Self-care is trending for good reason. Learn how to create a routine that flips the script on the Sunday scaries.

Sunday generally involves prepping for the week ahead. But what if that prep included loving yourself?

Science shows that intentional resting and recharging are essential to reducing stress and supporting your overall mental health. And fortunately, back-to-basics self-care is available to everyone, regardless of financial or time constraints.

Wanna flip the script on the Sunday scaries? Here’s why we love a good self-care Sunday, plus ideas on how to build it into your weekly routine.

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A 2021 study defined self-care as “the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.”

So, “self-care Sunday” is the radical idea of devoting one day a week to de-stressing and nourishing your health and well-being.

Why Sunday? Well, because many of us dread Sundays almost as much as Mondays. In one LinkedIn survey, 80% of professionals say they experience the “Sunday scaries,” an anticipatory angst about the workweek ahead.

Bottom line: Whether you opt for a self-care Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, the point is to consciously check in with yourself and recharge at least one day a week. Build this into a routine, and your future self will thank you.

Here are five ways to rest and recharge on a self-care Sunday.

Take a walk

Walking outside is one of the simplest ways to squeeze a few physical and physiological benefits into your Sunday.

An older review says consistent bouts of walking have many cardiovascular benefits. Walking can also reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost overall longevity.

A 2021 study showed that middle-aged men and women who walked at least 7,000 steps daily lowered their risk of death by 50–70%. #winning

An older 2004 study also linked walking to lowered anxiety and depression — plus, it boosted moods overall.


Meditation might be the GOAT in terms of self-care. Meditation has tangible mental health benefits (more on that in a sec), and it can add a deeper sense of meaning to your life.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes that meditation can help:

A 2020 study suggested that mindful meditation can also be an effective, low cost way to manage stress during crises.

Learn something new

Been wanting to learn a new skill but haven’t had the time? Why not mix it into your self-care Sundays?

Educational enrichment not only smashes boredom but it’s proven to improve adults’ cognitive skillz. Some ideas to get your gears turning:

Thanks to the internet, you can learn virtually anything you want for free. Nothing but YOU can hold you back!

Take a bath

Drawing a warm bath is usually reserved for the end of a long, stressful day. But who says you have to wait for the evening on Sunday Funday? Submerging yourself at any time of day can bring on a nice, serene sense of well-being.

Fun fact: One 2018 study suggested that regular baths benefit physical and mental health more than taking a long shower.

Cook your favorite meal

Food, glorious food! Creating your favorite concoctions and reaping the enjoyment can be a truly soulful experience.

Cooking satisfies your tastebuds and tummy, of course. But it also activates motor coordination, adaptability, and flexibility — all physical functions that can add to your good vibes and psychosocial wellness.

Laugh a little (or a lot)

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, so why not add some funnies to your self-care Sunday?

Research has linked the physical act of laughing to internal chemical changes that support stress reduction and pain tolerance.

Infuse a little LOL comedy with a side-splitting movie, a funny meme exchange with a friend, or sharing silly anecdotes that help you loosen up and laugh at yourself. Just have fun with it!

Planning a self-care Sunday routine can be as easy as you make it.

Here are some general steps to include:

  1. Reflect: Write down what self-care is to *you.* What areas of your life (physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual) could use a little boost? What recharges your batteries? Is it time spent alone or with others? Does that look like doing things that are comfortable or challenging?
  2. Brainstorm a list of ideas: Yep, write down a list of all the relaxing and recharging ideas and activities that come to mind.
  3. Block your time: While the idea is to devote the whole day to yourself, that’s not always realistic for everyone. Determine how much time you can commit every Sunday. Twenty minutes? An hour? Half the day? Only you know. Now block it on your calendar!
  4. Make a plan: Now it’s time to align your idea list with the time blocks you’ve scheduled each Sunday. You could do the same activity every week, devise multiple schedules, plan a month in advance, or do whatever sounds good to you.
  5. Practice, practice, practice: Not every self-care Sunday will go as planned. Interruptions are part of life. But the more you execute your plans, the more fine-tuned they’ll become.

Oh, so many things. Many of us are experiencing busy, multi-layered, hustle-and-bustle schedules these days. It’s easy to forget to engage in self-care.

There are many *external* reasons our own self-care ends up on the back burner, like:

Unfortunately, one of the most significant barriers to self-care is the belief that it’s frivolous, expensive, or just plain unattainable. But friends, hear this: Self-care is essential. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Lack of self-care signs

When we get caught up in survival mode, self-neglect can take a toll on our health and relationships.

Here are some signs that you’ve got a deficit of self-care in your life:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • feeling “burnout
  • frequent sickness
  • increased irritability
  • low energy, in general
  • extra physical aches and pains
  • feeling unproductive at work
  • strained relationships
  • feeling unusually anxious or depressed
  • social withdrawal

Do any of these sound familiar? If so, try to take a moment to check in, make a self-care Sunday plan, and even browse through some mental health resources.

How do I start self-care daily?

When diving into any new daily routine, it helps to pick one focus and then gradually add more.

We suggest starting with one of these:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and try to limit caffeinated beverages because their diuretic properties can contribute to dehydration.
  • Prioritize sleep: Aim for a sleep schedule of approximately 8 hours of shut-eye. Blue light from electronics can make it harder to fall asleep, so reduce exposure before bedtime.
  • Try a few minutes of daily relaxation: Explore wellness programs or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises.
  • Keep a gratitude journal: Every morning or evening, write down three things you were thankful for in the last 24 hours.

What is a good self-care routine?

A good self-care routine includes activities that touch on the five categories of well-being: physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual.

What day is self-care day?

International Self-Care Day (ISD) is recognized every year on July 24. This day brings awareness to how self-care benefits your health in many ways.

Of course, any day can be a personal self-care day.

Wanna take a step toward living your best life? Declare the first day of the week self-care Sunday!

Engaging in a regular self-care routine has often been proven to increase happiness; reduce anxiety, depression, and stress; and improve concentration and energy.

Now that you know self-care activities can be super affordable and accessible, you have the power to improve your relationship with yourself. Sunday scaries, be gone!