Once upon a time, says Dr. Matthew Sleeth, author of 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life, you couldn’t even make purchases on a Sunday because it was considered the day society stopped to rest for a while. Today, our communities are so consumed with 24/7 news cycles and workweeks that we easily forget we need this time to rest and recuperate. Yet a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. So how do we make Sundays splendid again?
For many Americans it begins with church. But as we all know, after Sunday dinner it’s easy to find chores around the house, or the work project that needs tending, to fill up our Sunday afternoon or evenings.
In an article titled “Make Sunday a Day of Rest, Not Stress,” author Mary Brodeur writing for Verily Magazine gives 4 points to do just that:
Most people experience similar emotions by the time Sunday rolls around—the dreaded realization that the weekend is already over. But if the “Sunday Scaries” are getting to you before you even begin Sunday, you’re missing out on the opportunity to appreciate it as the first day of the week—not the last day of your weekend, she writes.
But an article about giving yourself a day of rest isn’t new of course, the idea is as old as the Book of Genesis. God knew what He was doing when he rested and asked mankind to also keep a day of rest.
This day of rest is what Dr. Sleeth, calls a “stop day”—to cease from all work. “When we’re constantly going,” Dr. Sleeth tells CNN, “we pour out chemicals to try to meet those stresses. We have short-term stress hormones like adrenaline, and longer-term hormones like the steroids that we pour out.” When we deprive ourselves of a “stop day,” we’re denying our bodies a chance to slow down those hormones and reset.
Everyone’s definition of recuperating is different, but the objective should remain the same: Do whatever will minimize your stress levels for the week ahead. Start by making these four small adjustments to revert Sunday back to the revitalizing life tonic it is meant to be.
1. Strategize ahead
Ensuring your Sunday can be work-free actually starts on Monday. Fidji Simo, Director of Product at Facebook, told Fortune his number one productivity tip: “Write down your priorities on Monday morning, and rearrange your agenda for the week to make sure it will allow you to address these priorities. If I don’t do this, I find myself reacting to what’s most urgent during the week, instead of focusing on what’s most important.”
Mother, editor, and Verily contributor Lindsay Schlegel also reminds us that making Sunday a day of rest means preparing for it during the rest of your week instead of leaving plans up to the last minute. “Saturday morning is not the time to decide to make Sunday a day of rest.” Push yourself to wrap up projects and tasks regularly throughout the week so you aren’t cramming on Friday and realizing things will have to overflow into the weekend.
2. Treat yourself
You’ll never regret taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional health. There’s no better day to capitalize on this priority than Sunday. Consider it as both a relaxing closure to the week prior and your revitalizing launch into the week ahead. Rejuvenate and de-stress your mind and body by taking a long bath, picking up that book you’ve been wanting to read, perusing Pinterest for a healthy recipes to make for lunches and dinners, or writing down some personal, non-work goals and aspirations for the coming week.
3. Exercise. Or take the day off
If your idea of relaxing means going for a five-mile run that you couldn’t squeeze in during your busy weekdays, then so be it! But if exercise brings you more stress than rest, give yourself the day to lay low. Try simple stretches, like these easy yoga moves to help relax your muscles and your mind so you stress less. Whatever your preference may be—exercising or easing off—make Sunday the day you focus on refreshing your body in the best way it needs.
4. Go for a Sunday drive or stroll
Kovert is a company that designs experiments to see how we are interacting with technology and then creates products to help people balance their tech use. In one study, reported by Fast Company, Kovert took a group of business leaders into the Moroccan desert and made them go on a three-day digital detox. As a result, the participants had better posture, made more eye contact, were more conversational with their cohort, got more efficient sleep, and demonstrated better memory. Of course, we can’t all do a full-blown detox every weekend, but try to allow for some screen-free time on Sunday. Even a small dose will do a stressed mind and body some good. Leave your phone at home and take to the open road, whether on wheels or on foot for a regular Sunday stroll.