress of running late to a meeting only to find the blouse you wanted to wear with your cute pants is in the wash. Doing your laundry on a Sunday can also help you plan out your outfits for the rest of your week. Do the same for your workout clothes. That way you just grab and go.
6. Clear out your inbox
If you're like me, most of your Monday morning tends to go towards clearing out our emails. If you have the extra time on a Sunday, use it to clear up your inbox. Get rid of the junk mail, clean out any emails that you don't need to keep and respond to the ones that need responding. Starting Monday with an empty inbox. Ah!
7. Get outside and play
We spend so much of our lives in a fast-paced, technology-packed world. Between work, the commute, taking care of the kids, cooking and cleaning, watching television, connecting on social media, and more, we’re spending most of our time indoors. Use your weekends to clock in some outdoor time. A 2009 study found that nature walks help lower stress levels. A 2013 study reported that taking a walk in a green area can put the brain in a meditative state, with results so profound they showed up on EEG (electroencephalography) recordings. The Japanese have been forest bathing for ages, get onto it and get outdoors.
8. Review your finances
Have a look at your budget and see what major expenses you have coming up throughout the week and month ahead. Are there any dinners with friends or car rego payments due? Were you planning on buying a new outfit? Seeing your big expenses can help you create a budget and prevent impulse purchases throughout out the week. It also helps prevent the shocking surprise of big bills. I have created automatic payments of $20 or $50 towards telephone and utility bills that way when the big bill comes it's already prepaid or there's a small amount remaining. Also, if you haven't created a budget for yourself, perhaps use this Sunday to start.
9. Catch up on sleep
Don't fall into the trap of staying up late on a Sunday to try and extend your weekend. That's one sure fire way to supercharge your Mondayitis. Instead, have an early dinner, read a good book and get to be early. Waking up after a good night's sleep will help you feel more refreshed and ready to face the day.
10. Enjoy yourself
What gives you joy in your life? Make sure to use your weekends for things that make you happy. Your hobbies, your pets, your family, being outdoors, having sex, reading, knitting, cooking ... whatever sets your heart on fire, be sure to do more of that.