The most unrelatable thing about me: Sundays are my favorite day of the weekend. I know that’s almost as annoying as if I said I love running or salad is my favorite food (both of which are untrue, BTW), but Sundays are no longer a sad ending to the weekend or a scary start to the weekdays. Instead, Sundays are the make-or-break day that I use to set up my entire week for happiness and success. Get rid of your Sunday Scaries and make the most of the day off with these 15 Sunday rituals that will set you up for a successful week:
1. Meal prep
The most basic of Sunday rituals, meal prepping is a crucial way to ensure your week is set up for success and that you have easy, healthy meals at the ready, even on your busiest days. The key is to do the kind of meal prepping that works best for you. Maybe planning out meals and grocery shopping is enough or maybe you want to prepare some basic dishes to reuse during the week, like roasted veggies or healthy breakfast muffins. You can also prepare ingredients instead of meals to make cooking easier throughout the week: boil eggs, slice lemon wedges, or wash and chop veggies.
2. Pick a theme for the week
We’re focused on to-do lists and goals, but what about setting an intention or a theme to focus on for the entire week? We can replace negative thoughts with phrases that are not only better for us but can also help us be more confident or feel less stressed, and we can set intentions for each week that will help us live our best lives. Every Sunday, pick an affirmation or “theme” (like staying present, moving more often, or having more fun) and write it every day in your planner so you don’t forget it. Then, live your entire week around this affirmation or theme.
3. Go extra on self-care
A little self-care Sunday is nothing new, but going all out on skincare, haircare, and overall TLC will not only help you feel relaxed and pampered going into the week, but you’ll also look and feel your best. First, set the mood: dim the lights, light candles, diffuse essential oils, turn on relaxing music, and put on a cozy robe. Stock up on all the luxurious products you love, whether it’s a bath bomb or a vitamin C serum, and get ready for a full day of pampering. Take a bath (or have a luxurious shower), indulge in dry brushing and a DIY lymphatic massage, and give yourself an at-home beauty treatment.
4. Make to-do lists (based on life goals)
Making a to-do list is no revolutionary ritual, but are you making to-do lists with long-term goals in mind? Before making your weekly to-do list, ask yourself where you want to be in 5-10 years. Everything on your to-do list should help you take steps toward achieving these goals. For example, strategize business growth for your side hustle, spend 30 minutes reading a book to get ahead in your career, or work out if your goal is to be more active. In other words, to-do lists of even the simplest tasks should have a long-term perspective.
Making your to-do list with goals in mind will show you where you should be focusing your time and where you can be spending less time. Of course, you’ll always have to do the mundane house chores or tedious tasks, but figure out the ones you can outsource and prioritize what will get you closer to your goals so you make sure to get it done (yes, that means doing that workout or brainstorm meeting you’ve been putting off).
5. Put on your favorite outfit
The littlest rituals or habits can make the biggest difference in boosting your mood and setting the tone for the rest of the week. To beat the blues that come with the end of the weekend, save your very favorite OOTDs for Sundays. Whether that means a timeless piece that makes you feel like a million bucks (you can’t ever go wrong with an LBD) or the floral dress that gets you compliments every time you wear it, put on the outfit that makes you feel your best from head to toe and get ready to take on the week ahead.
6. Get your inbox to zero
If your Monday mornings feel like a whirlwind starting the second you wake up, set your week up for success by getting ahead. 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. Just think about how good your Monday morning will feel when your inbox is already at zero and your calendar is planned out!
I’m the queen 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 every season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on Peacock!?” are excuses I use on a regular basis. But reading is not only enjoyable, it’s also good for you. Whether it’s winding down before bed on Sunday night, spending some time in the afternoon, or the ritual you look forward to when starting your day, fit in some more time to read. As for what to read? Start with books that you can fly through in a weekend or these page-turners that will help you escape reality if Sunday Scaries are setting in.
8. Tidy up your home
Dishes in the sink or laundry piled on the chair (we all have that one chair…) can prevent you from feeling fully relaxed while going to bed at night or could make you more stressed when starting the next day. Clutter in your space can translate into clutter in your mind, so dedicate a short amount of time on your Sunday to run the dishwasher, wipe off kitchen counters, and put away laundry that has piled up in the bedroom. A less cluttered bedroom will help you sleep at night and a clean kitchen will make you more at ease the next morning.
9. Check your bank account and make weekly goals
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 adopting sound financial habits 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. At the beginning of every week, take a minute to glance over your bank account and credit card statements. Getting in the habit of frequently checking them can help identify fraud early on and will give you a good idea of where you’re spending your hard-earned money and where you could be saving.
10. Schedule workouts
You schedule meetings, appointments, and plans in advance, so why not schedule your workouts too? Not only will having a 10 a.m. jog or a 5 p.m. workout class on your calendar hold you accountable to ensure the workout happens, but when you prioritize you-time just as much as you prioritize a work meeting or dinner with a friend, you’re making a statement that self-care is just as important as every other aspect of your life (because it should be). Treat your scheduled workouts like any other item on your calendar: Show up on time, be prepared, and don’t cancel last minute.
11. Detox your desk space
For the most productive, positive start to your week, your workspace should be clean and organized (remember: clutter in your space can translate into clutter in your mind!). A messy workspace can add to feelings of stress, overwhelm, and anxiety that come with the start of a busy week, so minimize as much clutter as possible on Sunday. Invest in desk essentials to keep your workspace tidy, clean out your desk drawers, and even wipe down your computer. If you don’t have a workspace, you’ll get the same benefits from detoxing your desktop (AKA deleting that folder of Christmas decor inspo that’s been sitting there since December), organizing contacts, or installing any updates (to avoid that annoying notification throughout the week).
12. Get outside
Being in the great outdoors can boost your mood and help ease stress to feel happier and more relaxed. Even just 20 minutes of sitting in a park or going on a walk can elevate your mood and help foster important skills that contribute to happiness, like confidence, kindness, and the feeling of awe. For an instant mood boost, get outside on your Sunday: Sip a morning coffee on your balcony or porch, go on a bike ride, or even sit by a window to reap some of the benefits. If you have free time, consider spending it at your local park or beach instead of on your couch, and if you’re planning to work out, take it outdoors for an instant pep in your step that will make you feel good for the rest of the week.
13. Pick out your outfits
Decision fatigue is real! 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, and what to wear (which is approximately 100 different decisions). The little decisions add up to feel so overwhelming that we become unable to make even the most basic decisions. To limit and avoid the mental exhaustion and decision fatigue many of us experience regularly, take away as many little decisions as possible before your week even starts. Picking out a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday means that your energy can go to more important things during the week, like important work projects (or, you know, what to order for lunch).
14. Get sexy
Whether it’s a little ménage-à-Moi, having a check-in with your partner about what you want to try more of this week, or just making a list of the things that brought you pleasure today (a silk nightgown, a cup of coffee, sleeping in, etc.), take some time to tap into your sensual side. Bonus: Checking yourself out in the mirror and putting on a playlist that gets you going will set up the rest of your week for more confidence, pleasure, and enjoyment, both in and out of the bedroom.
15. Take time to do nothing
Sundays often come with so many “shoulds.” “I should be grocery shopping,” “I should be doing laundry,” or “I should be getting ahead with work.” While many of the rituals listed in this roundup are “shoulds” that will help you have the best week ever, there’s also one other important fundamental ritual you need to add to your arsenal: doing nothing. Instead of waking up to rush from one thing to the next, make your coffee, turn on your music, and just be—guilt-free.