9 Things to Do Sunday To Set Yourself up for a Healthy Week

By , Kirsten Nunez
We all know what it's like to have one of "those" weeks. Day after day, you wake up late and rush out the door. When it's time to head home, you order takeout before you can even say "5 p.m." You eventually doze off next to clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away, dreaming of that workout you meant to do.

For many, the work week is pure chaos. As a result, it's common for healthy habits to take a back seat.

With the right approach, though, it's possible to set yourself up for a healthier, more balanced work week. The key is to use Sunday—or whatever day you have off—to create future opportunities for positive behaviors. You'd be amazed at what a couple hours of prep work can do for your physical, mental and emotional health during the next few days.

These nine Sunday rituals will allow you to keep a steady head and motivated mind no matter what the week throws your way. Choose what works best for you and adopt each habit as you see fit. Before you know it, the "Sunday scaries" will be a thing of the past.

1. Meal Prep

Meal prepping is one of the best things you can do on Sunday. For starters, it helps you save time and money throughout the week. It also reduces any stress you might feel in terms of shopping for and making your next meal. Most importantly, meal prep helps you eat more nutritious dishes by limiting the temptation to call the pizza guy on days when you work late, feel exhausted or are craving something that's not in line with your ultimate goals.

If you're new to home cooking, the idea of meal prep might seem intimidating. But who says you can't start small? Instead of prepping breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for an entire week, choose one meal—like breakfast, for example—and make an easy dish, like quiche or overnight oatmeal. As you develop a routine, slowly incorporate other meals and dishes.

Ultimately, when you make meals in advance, the morning rush (and post-work crash) won't govern your daily food choices.

2. Tidy Up

And when we say "tidy up," don't panic—we're not suggesting you deep clean every week. Instead, take 15 to 30 minutes out of your Sunday to clear the kitchen table, clean out your work bag and organize your vanity. Put away that laundry and take out the trash. These small tasks may not be exciting, but you'll thank yourself later.

Remember that the result doesn't need to look immaculate. The point is to take care of the little things. When you wake up and come home to an organized space (instead of a messy one), you'll notice a major shift in your mental energy.

3. Check Your Calendar

While we're on the topic of mental wellness, let's talk about your calendar. On Sunday, take a minute to look at what's on the agenda. If you work odd hours, or if your job involves many meetings and deadlines, this habit can be a gamechanger. Not only will it give you time to mentally prepare yourself for the tasks ahead, but you can make any necessary changes in advance, too. Checking your schedule also nurtures awareness and mindfulness, which is crucial for managing stress.

4. Start a Big Project

Now, about those meetings and deadlines. If you have big project coming up, why not get a head start on Sunday? Read up on necessary materials, start a rough outline or simply do some research. Whether you're a notorious procrastinator or not, spending time preparing before something big—no matter if it's building a shed outside or preparing a quarterly report for your boss—allows you the time to think about it from multiple angles and make important decisions with a clear head.

Do you have to hash out every little detail? Of course not. Instead, use this time to gently nudge yourself in the right direction. It's a small yet impactful way to reduce your stress levels during the week.

5. Schedule Exercise

We're always told to schedule exercise like appointments or meetings. Well, what better time to plan than on a Sunday? While checking your calendar, pencil in at least three workouts. Aim for at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for the week. This might include gym time, morning walks or a few spin classes.

By planning exercise in advance, workouts become something you "will do" instead of something you "should do." To top it off, you'll also be more likely to hold yourself accountable when you've already set the dates.

6. Plan Your Outfits

Planning your outfits isn't about being stylish or on-trend; it's about reducing the morning rush and getting ready on auto-pilot. Think of it like meal prep, but for your clothing. And if you wear uniforms to work? Get those ready, too. Make sure you have enough tops, bottoms and whatever else you need to last you until the next laundry day. While you're at it, prepare your gym bag, too!

When you limit any decision-making at the break of dawn, you'll have more time to be present with yourself before heading out to face the day.

7. Relax

Before heading back to the daily grind, give yourself permission to relax. Do something that makes you happy, whether it's practicing a hobby or watching a movie. It can be as simple as reading, calling a friend or taking a nice bath.

In a perfect world, we'd be able to do these things every day. But when you're exhausted after work, it can be difficult to find the energy. So, at the very least, treat yourself to some R&R on Sunday.

