Self-Care Sundays

Slowing down on Sunday…

is rooted in the Christian tradition. As far back as the second century, Sunday was a day of gathering to reflect upon Jesus’ resurrection. For believers and non-believers alike, Sunday has long been a day of rest and reflection.

Growing up outside of Chicago many years ago, our Sundays were reserved for family and church. And, depending on the time of year, watching the Chicago Bears.  My friend Coco, a true southerner, says that Sundays in the South are preserved for faith and football. My friend Dan from the SF Bay Area cooks large meals for his Italian family every Sunday.

No matter where you live or what traditions you honor, protecting Sunday as a day of rest has become increasingly difficult.

My experience is that Sundays in America have transformed into another day for productivity. There are countless reasons why this has happened: Kids’ sports are now commonplace on Sunday because unfortunately, most sports in the US occur outside of the school system. And, with children entering competitive sports at such young ages, weekends are devoted to their sports. So, Sunday is just another day to plan for and execute the extracurricular schedule. 

Many American families are dual-income. So, Sunday is a day to get caught up and ready for the week. Grocery shopping, meal prep, and laundry. Yay! Because many of us are always plugged in to work thanks to our smartphones, our minds often start churning prematurely in preparation for Monday – robbing us from our day off.

There’s more social pressure to be doing on Sunday. Everything is open and everyone is busy accomplishing things — who are we to chillax?

In the last few years, I felt my Sundays inching away. I often felt cheated because I wanted to slow down and resentful because I could not. Like many of my friends, I had taken to rising very early to squeeze in exercise before the commitments kicked in. Wait, was this Sunday? Because it looked an awful like like Monday — just less traffic. 

The idea to dedicate a day to slow down, spend quality time with our loved ones to BE and not DO is vital to our wellness. So much so that there’s a movement to reclaim Sunday. Have you heard of it? #selfcareSundays

Michelle Obama and Oprah prioritize Sunday as a day of Self Care.

Beloved Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently re-popularized slowing down on Sundays (#selfcareSunday) as a day for women to take care of themselves. Recently, Oprah is sharing her #selfcareSunday on her social media posts. Let’s face it if these two amazing souls are doing it — #selfcareSundays is a thing. Oprah and Michelle, like all of us, are yearning for fewer to-dos and a higher quality of life!

The Swiss know all about #selfcareSunday.

With its roots religious roots in Christianity, Sunday has been a day of rest in Switzerland for centuries. Only 38% of the population describe themselves as Roman Catholic, while one fifth doesn’t identify with any denomination at all. Yet still, Sunday is a day of peace and quiet for the Swiss. The majority of stores (grocery, consumer, services) and restaurants in Switzerland are closed on Sunday. That’s right, C L O S E D, people!

A popular Swiss saying is there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear! Regardless of the weather, most Swiss are outside with their loved ones taking strolls, hikes, skiing, biking – anything outdoors with family. And, for those of us who love the outdoors, it’s our church – our connection with humanity, ourselves, and a higher power.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

John Muir

While most of Europe has opened its doors to Sunday shoppers, critics call the Swiss tradition of no shopping on Sunday “outdated”, but, the Swiss carry on undeterred. 

With the stores closed and a culture that protects Sunday as a family day, I now have #selfcareSunday with little effort. Now that I am out of the pattern of a busy Sunday, I realize no matter what I am, I can create a Sunday that feeds my soul.

How to Create #SelfCare Sundays  – No Matter Where you Live.

  1. Know your values and if things don’t fit into your values say no to those things. I realize the source of my discontent on Sundays was that I was out of alignment with my values.
  2. Don’t be afraid to swim upstream. It’s not easy to go against your peer group. But, have the courage to take care of yourself and live by your values. Be an example for your kids.
  3. Say no more often. Read my dear friend and brilliant coach, Denise Green’s article on How to Say No with Grace, not Guilt.
  4. Limit your children’s sports activities. Children are over-booked these days and the amount of stress competitive sports is putting on their still-growing bones is well-documented. Considering joining teams for recreation, not competition.
  5. Protect your time. One of my coaching clients established “No Meeting Fridays”. He would only work on strategic and important issues on Friday and simply would not take any meetings. And, he stuck to it. We can all protect our Sundays, too.
  6. Plan ahead with your shopping and meals. With shops closed on Sunday, I plan our weekend meals on Thursday or Friday and make sure to have the ingredients on hand. I also don’t meal prep on Sunday anymore. The refrigerators are small in Europe, so, I just go to the store more often. It’s a trade-off, but I have my Sundays back.

What is your tradition on Sunday? Do you feel that you get enough down-time on that day? If not, I’m interested in how these tips might help and what you do to keep one day a week restful.

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