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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MARITIMER3 3/28/2019
These are all good suggestions, but you've missed one that is important to me... go to the church, synagogue or mosque of your choice to give thanks and find inspiration for the next week. Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/28/2019
ty Report
ERIN_POSCH 3/28/2019
thank you Report
AZMOMXTWO 3/28/2019
thank you Report
RHOOK20047 3/28/2019
And if you need help with any of those things, start the day giving thanks to your maker is a great way to start the week. Spending time at church is a great way to start the week. Report
HMBROWN1 3/28/2019
Already doing most of those but good reminders! Report
FERRETLOVER1 3/28/2019
Great - thanks! Report
DRAGONFLY631 3/28/2019
Doing most of these things already and plan on giving the others a chance. Thanks Report
RAPUNZEL53 3/28/2019
Great reminder. Report
RD03875 3/28/2019
Sounds like a plan. Report
DWROBERGE 3/28/2019
great article Report
DARCY-B 3/27/2019
Doing some of these. Will branch out and try more.
SHOAPIE 3/26/2019
Great tips. Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/26/2019
ty Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/26/2019
ty Report
Thanks Report
KHALIA2 3/25/2019
Great tips! Thanks! Report
DMEYER4 3/25/2019
great tips Report
ZRIE014 3/25/2019
great info Report
DWROBERGE 3/25/2019
great info Report
SPINECCO 3/24/2019
Great ideas. Thanks. Report
JIACOLO 3/24/2019
I do many of these every Sunday and they certainly help me start the week well. Report
BUBBLYARIES01 3/24/2019
I like to use Sundays to catch up on phone calls to friends and relatives as we all seem to be more relaxed that day. Report
SXB990 3/24/2019
Great article Report
LOSER05 3/24/2019
Thanks Report
ZRIE014 3/24/2019
very good ideas Report
DWROBERGE 3/23/2019
great ideas Report
GABY1948 3/23/2019
Thanks Report
MNABOY 3/23/2019
Thanks Report
BGRAEF 3/23/2019
Very good ideas, thanks. Report
PETRA320 3/23/2019
Thank You Report
NANCYPAT1 3/23/2019
Great ideas for a successful week! Report
NANCYPAT1 3/23/2019
Great ideas for a successful week! Report
NANCYPAT1 3/23/2019
Great ideas for a successful week! Report
NANCYPAT1 3/23/2019
Great ideas for a successful week! Report
RAPUNZEL53 3/23/2019
Thanks. Report
ANHELIC 3/23/2019
Thank you for the suggestions. Report
ZRIE014 3/23/2019
thanks. Report
DWROBERGE 3/23/2019
great tips Report
USMAWIFE 3/22/2019
tkhank you Report
KHALIA2 3/22/2019
Thank you for these great tips! Report
Great tips! Report
PWILLOW1 3/22/2019
Good plan Report
GABY1948 3/22/2019
great Report
Meal prep really works for me Report
MNABOY 3/22/2019
Thanks Report
JANIEWWJD 3/22/2019
Love all the tips!!! Thanks!!! Report
LOSER05 3/22/2019
Thanks Report