8. Go Outside

Make time to go outside, whether it's part of downtime or your weekend workout. For example, garden for half an hour or take the grandkids to the park. You can even just read on the porch and soak up some sun.

According to a 2018 study in Health & Place, spending time in outdoor environments reduces stress, which ultimately improves overall health. Another 2015 article in the journal Work shares that exposure to nature helps you bounce back from work-related mental fatigue. Clearly, going outside has awesome mental and emotional benefits. Who are we to argue?

9. Sleep Early

If you only do one thing on this list, make it this one.

When you get enough shuteye on Sunday night, you'll head into Monday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. In turn, you'll be able to start the week on a positive note—not a groggy one.

To set yourself up for a good night's rest, avoid caffeine at least four hours before bedtime, and expose yourself to morning light so your melatonin levels naturally drop at night. Before bed, avoid heavy meals and electronic screens. White noise machines, bubble baths and melatonin supplements can also help you hit the hay at a reasonable time.

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Pick a day folks... do your scheduling and prep or whatever helps you, call it Sunday, but pick a day Report
Pick a day folks... do your scheduling and prep or whatever helps you, call it Sunday, but pick a day Report
ARNETTELEE 6/28/2021
Thanks Report
HALEIGH20 5/29/2021
This article is really amazing. Thanks for the sharing.

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MUSICNUT 4/29/2021
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
BWRETLIND 4/19/2021
Thanks Report
USMAWIFE 4/6/2021
thank you Report
LIS193 3/28/2021
Thanks Report
LOSER05 2/13/2021
thanks Report
PAMELA984 1/10/2021
I take issue with start a big project. That’s the problem with our society - we give up our own time for work entirely too much. So why would I start a work project on my weekend - doesn’t make any sense to me at all and is counterproductive. Report
PLCHAPPELL 12/31/2020
I do several of those things Report
ROCKRS 12/20/2020
thanks Report
Adding check calendar was really helpful Report
HOLLYM48 11/12/2020
Great tips! Report
VICKIMY 10/13/2020
Great ideas Report
VICKIMY 10/13/2020
Great ideas Report
CECELW 10/11/2020
good ideas and tips Report
FRAN0426 9/30/2020
As a person who can exercise anytime of the week, as I am retired, I take Sunday completely off on Sundays. There are times when I will do some exercise on Sunday, but not often. Report
VICKIMY 9/28/2020
Great ideas Report
Thanks Report
Amazing tips to spent Sundays well. After reading this I must say one thing this article is very much pertinent, Sleep early is the best advice and suggestion for the people who are thinking to cut down their fat. Report
Great article, thank you. Report
Well I didn't get outside on this rainy day but most of the other suggestions are checked off Report
Good ideas. Report
I was happy while reading this because I have implemented most of them into my journey. I love meal prep and batch cooking. It sets me up for an on plan new week. Report
At first I thought you were suggesting we do all of them, and felt myself become very panicked. Fortunately I figured out that wasn't the case. Good ideas! Report
Great list of suggestions! At first, I thought you Report
I have a problem with #4. If you want to work on big home project that's one thing, but advising people to work on WORK projects on their down time I think is wrong. Work-life balance is very important and there are several articles and blogs about it on this website. We shouldn't advise people to work without pay on their days off. Report
Definitely practical suggestions Report
Great - just what I needed today. I don't always have a Sunday off from work - but this one is at the end of a week's leave; back to work tomorrow. I am transferring this list of tips to my BUJO today. Thanks xxx Report
As the houseboat season comes to an end, I'll return to Sunday's routine, starting with church, roasting sweet potatoes and other veggies for the upcoming week's lunches, and a few of the other tips in this article! Report
Great tips. I may just start implementing these soon. Report
Always good to have a strategy! Report
Great blog, very motivating! Thank you. Report
Good reminders! Report
I try to everything on Sunday which is my day off from my crazy job as a nurse and its completely impossible to do everything in one day. So I try to do some prep work through out the week so that on sunday I don't fell completely overwhelmed. Report
Thanks Report
Great tips! Thanks! Report
Great. More scheduling on the one day I get to relax. When will this busyness stop? Report
Thank you Report
Great article! Report
Thank You! Report
Great tips! Report
Thanks Report
Thank you for this article Report
Good read. Good need-to-know information. Report
My schedule is very different than the schedule which is advocated here--yet the article still contains things useful in my scenario. Thanks. Report
Prep helps, but so does relaxing.. Report
Thank you for these great tips. Report