Self Care Sundays: 7 Ideas For a Mindful Start to Your Week

A cozy boho bed with a tea cup and a basket of sticks next to it.

Picture your perfect Sunday.

How does it look? Maybe sleeping in, grabbing brunch with friends? Perhaps a grocery trip and a long walk at the park?

Sundays are typically our slow day of the week. There’s just something about not having any pressing deadlines or plans. That makes it perfect for all things self-care, and by now we know that self-care can look a lot of different ways. It can be pure relaxation or small tasks that elevate our productivity. 

On Sundays, you can have both!  

Here are 7 ways to make your Self-Care Sunday the perfect day to prepare yourself for the week ahead.

1. Prepare for your week 

Hitting your pillow on Sunday night and knowing you’re prepared for the week ahead can be such a relief. Instead of laying awake all night worrying about the week to come, try filling out your planner as much as you can in advance. Write out big deadlines, any meetings you have, and any check-ins you may want to add throughout the week. 

Adding a sidebar of emails to send or people to reach out to can be really helpful too. They’re not big tasks but they’re ones you probably won’t want to forget throughout the week, and when Monday hits, you’ll be glad that you were prepared. 

If making a to-do list on your day off seems a little stressful, try reframing the practice into something that eases anxiety. Is there a project coming up this week that keep creeping into your mind? Sit down for 15 minutes to plot out the first few steps you need to take or a few key deadlines you don't want to forget -- then you can release that project from your mind, relax, and know the details are recorded and ready for you when it's time to work.

2. Practice gratitude 

Sundays are natural days to work in a gratitude practice. Whether you see it as the end to your week or the beginning of another, it’s a good time to pause and reflect since your schedule is a little bit more flexible and you can dedicate some time to it. Research shows that a gratitude practice is good for your mental health and can be a helpful tool for de-stressing -- perfect for a Sunday morning.

Adding the ritual to your weekend is easy and there are so many ways you can make it work for you: a running list in a notebook, through a prompt like this one or these ones, or an entire journal dedicated to gratitude

3. Make a meal 

Cooking can be a great act of self care. Gathering ingredients, chopping produce, bringing a pot to a simmer. It’s all kind of meditative. 

While cooking has long been painted as a chore, nutritionist Stephanie Kay puts it like this on her blog:

“The actual goal of self-care is to maximize your own health and do it in a way that helps make things seem easier or less stressful. That can include anything from movement to good sleep, but to me, cooking is one of the most neglected... Self-care is about showing up for yourself even when the going gets tough. Self-care is about prioritizing your needs over your wants so that you can care for yourself on all levels; physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Whether it be a comfort meal or prepping lunches for the week, make Sunday cooking a thing to look forward to, an act that will nourish you and make you better for the week.

4. Limit social media 

How many hours did you spend watching TikTok videos this week? It’s easy to get sucked into hours of scrolling, liking, and sending memes. On average, Americans spend just more than two hours on social media every day. And if you’re thinking that seems kind of low, you might need to take a day off. 

We all know the effects of the doom scroll. At best, it’s plain tiring to see only the good parts people post on Instagram or all of the bad news on Twitter. By nature social media is addictive and has been associated with anxiety, depression, and even physical ailments, according to researchers. 

The good news is that it’s okay to set your phone on silent mode and ignore social media for a day. It can be quite helpful in quieting the mind. You’ll find that when you return you really didn’t miss all that much. 

5. Call or see a friend 

An easy way to fill your cup before the beginning of the week is visiting with a friend or a loved one. Even just a 10 minute check-in can make all the difference, because there really is no better feeling than feeling understood. 

Positivity is contagious and even just sharing a few minutes of the phone or meeting up for coffee and a walk can completely change your day and set you in the right mood for the week.

6. Declutter your space

The week’s discarded outfits and folded laundry always seem to end up on that one chair or bench in the corner of your bedroom. It’s just a fact of life.

Without a little intervention it easily becomes out of control, so take a little time to return your bedroom or desk to its naturally calm state. Fix the pillows, declutter the night stands, ditch all the junk mail. 

This doesn't have to feel like a punishment or a chore. Rather, consider how taking care of your environment is a form of taking care of yourself. Think of ways you can make the task feel less like a dreadful job: put on music, watch a favorite show, or set a timer for 10 minutes so that you can do focused work and then be done!

Need a little extra help? Here’s how to organize your room for a happier life. And here are a few ideas to streamline your workspace.   

7. Take a nap 

Catching some extra z's is never a bad idea. After all, it is the day of rest, and if you have a half-hour to spare…

Naps, of course, aren't a replacement for all the sleep you’ve lost in the week prior, but they can actually help you become more alert and productive. 

Don’t worry, you can nap without the fear of ruining your sleeping schedule. 

Keep these factors in mind for your Sunday nap: 

  • The longer you sleep, the groggier you’ll be. Keep naps between 15 and 30 minutes more maximum energy-boosting without the post-nap lag.
  • The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping naps reserved for before 3 p.m. That way you’ll be sure not to interfere with your usual bedtime. 
  • Enjoy it! Sure, napping may be a luxury, bu it’s one that can make you more productive, so really take the time to make it worth it. Lay down, limit light and sound, and breathe deeply. You’ve earned this one! 
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