Check out Paddle Into Fitness instructor Mandy’s article in Mind Body Green!
From Friday afternoon until the very last minute on Sunday, I committed to too many activities, leaving me feeling defeated and ill-equipped for the week ahead.
I found myself at 3am Sunday night (now technically, Monday morning) tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep, wrought with stress over all the things I needed to get done in the coming week and feeling totally unprepared. Not only was my mind racing, but my hips were aching since I couldn’t squeeze even a single pigeon in to my entire weekend, and now my heart felt unsettled as disappointment and fear tried their very best to take over.
All of this could have been avoided by carving out one single hour for myself on Sunday – to focus my mind, strengthen my body and calm my soul.
Taking just an hour to center yourself on Sundays will set you up right for the entire week. This hour will allow you the chance to align your mind, body and soul in preparation for the challenges that will (and they always do!) arise throughout the next few days.
I find that my most productive weeks occur after I have carefully constructed my time on Sunday. I’ve created this 60 minute exercise that I now use each Sunday to align the mind, body and soul.
Mind: Before doing anything else, we need to ensure that our minds are in the right place. For the first 20 minutes, organize your thoughts. Make an old-fashioned “To-Do” list for the week ahead. Food shopping and meals seem to be my biggest challenge each week, so I now plan out my meals for the week each Sunday to make grocery shopping less stressful. I decide which stores or farmer’s markets I will go to on which day and what other things I need to pick up along the way to keep my house running smoothly. I know that I make 4 dinners and 5 lunches for my husband and I each week, so I use Sundays to make a big healthy veggie and legume sauté, quickly knocking three lunches out of the way. Planning ahead will ensure that your weekly errands occur seamlessly.
Body: Take this time to figure out what your body needs. If you want to do some light yoga, even 20 minutes of heat-building Sun Salutations will energize you and give you the focus you need for the coming week. If a home practice is not your thing, go for a 20 minute power walk, run with a friend, bike ride around town, or my personal favorite – turn on your favorite Pandora station and have an impromptu dance party. 20 minutes of booty shaking gets your heart rate pumping, while permitting you to play, be creative and most importantly, to laugh at yourself!
Soul: Spend the next 10 minutes reflecting your past few days and preparing for your future week ahead. My favorite way to reflect is through journaling, so if you’re like me, grab a pen and start drawing, sketching or writing whatever is coming to mind. Introspection is such an important quality to cultivate, yet in our fast-paced, technology-driven society, we rarely have the opportunity to put pen to paper and let the thoughts just flow. In these precious 10 minutes each week, you may find answers to questions about yourself that Google could never provide you.
Spend the final 10 minutes of this hour in a quiet meditation. Sit with yourself. This is way easier said than done, but I promise you, this quality time with yourself will allow lessons from the past week to seep in to your soul and allow any challenges you face in the coming week to start to seem surmountable.
I invite you to join me in this challenge: Try this exercise every Sunday for the next four weeks. Document any changes that you notice in your stress-level and ability to focus on Monday mornings. Report back and keep the conversation going about the importance of carving out one single, precious hour for yourself to rediscover the sweetness of Sundays.