I read a great article in this month's issue of Real Simple about combatting the Sunday blues. I love my weekends and try to maximize every ounce of free time, but I often find myself winding down on Sunday evenings thinking about the week ahead instead of remaining present in the moment. I've gotten into the habit of settling in on Sunday afternoon, doing household chores and cooking dinner and enjoying a glass of wine. These are good, relaxing things, but instead of reveling in them, I find myself being reminded of my to-do list for the week once I begin my routine, as if the pattern triggers some sort of weekend-is-over mode.
The article ("Take Back Your Sundays" by Yolanda Wikiel) was revolutionary for me for a myriad of reasons. As noted in the beginning of the piece, Monday can wait, which is a lesson that I need to take to heart. And here's how we can make that happen:
Do Sunday on Saturday.
This really rang true to me, as it's something I've unintentionally implemented over the course of the last several months and I've loved the way it's freed up the final hours of my weekend. By doing chores typically reserved for Sundays on Saturdays (namely, for me, grocery shopping), there's more free time at the end of the weekend for rest, relaxation, or play time. Now I'm going to try incorporate a few additional tasks - house-cleaning, laundry, etc. - into my Saturday routine so that Sundays can be reserved for free time.
Be a Social Animal.
As you now know, I am an outgoing introvert, so I really, really, really value my alone time. I especially crave time to myself on weekends, so it's not uncommon for me to hunker down for hours (and hours and hours) with a great book. There's nothing wrong with this, certainly, but, according to Wikiel's findings in the article, "there is plenty of research that shows that people who are less social tend to be less happy. And a Sunday already potentially mired in the blahs is when you'll need contact with others the most." Truth! I find community at church and in our Sunday afternoon small group gatherings, but I have found that I feel so uplifted when I do something with family or friends in the early evening hours, like going for a long walk at the park or meeting on a patio for margaritas. I don't anticipate evolving into a "social animal," necessarily, but I like the idea of incorporating more social interaction (whether planned or spontaneous) into my Sunday afternoon routine.
Make Over Sunday Night.
Thanks to this Real Simple article, this is something that I already put into practice this past Sunday - and it totally worked! Here's what Wiekel had to say:
"Why is it that 7 p.m. on a Sunday feels like 11 p.m., but on every other day of the week 7 p.m. is just the start of the evening? Maybe because our idea of 'doing nothing' - say, binge-watching Game of Thrones - is not necessarily the best medicine for relieving the Sunday blues.
Active leisure - a book club, practicing yoga, or even going to the movies - will make you happier than choosing something that is passive. 'If you're engaged in an activity that keeps you moving, you're absorbed in the moment and your mind has much less room to allow workweek worries to sneak in and take hold,' says Cassie Mogilner, Ph.D. So while we're forever grateful to HBO for transforming Sunday nights, you may want to DVR you favorite episodes and watch them on a night less fraught with anxiety - say, hump day."
After small group, our friends Bri and Jordan, who host our weekly gathering, invited James and me to stay for dinner. My first instinct was to say no and head home so I could straighten up the house and generally prepare for the week ahead. But with the Real Simple article in mind, I said yes. We spent the afternoon mixing up whiskey sours (Bri added muddled blackberries and sage to ours - holy delicious!), playing with their adorable children, chasing Callie around the backyard, enjoying the weather, and creating a delicious dinner that we ate together around the table as we talked and recapped the day. When James and I looked at the clock at the end of the evening, we realized that we had been at their house for eight hours. And instead of feeling intimidated by all that I still had left to do or anxious about the week ahead, I realized that I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and restored. My Sunday night was certainly made over, and it set the tone for a great week.
So, what do you think? Will you implement any of these tips in an effort to combat the Sunday blues?
Image via A Gentlewoman