Sunday Blues

tumblr_n600e8ayEm1rlcp9oo1_1280 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

Recipe Testing

3e4d4c12ece789356fcc9905169ffc7eRecently I've been devouring my cookbooks as though they were novels, poring over them as I lie in bed each night. I take notes on which treats I want to try and, as a result, we have been cooking a lot lately. Reading my cookbooks has also inspired me to try out all of the recipes I've bookmarked online over the months (okay, let's face it, years). We've discovered so many new kitchen staples, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite recipes that we've tried here. Nearly everything we've made has been a winner! Some are from those delightful cookbooks I've been pawing through (like The Forest Feast), and others have been gems discovered online. Take a peek at the list, and let me know if you try your hand at making any of these recipes yourself! From The Forest Feast:

From It's All Good:

From The Sprouted Kitchen:

From The Blogosphere:

  • Oven-Baked Chicken with Lemon & Thyme - Cooking chicken has always intimidated me, for some reason, but now I have a go-to method for making chicken that creates a flavorful, delicious, and juicy outcome. You must incorporate the lemon and thyme for extra special flavor that will have you coming back for seconds.
  • Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing - This is delicious and light, and it gets better each day that it's left mingling in the fridge. I really liked taking this to work for lunch for several days in a row.
  • Green Detox Smoothie - I crave this delicious blended concoction on a daily basis and, as a result, have been enjoying it every morning for breakfast. I was scared of using the spirulina at first because it smells terrible but you can't taste it at all and the superfood's benefits are mind-blowing. The pomegranate seeds on top are a must - they are so yummy!
  • Thai Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - So much flavor! We ate these while I was cleansing so the sweet potatoes were perfect but the chicken mixture would be good on top of anything - rice, quinoa, noodles.
  • Chicken & Poblano Chili - If James had to pick a favorite from the bunch, I think this would be it. This chili is hearty and packed with great spicy flavor. (The original recipe calls for turkey, which would probably be delicious, too.)
  • Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels & Toffee - I mean, DELIGHTFUL.
  • Egg Muffins with Vegetables - Great for breakfast on the go.
 Image via The Everygirl