Expert self-care Sunday tips to start your week on a high

Self-care Sunday can be the key to setting yourself up for a productive, happy and healthy week ahead. Here’s how to make the most of it.

From taking time out in nature to clearing away clutter, five health and wellness gurus reveal their secrets to transforming your Sundays and prepping for the week to come.

Take time out

Professor Ian Hickie, co-director of health and policy at The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre and the author of The Devil You Knew:

“If you live a busy and full life, it’s important to take time out on the weekend.

I’m fortunate that my partner forces me outside on the weekend into the bright sunshine and makes me go for a walk.

We spend two to three hours in nature, walking, swimming and relaxing.

I spend my time talking to people about the importance of paying attention to your body clock – the human battery becomes exhausted during the day and you recharge it with a good night’s sleep.

Our body clocks need to be reset every day.

When we lose that body clock, we tend to graze and become unhealthy.

Being in alignment with your body clock is vitally important for your mental health.

Getting outdoors into the morning light from 6am to 8am helps to reset your body clock, gives you energy and makes more energy.

During the week this can be difficult but even 10 to 15 minutes can help – walk to the coffee shop, walk to work, get moving.

It’s all about regularity.

Before the sun goes down, try to get outside once more.”

Tune into your mind and body

Allana Frisken, founder of Muse Pilates Studio:

“On Sunday, I schedule my workouts and plan meals.

I assess how I’m feeling and what my body is telling me.

When I have a week filled with a high mental load, and a lot of concentration is needed, I like to incorporate Lion’s Mane, a natural nootropic.

The week before my period, I double my magnesium intake to ease any discomfort.”

Plot out the week ahead

Keri Krieger, Chinese acupuncturist and founder of a rewilding course for women:

“The way I prepare for the week ahead is mundane but no less magical – the key elements are meals, movement, magic and management.

Cooking is my Achilles heel, so the freezer is my best friend.

My partner and I purchase fresh produce on the weekend, meals are prepped and we allocate cooking nights so we know who is in charge on which nights.

I decide which days I’m attending a yoga class or doing a home workout.

Daily dog walks are non-negotiable; this is time we can spend with each other before our days officially begin.

Sunday night is also bath night – I even write this in my planner.

When those alerts pop up on my screen, it’s a gift from my past self.

I also make sure I know what the one most essential task is for each writing and admin day; this goes on the top of the list to avoid overwhelm.

Checking in with myself and my partner, assessing what we need practically and emotionally to support us, sets the intention for a smooth week ahead.”

Get outdoors

Dr Libby Weaver, nutritional biochemist and author of several books, including Rushing Woman’s Syndrome:

“I ring my mum on a Sunday for a long chat.

It’s a ritual and a gorgeous time to catch up with her.

I also spend at least half the day in my garden, especially if it’s sunny; I love being outside in my gumboots, mulching, weeding, trimming.

It doesn’t sound like I’m getting organised, but being in the garden is good for my nervous system and for my brain.

I grow many of my own vegetables too.

I also sort out my diary on a Sunday. I have a very structured diary – it’s divided into “personal” and “work”.

I write a list, then allocate each item to its column for a specific day; then I don’t think about what I need to do until that day, when I see my to-do list.

If I find myself worrying or getting stressed, then I stop and reframe my thoughts.

Instead of worrying about what I must do, I instead think how lucky I am to do what I do and have the career that I have.

I’ve taught myself to remember there are drawbacks to everything; nothing is either amazing or bad – it’s about making the most of each moment.

The power to change and reframe each situation is in my head and it’s my choice.”

Tap into dopamine

Tanith Carey is the author of Feeling ‘Blah’?

“I clear any clutter around the house that has built up over the previous week.

Research shows that people in chaotic environments feel out of control of their lives and less likely to make healthy choices.

I plan something for the week ahead to look forward to.

Joy is not one thing, it’s three: wanting, liking and remembering.

Dopamine, the main neurotransmitter that drives our brain’s primal reward system, is triggered by anticipation, not reward.

When I do this activity, I really make an effort to sink into it, triggering the release of feel-good chemicals like opioids.

To help me remember how good it felt, I record it and write it down at the end of the day.

I also go on an “awe walk”, consciously taking notice of nature around me.

I think about the fact that even if there are tough moments in the week ahead (and there always will be), there will be micro-moments of joy too.

Keeping an eye out for these “glimmers” gives me time to calm my nervous system.”

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Written by Charmaine Yabsley.