We all know our fast-paced lives can leave us feeling tired and worn out. If you don’t fill your own cup, how will you care for those around you? Self-care Sunday is about dedicating one day a week to your self-care. It means pampering yourself and recharging so that you don’t end up feeling depleted over time.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Self-care is about ensuring you don’t burn out. Not only will burnout affect you mentally, but also physically. Burnout and exhaustion can lead you to feel out of control, unable to see a clear road ahead, tired, and frustrated. ‘Busy’ used to be worn as a badge of honor but I’m so pleased that ‘busy’ has become less sexy and what women want more of, is self-love and self-care.
Where to start?
Self-care is unique to each person. One person may enjoy baths and candles, whereas another might shudder at the thought of sitting in the bathroom for an extended period of time, yet prefer getting hot and sweaty on a hike.
That is where the Self-Care Wheel comes in. If you haven’t heard of the Self-Care Wheel, this post explains it in detail. It’s about looking at the six aspects of self-care: psychological, emotional, spiritual, personal, professional, and physical. You will need to nurture all aspects to thrive.
Sleep and Self-Care
One thing that is common to you, me and all women is that we need quality sleep to thrive. The latest guidelnes from the Sleep Foundation suggest that the optimum range for adults aged 26-64 is 7-9 hours per night (with an extended range of 6-10 hours).
Those over the age of 65 need an average of 7-8 hours (with an extended range of 5-9 hours). Your need for sleep will depend on you, so that is why there is a range. But if you wake up after 7 hours feeling tired, it means you most likely need more sleep.
So to prepare for your Self Care Sunday, make sure you get enough sleep on Saturday night. That way you will feel refreshed and ready for your Self Care routine on Sunday morning.
Planning your Self-Care Sunday
It’s best to have a plan set out so that you have prepared all that you need for Self Care Sunday and your start on the right foot.
Think about your activities for the day. Do you need supplies? Do you have the candles and bath bombs ready for that relaxing bath? How will the kids be occupied (if you have any)? Do you want the whole day dedicated to self-care or are you happy with one or more chunks?
Now make sure you block that time for you and remember that you are important, and this is necessary for your overall health. If other things try to creep into your time and take over (and they’re not critical), remember that you need that oxygen mask on yourself first. Otherwise, you won’t be at your best to support and love those around you.
4 Self-Care Sunday Ideas that Science Backs
Numerous studies show that meditation is very good for your overall health. A 2016 study showed that meditation can have a positive impact on your relationships. Meditation has also been shown to increase resilience to stress.
Haven’t meditated or don’t know where to start? You can try out guided meditations and there are plenty on the internet if you just google ‘Guided Meditations’. You can choose the length of time based on your self care plan.
Don’t want a guided meditation? Just bring our attention to something, like your forehead. With your eyes closed, focus on our forehead and sit quietly. Your mind will wonder. That’s ok. Just bring your attention back to your forehead.
2. Go out into nature
Study after study shows the positive health benefits associated with spending time in nature. Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku (in Japan) is the practice of immersing yourself in nature. Research shows that forest bathers have optimum nervous system functions, well-balanced heart conditions, and reduced bowel disorders.
3. Take a bath with the works
I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time I indulged in a long bath with the works. Think candles that smell divine, a glass of wine, a beauty mask, and bath soak. I’m melting just thinking of it. Get your supplies ahead of time, or get enough for a number of Self Care Sundays and store them away. And yes, this one has the backing of science too. In a study conducted on two groups of participants, one group who bathed (immersed in water) and another who showered (not immersed in water), the bathers were the winners in terms of mental and physical health.
4. Meet up with a friend or loved one
Studies have shown that keeping healthy relationships can actually help us live longer. Robert Waldinger, a professor in psychiatry and Study Director for the Harvard Study of Adult Development said “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships have a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”
So we know that relationships are important and social isolation is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. So why not connect with someone who gives you good vibes on a Self Care Sunday?
More Self-Care Sunday Ideas
If you are not yet ready for the full meditation session with crossed legs and thumb to forefinger business, mindfulness may be the next best thing. Mindfulness is simply an awareness of the present moment and it’s actually very similar to meditation. Through mindfulness, you are free from becoming stuck in thoughts of your past or worrying about your future. The aim is to spend most of our day in this mode but starting with 5 minutes, moving on to 10 minutes, and so on is a good way to stay in that mind frame.
Mindfulness leads to mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness. How to do it? Turn your attention to your surroundings. You can do it with your eyes open, or closed. Listen to the sounds around you, are there aromas you can pick up? What can you feel on your skin? What’s the temperature like? Immerse yourself in all of these sensations and just relax.
6. Start a self-care journal
A journal can be anything you want it to be. It can be a place where you try to discover who you really and what you value, or a place to list the things that you are grateful for. It can be a space to just record your thoughts and learn how to change that negative self talk with positive thoughts. Or a space for you to remember back to all the times you showed strength, record it so that you can come back to it when you feel down. If you’re having issues with the partner, why not write down all the things you love about them, the little things they do for you and how you will approach future conversations with empathy and love. There is so much you can write about, dream of and plan, the options are endless.
7. Buy yourself flowers
Indulge yourself with a nice bouquet of flowers because you deserve it. Surrounding yourself with nature’s beauty is sure to help ground you and get that zen back into your life.
8. Plant a tree
On your first Self Care Sunday or your next one if you’ve already started, you can plant a tree that signifies new beginnings and growth for you. Every time you go out into the garden you’ll remember the commitment you’ve made to yourself and reaffirm your commitment to self care. You are so worthy of care and love.
