I love these types of Sundays, with beautiful spring weather and the promise of a bike ride with my daughter.
The problem is that I also stress about Sundays, since it is typically my day for catching up with incomplete action items and countless unread emails, which back up after a long and busy week.
For years, my weekend included what I called the dreaded Sunday Blues — a non-scientific diagnosis of the anxiety and stress many feel on Sunday when the grind of the following week is upon them.
A while ago, however, I decided to recapture my Sundays and make it a day I enjoy again. Doing so did not require changing my weekly schedule or adding action items. Instead, it was a simple mental shift.
If these Sunday Blues symptoms sound familiar, here are a few tips I have found useful for taking back your Sundays.
Sit In Silence
I am an advocate for spending at least 10 minutes daily in complete silence. I understand this can be difficult for a busy professional — and adding a kid pleading for a bike ride makes it much more challenging.
Silence, however, has been proven to relieve stress, replenish overworked mental resources, regenerate brain cells, and activate our brain’s “default mode network.”
Silence does not include reaching for your nature sound machine or noise-reducing headphones and relaxing music. One study examining the effects of music on the body found that randomly introduced short periods of complete silence — as little as two minutes — resulted in lower blood pressure and heart rate.
This Sunday, take 10 minutes in the morning and sit in complete silence, practice mindfulness, and allow your brain to rejuvenate. It will help you tackle the end of your weekend.
While mantras are mostly associated with yoga and spiritual enlightenment, I find them to be more a practice of positive thought.
To develop yours, first listen to your thoughts — I mean really listen to them. What are they telling you? Like me, you are probably scolding yourself for not being more productive during the week or otherwise misusing your time.The truth is, most of us have power over our own thoughts.
Try developing a few useful mantras, or simple positive phrases, that you can repeat when you feel overwhelmed and anxious about the upcoming week. You do not need to sit in front of a mirror and sound like Stuart Smalley with Daily Affirmations. Just turn your negative thoughts into positive thoughts until you train yourself to take more control.
Prioritize You and Your Family
Your clients, your bosses or everyone waiting for a response will be there on Monday. If you have not responded to them by Sunday, they can one day longer.
Instead, use Sunday to prioritize yourself. This should be your day to do things you did not have time to do during the week, like exercise, watch a movie, or enjoy a game (this is why NFL games are on Sunday). Stop feeling guilty for time dedicated to resting, relaxing and recharging one day a week.
If you are responsible for family members, remember also that it was nobody’s dying wish that they had spent more time in the office — most wish they had spent more time with family. After you have your time, make sure to dedicate some time to them.
Most of this is a mindset change, which takes practice and perseverance. I can tell you that once you master it, you will never dread a Sunday again.
As for me, I went on the bike ride. Hanging out with a curious and adventurous six year old is all the recharge I need.
What do you think? What tips do you have for making your Sundays awesome? Please share your thoughts below in the comments.