Sundays are known as a day of rest.
However, if you were out on the town the night before, it can be a day of horror.
When hungover on the final day before the work week, it’s hard to get a grip on things. All you want to do is stay in bed and eat takeaway.
By the time sleep comes around, you are dreading the morning commute.
So maybe it’s time to change how we approach the day.
The final day of the week is important for many reasons but one of its most crucial is its ability to get you ready for the days ahead.
A Sunday reset can work wonders. It can calm you, rejuvenate the mind and energise the body.
One good Sunday spent looking after yourself can make your week better and more productive.
But how do you do it and why is a Sunday reset so important?
‘The idea of Sunday being a day of rest is one that evokes thoughts of lazy mornings, long lie-ins and relaxing,’ explains Sarah Knight, founder of Mind The Gap Academy.
‘Whereas the reality is a huge amount of pressure we put on ourselves, a day full of chores, a gazillion loads of washing, running around thinking of all the things that need to be done before producing the ultimate, Instagram-worthy Sunday Roast.
‘And then we go to bed on Sunday night with a thousand things whirring around our heads on what we need to do this week. And wake up Monday morning frazzled and feeling anything but rested.
‘You have to think about what you can do to make Sunday a day well spent, so as to wake up on Monday morning without the fear.’
Sarah says there are five ways in which to create a Sunday reset. These are pause and process, prepare, plan, permission and press play.
Pause and process
‘There is power in the pause. It gives you time to process everything that has happened,’ Sarah explains. ‘Your brain is like the security machine at the airport – all the bags have to go through it to get processed. In your brain, every experience you have has to go through a scanner to get processed.’
‘The best way to process is to pause; that is to put your brain in active rest and take a break.
‘So by giving yourself some time off on Sunday – time with a cuppa, with a book, a good scroll on the old social media, a chinwag with a mate – you are giving your brain a chance to process and setting yourself up for the week.
‘Next time you’re stressing about sitting down and doing sweet nothing, think about it as the time you are giving your brain to work all of the stuff out and close some of the open tabs in your brain.’
Sarah says writing things down on a Sunday is a great way to get yourself in the right headspace for the week ahead.
‘Write down what you are going to do, get it out of your head onto a piece of paper,’ Sarah adds. ‘By writing stuff down, it takes it out of your head and gives you the bandwidth to breathe.
‘So get a fancy pants notebook and start writing it all down. Write the tasks, the actions, the life admin jobs that are clogging your brain up so you can start to get some order and clarity in your head.’
Sarah says power is in routine and your Sunday one should be set.
‘Though creating and sticking to a routine seems straightforward, the cognitive process involves many different skills that occur in many different regions of the brain,’ she explains. ‘Having a plan and a routine on a Sunday will give you power, give you control – and when we are in control, we feel less anxious.
‘When you do something that works for you and feels good, you’re more likely to do it again.
‘Planning your time, your activities and addressing your priorities gives you freedom, it gives you control.
‘Pick three things that you are going to do on Sunday and give yourself permission to do them. Just three things and make them small; do one load of washing, have a brew, have a picnic tea.
‘And when you have done those three things then give yourself a reward, a glass of wine, watch Top Gun (again) and take a bow for nailing the three things that have set you up for success.’
Giving yourself permission to do what you need to can calm any anxiety you may have about certain tasks.
‘This might be a day of sorting, of organising, of cleaning out the cupboards,’ she says.
‘When you have allowed yourself to realistically plan what you need to do on a Sunday to help you get ready for Monday then give yourself permission to get it done and reframe how you see that chore, that thing, that job.
‘If you say to yourself “I have to do this,” it immediately feels like a heavy weight of responsibility, it feels like something that is a chore.
‘Our words often become our reality. We have to remember we all have a choice. We have a choice every single day how we talk to ourselves. The language we use with ourselves.
‘Reframe the language you use when you are talking to yourself, about how you’re going to do those tasks, and simply give yourself permission to do it. Maybe you need to recognise you have a choice, and you are making a conscious choice, and then reframe it.
‘If you reframe that thing just slightly and tell your brain “I get to do this because it is going to help me feel better, make Monday easier” then all of a sudden your brain sees it as a benefit, and it feels lighter and is easier to do.’
Sarah advises people to do something active when intrusive post-weekend thoughts come into play.
‘Active coping makes you feel better now and helps you build your toolkit for future stressors,’ she says.
‘In order for us to switch off from a habit, we have to switch on to something else. So next time you are struggling with an intrusive thought, do something and move, take action. You cannot think yourself out of stress.
‘By positively taking action and switching on to another activity, our pathways change direction, and our brains happily wander down another route and we can press play and crack on.
Finally, Sarah says to give yourself a break. If you body needs a rest, give it that. The same goes for your mind.
‘And finally give yourself a break,’ she urges. ‘We should all aspire to be perfectly imperfect, to wear our wonky crowns with pride. Life is messy, joyful and doesn’t have to be a perfectly collated Instagram feed.
‘So kick the slippers off, wear the jimmies all day, sack off the gym and let the washing pile up. We don’t have to do it all today. Find what brings you joy and do it. On repeat.
‘That way it will be a Sunday well spent and you’ll set yourself up for a week of content.’
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