We’ve all fallen victim to a bad case of the Sunday Scaries. You know what I’m talking about: those days where all you can do is lay in bed and binge an entire Netflix series, feeling sad that the weekend is over and worried about the stressors that Monday will bring. But news flash: the weekend is not over, and how you spend your Sundays can ease a lot of those Monday stressors. In fact, the most successful women know their Sunday routine can make or break their entire week. Read on for eight Sunday rituals that successful women never skip.
1. Clean your home
You might not think you’re a neat freak, but trust me when I say that you will sleep better with the shower cleaned and the dishes put away. Plus, your week will feel so much more manageable when some of those chores you put off (looking at you, pile of dirty laundry) are already taken care of. Clutter in your home leads to clutter in the mind, so a one-hour deep clean or a quick closet reorganization can make a huge difference in not only your home environment, but how you feel for the rest of the week. If those major chores (like organizing the junk drawer) feel overwhelming, start with a quick clean-up of the kitchen (doing dishes and wiping up counters), tidy up the living room (fold throw blankets and stack coasters), and declutter your bedroom (that means putting away the clothes on your “worn-but-not-yet-ready-for-laundry chair–I know you have one!).
2. Map out the week
If your go-to for coping with Sunday Scaries is to completely ignore the fact that work starts again tomorrow, this one is for you. You may think that not acknowledging your to-do list is the best way to deal, but even if hours of Netflix helps you “forget,” you still know Monday morning is coming, leaving you with dread, anxiety, and a whole lot of stress at 9 a.m. the next day. The ideal way to set up your week for success and feel a lot better when Monday morning comes along is to plan out the week in advance. Review your upcoming schedule, add in time to prepare for big meetings or presentations, and include time for when you’ll actually get those things on your to-do list checked off. You’ll feel much more in control and will be better prepared throughout the week.
3. Prep your meals and wardrobe
Speaking of being prepared, another way to help you feel in control of the week ahead is to meal prep and plan out your outfits. We make a lot of decisions every single day, even just within the first few minutes of waking up: whether or not to hit snooze, when to turn on the coffee pot, what to make for breakfast, and what to wear (which is approximately 1000 different decisions). No wonder we all feel exhausted or overwhelmed when we’re required to make decision after decision throughout the work day itself. No matter how big or small, decisions add up–decision fatigue is real.
But good news: you can spend your Sundays to limit your decision making throughout the week. Prep your meals in advance (whether that looks like actually chopping veggies and making easy dishes, or just writing out a plan and making a grocery list) and plan out outfits (including which shoes you’ll pack to transition into happy hour on Thursday). You’ll limit some of the decision fatigue throughout the week so you can spend more time on those really important decisions, but you also might find yourself excited for those meals or that power outfit, instead of dreading the week ahead.
4. Set goals
Yes, Sundays are not just for self-care or laziness; they can also be for goal-setting. Think about what specific, attainable things you want to accomplish by next week, and how they relate to your bigger goals. For example, if you’ve always wanted to learn piano, add in a goal to practice for a total of two hours by next Sunday. If you wish you exercised more, set a goal to attend three workout classes at any point throughout the week, and then schedule in when they’re going to happen. If you want to be in a relationship, plan to go on one date this week, or if you’re dying for a promotion, set an intention to connect with your boss. No matter what your goals or intentions are, check in with what you want out of life by setting them. You’ll feel more excited for your week, but will also feel like you’re making progress towards those huge life goals.
PSA for whoever needs to hear it: you do not have to (and should not) be “plugged in” 24/7. If your weeks feel overwhelming and Sundays are scary, consider doing a temporary digital detox to reduce stress. When we’re constantly bombarded by Instagram, work emails, or even that never-ended group text, we can feel like we’re constantly missing out on something (I like to call it chronic FOMO). Turning off your phone for a few hours helps reduce that overwhelm and can allow you to actually relax. Try a full unplug and turn off all screens to read a book, take a walk with your dog, or do something creative, or just put your phone in the other room while you unwind with your favorite show for a couple hours.
6. Set Monday morning alarm for a few minutes earlier
I get it: Monday mornings are a rude awakening. That 6 a.m. alarm is probably the last thing you want to hear, and you’re tempted to sleep in until the last second possible to savor the last of your weekend bliss. But hitting the snooze button can lead to a rushed morning so you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and behind before you even start your workday. Instead, set your alarm on Sunday night for 10-15 minutes earlier the next morning. Whether you spend the extra time meditating, indulging in a luxurious skincare routine, or just brewing a cup of coffee with a moment of silence, you will not miss the 10 minutes of extra sleep, and feel much more prepared for the workday and entire week ahead.
7. Read something
One of the best secrets of successful women? Reading. Many of us have a plethora of excuses when it comes to reading more often. “I’m too tired,” “I don’t have any new books,” and “How am I expected to do anything else in my free time when all six seasons of Sex and the City are on HBO Max!?” are excuses I personally use on a regular basis. But reading is not only enjoyable; it’s good for you. Whether it’s winding down before bed, taking a break in the afternoon, or as a way to kick off your Sunday, fit in some time to read during the day to inspire you and help you feel motivated for the week ahead. As for what to read? Check out these inspiring books or books to educate yourself to help you grow in both your success and life goals.
8. Get your inbox to zero
If your Monday mornings feel like a race against the clock starting the second you wake up, set your week up for success by getting ahead with your emails. While Sundays should feel like Sundays (rather than an extension of the workweek), spending just 10-20 minutes getting some work done will help you start your week already feeling ahead. If emails are a source of stress, tackle your inbox, or if scheduling feels like a tedious task on Monday mornings, plan out your meetings and deadlines the day before. Just think about how good your Monday morning will feel when your inbox is already at zero.
9. Have a financial check-in
Self-care doesn’t always mean bubble baths or face masks. Sometimes, self-care means being an independent adult and doing what you can to feel in control of your finances. While having a detailed financial plan and setting goals can help you reduce money-related stress and achieve what you want in life, feeling in control of your finances doesn’t always require a lot of time and energy. Spend fives minutes on Sunday to glance over your bank account and credit card statements. Getting in the habit of frequently checking in can help identify fraud early on and will also give you a good idea of where you’re spending and where you can be saving. Set a financial goal for the week, whether it’s to put a certain amount of cash into your savings account or invest in a course or service that will improve your wellbeing.