9 Things to Do Sunday To Set Yourself up for a Healthy Week

By , Kirsten Nunez
We all know what it's like to have one of "those" weeks. Day after day, you wake up late and rush out the door. When it's time to head home, you order takeout before you can even say "5 p.m." You eventually doze off next to clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away, dreaming of that workout you meant to do.

For many, the work week is pure chaos. As a result, it's common for healthy habits to take a back seat.

With the right approach, though, it's possible to set yourself up for a healthier, more balanced work week. The key is to use Sunday—or whatever day you have off—to create future opportunities for positive behaviors. You'd be amazed at what a couple hours of prep work can do for your physical, mental and emotional health during the next few days.

These nine Sunday rituals will allow you to keep a steady head and motivated mind no matter what the week throws your way. Choose what works best for you and adopt each habit as you see fit. Before you know it, the "Sunday scaries" will be a thing of the past.

1. Meal Prep


Meal prepping is one of the best things you can do on Sunday. For starters, it helps you save time and money throughout the week. It also reduces any stress you might feel in terms of shopping for and making your next meal. Most importantly, meal prep helps you eat more nutritious dishes by limiting the temptation to call the pizza guy on days when you work late, feel exhausted or are craving something that's not in line with your ultimate goals.

If you're new to home cooking, the idea of meal prep might seem intimidating. But who says you can't start small? Instead of prepping breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for an entire week, choose one meal—like breakfast, for example—and make an easy dish, like quiche or overnight oatmeal. As you develop a routine, slowly incorporate other meals and dishes.

Ultimately, when you make meals in advance, the morning rush (and post-work crash) won't govern your daily food choices.

2. Tidy Up


And when we say "tidy up," don't panic—we're not suggesting you deep clean every week. Instead, take 15 to 30 minutes out of your Sunday to clear the kitchen table, clean out your work bag and organize your vanity. Put away that laundry and take out the trash. These small tasks may not be exciting, but you'll thank yourself later.

Remember that the result doesn't need to look immaculate. The point is to take care of the little things. When you wake up and come home to an organized space (instead of a messy one), you'll notice a major shift in your mental energy.

3. Check Your Calendar


While we're on the topic of mental wellness, let's talk about your calendar. On Sunday, take a minute to look at what's on the agenda. If you work odd hours, or if your job involves many meetings and deadlines, this habit can be a gamechanger. Not only will it give you time to mentally prepare yourself for the tasks ahead, but you can make any necessary changes in advance, too. Checking your schedule also nurtures awareness and mindfulness, which is crucial for managing stress.

4. Start a Big Project


Now, about those meetings and deadlines. If you have big project coming up, why not get a head start on Sunday? Read up on necessary materials, start a rough outline or simply do some research. Whether you're a notorious procrastinator or not, spending time preparing before something big—no matter if it's building a shed outside or preparing a quarterly report for your boss—allows you the time to think about it from multiple angles and make important decisions with a clear head.

Do you have to hash out every little detail? Of course not. Instead, use this time to gently nudge yourself in the right direction. It's a small yet impactful way to reduce your stress levels during the week.

5. Schedule Exercise


We're always told to schedule exercise like appointments or meetings. Well, what better time to plan than on a Sunday? While checking your calendar, pencil in at least three workouts. Aim for at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for the week. This might include gym time, morning walks or a few spin classes.

By planning exercise in advance, workouts become something you "will do" instead of something you "should do." To top it off, you'll also be more likely to hold yourself accountable when you've already set the dates.

6. Plan Your Outfits


Planning your outfits isn't about being stylish or on-trend; it's about reducing the morning rush and getting ready on auto-pilot. Think of it like meal prep, but for your clothing. And if you wear uniforms to work? Get those ready, too. Make sure you have enough tops, bottoms and whatever else you need to last you until the next laundry day. While you're at it, prepare your gym bag, too!

When you limit any decision-making at the break of dawn, you'll have more time to be present with yourself before heading out to face the day.

7. Relax


Before heading back to the daily grind, give yourself permission to relax. Do something that makes you happy, whether it's practicing a hobby or watching a movie. It can be as simple as reading, calling a friend or taking a nice bath.

In a perfect world, we'd be able to do these things every day. But when you're exhausted after work, it can be difficult to find the energy. So, at the very least, treat yourself to some R&R on Sunday.

8. Go Outside


Make time to go outside, whether it's part of downtime or your weekend workout. For example, garden for half an hour or take the grandkids to the park. You can even just read on the porch and soak up some sun.

According to a 2018 study in Health & Place, spending time in outdoor environments reduces stress, which ultimately improves overall health. Another 2015 article in the journal Work shares that exposure to nature helps you bounce back from work-related mental fatigue. Clearly, going outside has awesome mental and emotional benefits. Who are we to argue?

9. Sleep Early


If you only do one thing on this list, make it this one.

When you get enough shuteye on Sunday night, you'll head into Monday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. In turn, you'll be able to start the week on a positive note—not a groggy one.

