Without too much thought, what’s your favorite day of the week? Your least favorite? Chances are you answered Friday and Monday. Sandwiched in between those days is that wonderful thing called the weekend.
But sometimes the anticipation of the weekend is lost in reality. It always goes super fast, and despite your best intentions, Sunday ends up jam-packed with all the household tasks that there wasn’t enough time for during the week. Then it’s thinking forward to the week ahead with doing the laundry, ironing clothes, and food shopping. Little wonder that with all that catching up with the past and looking to the future that we don’t ever get the chance to live in the present!
That feeling of impending doom and gloom we get on a Sunday even has a name. In fact, the Sunday blues are so prevalent, there’s a Wikipedia entry on them! However, there are some simple things you can to change how you feel about Sundays so they become the best day of the week. Here’s how.
Set yourself up during the week for a truly relaxing weekend.
Don’t take work home with you unless you absolutely must.
Make a commitment that from the moment you leave work on Friday until you return on Monday that you don’t check your work email, or at the very least, you don’t respond to it.
Follow daily routines so everything is running smoothly in your home.
Do your housework during the week in small blocks.
Make the old Sunday your Saturday. Often your Saturdays already have commitments such as children’s sports. These wipe out a big chunk of Saturday morning. Since you’re already out and about, pick up your groceries, and do any errands you have to do.
Know yourself and make social commitments accordingly. As an INFJ, I am happiest when it’s just me and my husband, and the kids if they are home hanging out as opposed to having to engage with a crowd of people. I often perceive social engagements as things to be dreaded, even when I actually enjoy them when I go! So for me, it makes sense to plan social activities for Friday or Saturday so I have got them out of the way. Planning them on for Sunday would just make me stress all weekend. Whereas for other people, having something to do with friends on Sunday might be the highlight of their day and a key part of re-setting their Sunday.
Start the day right.
Don’t sleep in. For many years we were told we could make up for sleep deficits by sleeping in on the weekend. What a terrible justification for burning the candle at both ends during the week and then wasting half your day catching up. Especially as it’s not 100% true. Wake up at the same time as you do during the week. Even if you spend the first hour in bed watching a show or reading a book, ]waking up at the same time makes the day longer.
Stay unplugged. So easy to say and yet so hard to do! Remember the influence of the environment. If you can’t see it, you will be less likely to use it, so put it somewhere like in the pantry, or your handbag, where it’s not in your line of sight and certainly not within your reach. If you do use it, when you’ve finished, again move it away from you.
Decide the feeling you want to have at the end of the day. Do you want to feel accomplished? Organised? Rested? Let this feeling guide your choices (and if you’re struggling with this, look at my Happiness Hack 3: Set your daily intention). With some planning it is possible to achieve them all, and that’s where the next section comes in.
Structure your day into time-blocks.
If you want to feel rejuvenated at the end of the day, but wondering how to pull it all off, consider the following structure:
7.00am – 10.00am. Exercise: Get your body moving. This could be going for a run, a long walk, a yoga session… whatever works for you. Ideally this exercise should be outside where you can feel the sun on your skin and get some Vitamin D.
10.00am – 1.00pm. Engage or explore. Get out of the house. Engage with others (such as at Church or with friends) or explore your local environment by attending a market, going to a café and watching the world go by, or going to a park. If you’re exploring, remember that novel experiences are good for you and your relationships. Check out 25 of the best quality-time date ideas for suggestions if you need them!
1.00pm – 4.00pm. Enjoy. This is the time to work on a hobby or other activity that you really enjoy. It should be something active rather than passive, creative rather than receptive, and so on. This is because making progress on a goal makes you happy. In fact, it actually makes you happier than achieving the goal . So get out the crochet or that 10,000 piece puzzle and get in the flow. (If you want to know more about this, read my Happiness Hack 2: Do something every day that moves you forward.)
4.00pm – 7.00pm: Organize. You know that ironing I mentioned? Time to get that sorted! It’s also time for the afternoon and evening routines, making dinner and anything important for the week ahead. Ironing is not one of my favourite chores, but I have found a way to make it easier: I iron for the length of a specific television show, and this is the only time I can watch that show. Hands down, my number one ironing show is Grey’s Anatomy, as you don’t need to be giving it your full visual attention like some other shows, where blink and you miss it. This strategy actually has a name – it’s called temptation bundling and it works by combining something you don’t want to do with something you do want to do to make it more enjoyable.
7.00pm- 10.00pm. Relax. Now’s the chance to sit back and vegetate a little. Watch some television – we save shows we really like for Sunday. Go to bed on time and read an enjoyable book. Before you go to sleep, think back about the day and how you’re grateful you got to spend it in a way that was meaningful to you.
So to recap:
Plan for the weekend by keeping on top of things during the week. Keep work at work! Wake up at the normal time, so you don’t waste the day sleeping, and once you’ve focused on the feeling you want for the end of the day, go out and get it by blocking your day into the key areas of exercising, exploring, enjoying, organizing and resting. Follow this formula and you’ll be sure to end your Sundays feeling positive about life.
Do you suffer from the Sunday blues? Keen to try any of these ideas? Let me know!