We all heard of the phrase, “A Sunday well-spent brings a week’s worth of content“, but how often do we mindfully try to make it happen? In between Netflix, extracurricular activities, studying, and many other distractions, finding an hour of peace alone is sometimes an impossible task.
Me personally? As much as I love to be a morning person and jump out of my bed before the alarm even sounds, let’s face it – it rarely happens. Like most people, I blame it on the excuse that I’m a “night owl”, when in fact; I was convincing myself that “one more episode” at 11:36pm was indeed an excellent idea. Then of course, that one episode led to 4 snoozed alarms, a missed breakfast, and arriving just in time for work every Monday morning because I couldn’t decide what to wear to set the tone for the week.
I’ll be the first to admit it: it isn’t exactly the most efficient. Exhilarating, I guess, if you are the type of person that thrives off chaos. Otherwise, it just seem like a pain-in-the-butt way to start off a day.
But – with all that said, here are 7 things I learned to add to my Sunday routine to make my mornings a whole lot easier and less rushed in preparation for my week:
Review & Plan Your Calendar
Knowing what is coming up in your week can help reduce any stress and increase productivity. The worst feeling is feeling unprepared when you realize you have 3 meetings in a row or 4 after-work events to attend with no time to spare for a coffee break or the gym.
I recently purchased the Passion Planner to help manage all my thoughts and appointments in one place. Like most people, I have always depended on my memory or my trusty iPhone for any scheduling and appointments, then a notebook (or even scrap pieces of papers) for goal-setting exercises or to-do lists. With this planner, I can do it all and not have to worry about forgetting anything! The great thing is that I can even customize and decorate it in any way I want. The flexibility and simplicity of the design truly is refreshing and inspiring to use.
With this new all-in-one planner, I have decided to dedicate an hour out of my Sunday to planning my upcoming week with everything that I need. It’s also an excellent way to declutter your mind and mentally prepare it for a brand new week!
Cleaning isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite chore to do unless it soothes your mind. Even if you aren’t in the mood to be scrubbing floors and mopping the floors, try tidying small spaces around your apartment or house. Whether it be stacking away some books, cleaning up your makeup in the bathroom, taking down your Christmas tree, or folding away some laundry, take some time to declutter your living space, straighten up your things, and simplify your life just a little.
Meal Plan & Prep
I’m not asking everyone to go all Martha Stewart on a Sunday afternoon – but it does help figuring out your meals throughout the week. I usually like to do my groceries Sunday morning so that I know I have somewhat of a semi-full fridge for the week. However, I’m not the type of person that likes to eat the same 5 leftover meals in a row for lunch. I usually like to prep my lunches on Sunday for Monday-Wednesday, and then do another round of leftovers for Thursday-Friday lunches. For breakfasts and dinners, I try my best to meal-plan in advance in my trusty planner so that I am not staring at the fridge trying to figure out what I could make when I am rushing out the door at 8am on a Monday morning or coming home exhausted at 8pm on a Thursday evening.
Read & Be Inspired
When it comes to our brains, researchers have found there’s no better superfood than a book. They also say that “people who read books—fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose—for as little as 30 minutes a day over several years were living an average of two years longer than people who didn’t read anything at all”. And I can guarantee you that’s just ONE of HUNDREDS of reasons why you should all incorporate some light reading into your daily, if not weekly, routine.
One of my favorite ways to relax and refresh my mind is to escape into the magical world of books. My go-to genres are mystery/thriller/whodunnit and self-development books. If you are looking to add a couple new titles onto your bookshelves, here are some of my personal recommendations:
- Braving The Wilderness by Brene Brown
- You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
- That Night by Chevy Stevens
- Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
These are a few titles that are on my “to-read” list:
- Girl Positive: Supporting Girls to Shape a New World by Tatiana Fraser
- Cultivate by Lara Casey
- Creating Room to Read by John Wood
- The Child by Fiona Barton
- The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Plan & Pick Your Wardrobe
Similar to planning and preparing your meals in advance for the week, do the same for your wardrobe! Since you would already have reviewed and updated your planner accordingly, you know exactly what is coming up this week in order to dress accordingly. Whether it be for work, a wedding reception, yoga class, or school, map out your wardrobe so that you won’t be rushed when you are running from one event to the next. Not to mention, when you are planning in advance, you are also able to ensure that all of your colours match and that no accessories were left behind.
Goals & Gratitude
According to a study done by Gail Matthews, those who wrote down their goals physically accomplished significantly more than those who did not. The sole act of writing them down on a piece of paper can help you gain more significance and clarity than just keeping them locked up inside your head. When you write a goal down, it’s easier to break them down into smaller, actionable, and measurable steps. In this case, writing down your upcoming weekly goals can help steer the direction you want your week to go and a step closer to the finish line.
With that, writing down your thoughts and reflections can also be just as powerful after you have achieved your daily or weekly goals. A fantastic way to wrap up a week before starting a new one is to create a gratitude list of all the things you were grateful and appreciative for that happened. It might sound silly at first especially to those who have committed to a weekly routine, but writing simple things down on your gratitude list such as “warm sunshine”, “crockpot”, or “fuzzy slippers” does make a difference. It’s an excellent way to shift your mood and attitude while inspiring you to create a little more magic in your life! When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, it can open you up to the source of all those things that came into your life. I personally find this one one of the more difficult task but I am trying every week in hopes of feeling a lot more grounded!
Rest Early & Unplug
First and foremost, ditch your phone after your Sunday dinner and never look at it again. Set your alarms, plug it in, and put it far away. When you unplug, you are giving your brain, an important muscle, to relax, develop, and grow (which in this case, helps retain new memories)! Studies show that our phones are a cause of delayed and interrupted sleep. When the light from LCD screens enters our retinas, it disrupts our brains and affects the release of melatonin — which is the sleep-inducing hormone. So every time a message or notification pops up, our sleep gets disturbed, and that is the last thing we all need before the start of a week.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott
Second, hit the sack early and get your beauty sleep – and I really mean, before 10:00pm. Going to bed early will energize your body, mind, and soul to kickstart your Monday morning. Since women are more prone to insomnia than men, it’s crucial to nourish our bodies properly and take care of our minds. Most women tend to get the least amount of sleep right before their menstruation cycle so it’s important to try to keep your schedule lighter than usual leading up to your period and make extra time to rest up.
So, what are you some of your favourite ways to recharge for a new week?