Sunday fear busters: 5 small habits to get you ready for the week ahead
Sunday is my prep day.
Don't get me wrong, I fully embrace Sunday as a weekend day and will enjoy things like Sunday morning pancakes (a firm family tradition in our house), a hike, a trip to the farmer's market or brunch out somewhere lovely.
However – and this is my big secret to having a less stressful life – I also use a few moments during Sunday to consciously get ready for the week ahead. And honestly, it has been a life-saver. And has completely gotten rid of my Sunday scaries. Heck, I don't even mind Monday mornings so much now that I feel like I am ready to take on whatever this new week will throw my way.
Want in on my secret? Here are five easy little habits to give you a more organised life, better control over your time, less stress and more time to enjoy your life:
1. Set some intentions for the week – and steal some time just for you
Call it setting yourself goals, call it sending good vibes out to the universe, or call it mindfulness – it doesn't really matter as long as you do it.
At some point on a Sunday, steal a few moments to just sit still and envision the week ahead of you, and think about how you are going to have a brilliant week.
Weekends, when you are a parent, can often be a whirlwind of activity, with football trainings, hockey matches, ballet classes and birthday parties, and in the midst of it all, try to carve out some time just for you.
You can catch a yoga class, or simply close the door to your bedroom and practise some breathing and meditation in there. I like to head to my local park, put my earphones in and just go for a long walk, sipping on a takeaway coffee as I stroll, and literally just take half an hour just to myself. It always leaves me feeling refreshed and composed and ready to take on the world.
2. Do a quick tidy up of your living room and kitchen
In my house, weekends are filled with a lot of play, and often some baking and cooking too, meaning that both the kitchen and living spaces are often left rather chaotic and messy. Now, don't get me wrong – I love this – homes are to be lived in, after all. However, there is also something a little stressful about having to start your week cleaning up after the weekend.
And this is why I always take a few moments of Sunday afternoon or evening and just give the main living spaces a bit of a speedy clean and tidy. I often involve the kids, and turn it into a challenge or competition – anything for a bit of help, no?
The result? When we get up Monday morning, it really feels like we are ready to start our week, without having to clean up from the previous week first.
3. Get the cookbooks out
I have loved and bought cookbooks for as long as I can remember. I love looking at them, reading them and yet, so rarely, got around to actually cooking anything from them. There never seemed to be the right time, and as I was rushing to get dinner on the table during the week, the last thing on my mind was looking up some yummy, new dish in a book and attempting it then and there.
The result was that our family, as I guess is the case for so many of us, ended up eating the same 10-15 dishes on rotation, as it required little planning and could be fixed fast.
But the thing is, I actually love cooking and love food, and as both myself and my children are vegetarian, I was on the hunt for ways to broaden our repertoire and make sure we ate varied and colourful.
And so I started making time on a Sunday to just look through a couple of my cookbooks, take notes of ingredients needed, and actually write out a food plan for the week. This way, when I hit the supermarket ether Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, I get everything I need for the week, and knowing I have everything I need at hand, just makes our week less stressful, and I love knowing we are now trying at least a couple of new dishes every week.
It has definitively made us all eat even healthier, we are saving money on the food shopping in general, and the little bit of planning ensures we have less food waste too.
4. Schedule out things
I am a bit of a procrastinator, and often, would struggle to get things done on time. For instance, I would often have great plans for workouts I would get to, projects that would be done and then realise, come Friday, I hadn't actually managed to get to a single yoga class, never went on one run or certainly didn't get around to going through the kids' old clothes and pack away what they had grown out of.
Now, I make an effort to put everything I need to do for the week into my calendar – I keep one on the fridge and also have an old-school diary that I keep in my bag. I put in things like work deadlines, kids activities, gym classes, coffee with a friend – everything. And just having it there, for all to see as a reminder, makes it so much easier to make sure I get it done.
And I love taking a look at my lists and activities on Friday, and realised I managed to get it all done! Such a reason to celebrate with that glass of Friday wine!
5. Make it an early night
I know it can be tempting to stay up later on a Sunday night to really feel like you are maxing out your weekend time, but since starting to make sure I go to bed really early on a Sunday, I have found my Mondays are going to much better.
So these days, I will start my own bedtime routine as soon as the kids are in bed, squeezing in a bath, a face mask and maybe even a little DIY manicure before getting into bed well before 10PM with a book and a cup of green tea. It has become a little routine I look forward to all week, and, in turn, has made me feel far less sad about the weekend ending, as I have this lovely little self-care routine to look forward to on Sunday evening.
And the bonus? I wake up Monday morning feeling all sorts of refreshed and ready for the week.