To set yourself up for a good night's rest, avoid caffeine at least four hours before bedtime, and expose yourself to morning light so your melatonin levels naturally drop at night. Before bed, avoid heavy meals and electronic screens. White noise machines, bubble baths and melatonin supplements can also help you hit the hay at a reasonable time.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

Comments

LIL-VIXEN 12/8/2019
Great article, thank you. Report
PMORENA 10/20/2019
Well I didn't get outside on this rainy day but most of the other suggestions are checked off Report
RD03875 10/2/2019
Good ideas. Report
PAMBROWN62 9/29/2019
I was happy while reading this because I have implemented most of them into my journey. I love meal prep and batch cooking. It sets me up for an on plan new week. Report
BTINCHER2001 9/29/2019
At first I thought you were suggesting we do all of them, and felt myself become very panicked. Fortunately I figured out that wasn't the case. Good ideas! Report
BTINCHER2001 9/29/2019
Great list of suggestions! At first, I thought you Report
JLPEASE 9/29/2019
I have a problem with #4. If you want to work on big home project that's one thing, but advising people to work on WORK projects on their down time I think is wrong. Work-life balance is very important and there are several articles and blogs about it on this website. We shouldn't advise people to work without pay on their days off. Report
CECELW 9/29/2019
Definitely practical suggestions Report
SWEETENUFGILL 9/29/2019
Great - just what I needed today. I don't always have a Sunday off from work - but this one is at the end of a week's leave; back to work tomorrow. I am transferring this list of tips to my BUJO today. Thanks xxx Report
MAREE1953 9/29/2019
As the houseboat season comes to an end, I'll return to Sunday's routine, starting with church, roasting sweet potatoes and other veggies for the upcoming week's lunches, and a few of the other tips in this article! Report
REDWHALEY 9/13/2019
Great tips. I may just start implementing these soon. Report
LIVEANDLAUGH 9/10/2019
Always good to have a strategy! Report
ZZBETH-1 7/26/2019
Great blog, very motivating! Thank you. Report
BEEGIRL10PJ 7/23/2019
Good reminders! Report
TRACEYDIANE91 7/16/2019
I try to everything on Sunday which is my day off from my crazy job as a nurse and its completely impossible to do everything in one day. So I try to do some prep work through out the week so that on sunday I don't fell completely overwhelmed. Report
ANHELIC 6/25/2019
Thanks Report
KHALIA2 5/23/2019
Great tips! Thanks! Report
SUSANBEAMON 5/14/2019
Great. More scheduling on the one day I get to relax. When will this busyness stop? Report
CHERIRIDDELL 5/11/2019
Thanks Report
SHOAPIE 5/10/2019
Thank you Report
KHALIA2 5/10/2019
Great article! Report
LIDDY09 5/10/2019
Thank You! Report
4CONNIESHEALTH 5/10/2019
Great tips! Report
LOSER05 5/10/2019
Thanks Report
CARD512002 5/10/2019
Thank you for this article Report
MSROZZIE 5/9/2019
Good read. Good need-to-know information. Report
EO4WELLNESS 5/9/2019
My schedule is very different than the schedule which is advocated here--yet the article still contains things useful in my scenario. Thanks. Report
PICKIE98 5/9/2019
Prep helps, but so does relaxing.. Report
KHALIA2 5/4/2019
Thank you for these great tips. Report
KHALIA2 4/20/2019
Great article! Thanks! Report
MOMTOLJ 4/17/2019
One of my new goals starting my week Sunday will be to turn of computer much earlier and either read or take a leisure bath instead. Now summer is coming up, nights are longer , so maybe take a walk on the boardwalk.... Report
MNABOY 4/15/2019
Might add a religious service or study Report
REYNAJUST4KIX 4/7/2019
Helpful article, thank you. Report
ROBBIEY 4/5/2019
very good Report
123THERESA123 3/30/2019
Good tips. Thanks for sharing :) Report
SIMPLYME_LORI 3/29/2019
Thank you for these great tips. I intend on fully using them Report
JAMER123 3/29/2019
Great tips for some. I go to church on Sunday and it's a rest day in the afternoon. We are retired and our daily activity is usually what we enjoy doing and not on a time schedule. At our resort in the south for the winter, we have an ice cream social in the early evening and we chair the program. So prep needs to be done for that in the afternoon. Thanks for the time to share. Report
KHALIA2 3/29/2019
Great article which includes great ideas! Report
SUNSET09 3/29/2019
My Sundays are my day of rest however, I do plan my meals and outfits for the week. Thanx for the suggestions I can use actually any day of the week. Report
JANTHEBLONDE 3/29/2019
Great article! Report
CECELW 3/29/2019
I've tried some of these tips Report
_CYNDY55_ 3/28/2019
thanks Report
DJ4HEALTH 3/28/2019
thanks Report
PATRICIA-CR 3/28/2019
Well-thought tips! Thank you. Report
HOTPINKCAMARO49 3/28/2019
Good article and tips! Report
ROSLYNRC 3/28/2019
Thank you Report
PICKIE98 3/28/2019
Meal prep is an organizational thing that really helps! Report
LIS193 3/28/2019
thanks Report
L_DROUIN 3/28/2019
After reading this, my first thought was that it would actually be a lot of work to add to my day. Then I also noted that going to church and enjoying your church family was NOT advised. My parents always had all of the families gather for Sunday dinner and fellowship. I think the article needs a bit of compromise to be balanced. :0) Report
CECTARR 3/28/2019
Thanks Report