9. Binge watch your favorite show
You know when you’re hooked on a show, and you want to keep watching, but that feeling of guilt creeps in. Well, there is no guilt on Self Care Sunday. Just enjoy it. Also, try to remember to get enough sleep. I’ve binge-watched into the early hours of the morning and then paid for it the next day.
10. Bake a cake
If cakes, cookies, and muffins are your thing, it’s ok to treat yourself once in a while, as long as you do it in moderation. If you have kids, they’ll love you for it too. Why not share some cake with a neighbor or friend. Knocking on someone’s door with a treat is always a great way to start conversations or even new friendships.
11. Go for a Sunday drive
Got nowhere to be? It’s OK, just get in the car or on the bicycle and drive. A change of scenery is as good as a holiday and what better day to take a slow drive than on a Sunday?
12. Make a green juice or healthy smoothie
Sometimes it’s challenging to pull out the juicer, cut up the vegetables and make a nice green juice that you pay a fortune for when you buy out. Why not find a nice recipe, go out and buy the vegetables if you don’t have them on hand, and take your time making a healthy, thirst-quenching juice or smoothie. Read more: 10 best weight loss smoothies with 300 calories or less.
13. Come up with a sleep hygiene plan
If sleep is an area of our life that needs improvement, you can take time on a Self Care Sunday to write down all the things you can improve to get your hygiene right. Some things you can think about include: blue light and limiting exposure to screens before bed, coming up with a night routine to get you sleepy, reducing or cutting out caffeine. You may also want to stop drinking caffeinated beverages at 2pm. Lastly, you may want to try sleep-inducing foods and drinks. Read more: 5 bedtime smoothies to help you sleep.
14. Be spontaneous
Maybe you just need to wake up on a Sunday, and go with the flow, with minimal planning. Your body and soul is great at telling you what you need, listen to it. Just make sure it’s legal.
15. Go to the museum
As you walk through a museum, reflect on the things you see and try to feel their energy. I can’t tell you the feeling I get when I see a beautiful piece of art that used to sit on someone’s wall many hundreds of years ago. While you’re there, think about your life and what you want it to represent at the end. What do you want people to say about you when they remember your life?
16. Go out for a coffee on your own
If you have children, you know what it’s like. It’s mom this, and mom that. You are their mother, clown, carer, cook, cleaner and so much more. But sitting on your own, drinking a coffee – it’s just you with your thoughts. You can take your self-care journal down to the cafe and do your self-reflection there. I like that line in one of Sabrina Claudio’s songs. It goes ‘I’m alone but I’m not lonely.’ You can definitely be alone but not feel lonely.
17. Go out for high tea with friends
Good company, good food. Enough said.
18. Play a sport you enjoy
Life happens and it can get in the way of the things we used to enjoy, so they just fall off the list and we stop. But why don’t you reignite that feeling of enjoyment from playing sport? Did you swim many years ago? Book yourself in at the pool, or go to the beach. Did you enjoy team sports? Sign up and join a team. It’s a commitment but if it brings you joy, and you can juggle it, it’s worth it.
19. Start reading that book you’ve been wanting to read
Hard copy books, or audiobooks, whatever you prefer, just get back into it. I like audiobooks because I can do two things at once. But some people like the feeling of holding a book the good old-fashioned way. You can plan out what you will read once you’ve finished one book, and slot your reading sessions into your week.
20. Go on a retreat
You can book yourself into a retreat doing something relaxing, or just different. There are drumming retreats and other unusual ones if yoga and meditation is not your thing.
21. Go out to a spa
Get pampered like you deserve to be with a spa day. Manicure, pedicure, facial, massage or more. So many options to choose from. Savor every moment and remember, you deserve it.
22. Try an escape room
If adventure and suspense is your thing, why not try an escape room. You have to solve a series of riddles, puzzles, and questions to achieve the goal and escape the room in the allocated time. It’s a fun family activity, go with a friend, or alone.
23. Fruit picking
There’s something so satisfying about picking ripe fruit from the tree. The fresh smell of nature, birds chirping and the sun shining. It’s got the perfect ingredients for a lazy Sunday. Then you go home and enjoy the freshly picked fruit and share your bounty with loved ones or neighbors.
24. Just sleep in
You don’t have to rush off, so why not just sleep a little longer, or just lay in bed thinking about the things you’re grateful for. You can use this time to connect spiritually to God or a higher power, whatever you believe.
25. Start or work on your vision board
How do you picture your life for the future? A vision board is a physical representation of the future you are working towards and can keep you focused and on track. Self Care Sundays are a perfect time to update that vision board or start a new one.
26. Bathe in sunlight
Sit in the sun with a cup of coffee and practice mindfulness, or write in your journal. The sun is the prime source of Vitamin D which is so important for a healthy body and mind.
27. Build yourself up with self-care affirmations
Affirmations are a great way to change the tape recording in your head that doesn’t serve you. The best time to work on affirmations is right after you wake up, or as you’re falling asleep. The reason for this is that your subconscious is most open to suggestions at these times. Choose a couple to focus on until they become part of your thinking. Then move on to the others. Here’s a great list of affirmations to start you off.
- I am special, one of a kind.
- I am kind to myself when things don’t go as planned.
- My body serves in amazing ways. I am grateful for it.
- I forgive myself
- My past has made me who I am today
- I am learning to love myself more and more every day
- I am enough
- I deserve the best things in life
- I deserve to be happy
- I am worthy of love and respect