Sunday is my favourite day of the week. My day to take it easy, to kick back, to do very little. That all sounds rather indulgent, doesn't it? Perhaps it is... but it shouldn't be. We should all have those days without pressure and responsibilities and lists of chores, don't you think? I don't have any extra help on Sundays, like someone to cook for me or do my chores ... All it takes is just a little bit of planning.
One of the things that helps most is no gadgets on Sunday mornings - in other words no technology, phones, TV etc before 12:00. At first this was a struggle. The kids were resistant to say the least. But the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages - for a start my kids talk to me on Sunday mornings - and they talk to each other. They do their homework, and I have time just to sit and help (if needed) over a coffee or two. They play with the cat, instead of staring at cartoon cats on a screen. They cook breakfast. They draw. They create. They even tidy their room if they get super bored. The list could go on. But the best bit? They sleep in - EVERY Sunday morning. They don't drag themselves out of their deep slumber to play computer games or watch TV, instead they turn over and go back to sleep or pick up a book to read in bed.
How can I be chore-free on a Sunday? It's easy, with a little bit of preparation. These are some of the things I try to do:
- Iron mid-week so the kids always have uniforms ready for Monday.
- Start little routines to keep Sundays free, for example cleaning school shoes and packing school bags on Saturday.
- Prepare a nice meal on Saturday so we can eat leftovers on Sunday. Or if that won't work, prepare ingredients ready to put into the slow cooker on Sunday morning. Or if you're lucky, go out for lunch.
- Have regular clear outs - donate things you don't need. Less things means less organising and less cleaning.
- Simplify your routines...take short-cuts where you can. I'm discovering little time hacks all the time. Items that don't need ironing, having a quick supper one night (something on toast/jacket potatoes/pizza), always having a couple of loaves of bread in the freezer.
- Ask family members to help. On Saturday, my daughter keeps the dishwasher empty and my son will help put away the laundry.
- Make use of free time during the week instead of leaving chores to the last minute. Instead of checking social media one more time, hoover the lounge or put the washing machine on.
- Don't be a perfectionist. Ok, so maybe the carpet could do with a quick hoover and the shelves really need dusting. It can wait till Monday, tell yourself that you're more important.
- Make Sundays a priority -> plan something exciting, restful or relaxing so that you have a reason to get all your chores done ahead of time.
Plan something exciting or adventurous - or plan nothing at all. Do whatever works for you. Had a busy week and just want to chill out? Have a good book handy, plenty of coffee, your movie subscription and a lazy day to recharge your batteries. Feeling energetic? Plan a hike or visit somewhere that you have a passion for on Sunday. Lie your clothes out the day before, pack your bags, put fuel in your car and plan to enjoy yourself. Feeling creative? Take up a new hobby or craft. The possibilities are endless - as long as you carve out this time and plan ahead.
It doesn't have to be Sunday. If Sundays are busy for you, take your time out on another day of the week. Do you have an afternoon or evening when you can just relax? If that's too much, then start off smaller. Could 7-8pm on a week night be your time to just rest or do something fun? If that works, increase it to two hours, make it a habit. Make it something to look forward to.
Lastly - don't feel guilty! Studies have shown that taking time out can have health benefits, too. Dr. Matthew Sleeth, a former emergency room physician, talks about how (until 1994 in the UK) stores weren't allowed to trade on Sundays. It meant that families had more time together both because they weren't shopping but also because they weren't expected to work on a Sunday. Nowadays, "We go 24/7 ... and I think it's having health consequences. I think more and more, there's a consensus that it leads to depression and anxiety." You can read a full interview here.
I'd love to hear how you take time out of your schedule to just relax and rest up. Do you have any tips for getting those chores done? Have you got anything special planned for this Sunday? I'd love to read your thoughts, please comment below.