Sunday rituals

Dr Alice Boyes, Good’s psychology expert suggests five Sunday rituals for calmer Mondays. 

Words Dr Alice Boyes. Illustration Janelle Barone, Makers MGMT

Here are five quick and extremely practical ways to prepare for your week.

Note: I’m not suggesting you do all of these. You might pick the one or two items on my list you’re most interested in. Or, you can use my ideas as a spark for generating your own. 

1. Create 10 minutes of free time.
Each Sunday I do 10 minutes of a “Monday” task. I then allow myself to recoup the benefits by having 10 minutes of chill out time on
a Monday.

For example, last weekend I sold an item on eBay and needed to mail it on Monday. On Sunday, I printed the postage, packaged it up ready to go, and put it at my front door.

Since Mondays are incredibly busy for many people, it would be easy to let this “banked” few minutes be gobbled up by another task. However, I explicitly claim those minutes I’ve gotten ahead for relaxing on Monday.

2. Cue up your entertainment for the week.
I like to listen to podcasts during downtime (driving, waiting in line, running errands etc). On Sundays I’ll download episodes for the week. I might also browse my local library’s website for audiobooks I’m interested in. Since I might need to go on a waitlist to borrow the digital item, this means I’ve always got something available to listen to. I also put charging cables and power packs that have migrated around my house or car, back to the places they’re supposed to be. 

3. Pick your outfits for the week.
I follow the Steve Jobs/ Mark Zuckerberg model of wearing different versions of the same thing every day. However, if you prefer more variety in your clothing, consider getting your outfits ready and cued up for the week on a Sunday. If you want to wear more of your clothes, picking your outfits for the full week ahead is likely to push you in the direction of more varied choices.

4. Give your body some TLC.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to let some elements of personal care go. For example, your feet are dry and cracked because you’re always rushing and don’t take the two minutes to moisturise them. Give your body some TLC, whether that’s clipping your nails, going for a walk around the block to relax, or switching away from a product that doesn’t work for you (eg the vitamins you’ve been taking are giving you reflux).

5. Order anything you’re likely to run out of in the next week or two.
When you’re almost out of an item it’s easy to keep letting that slide until the point you’ve totally run out. For example, if your printer is low on toner, or you’ve been squeezing the last bit out of the toothpaste tube for a week already. Identify a specific time and place each week to reorder these types of items, so that you don’t let those undone shopping list tasks drag on any further. 

Bonus: Review the upcoming week with your spouse or partner.
If you have a partner, spend 10 to 20 minutes finding out what each other has going on for the week and talking about your plans for shared time. This can help prevent tension arising later due to miscommunication or clashing plans.

Wrapping up
Which of these tips was most interesting and potentially useful to you? Which was least? Is there anything you already do on Sundays that helps you? Is there anything you do sporadically that it would be useful to do more consistently?

Alice Boyes, PhD, is author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit.

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