Self-care Sunday ideas

A guide to help you practice self-care on Sunday.

Self-care Sunday is a special time because you're giving yourself permission to reflect, enjoy, indulge, relax, and spend some time doing things that you love, with people you love.

If you have a busy schedule - who doesn't right? - then self-care Sunday is vital to your well-being.  Even if you have a self-care routine already in place, this guide can be insightful.

You'll learn what self-care is, why self-care is important, what it feels like when you're not caring for yourself, how to establish your own self-care routine, and 35 self-care Sunday ideas you can try out.

Self-care Sunday ideas

What is self-care?

Self-care is about filling up your cup so you can be the best for yourself and others.  If you're constantly trying to run on empty, you'll only burnout very quickly.

You might think that caring for yourself is selfish or overindulgent.  And you might feel guilty for even thinking about self-care.

However, self-care is anything but selfish.  It is about recharging your mind, body, and spirit by doing things that make you feel happy, contented, and joyful.

This is why it's important to take good care of yourself.  Doing so allows you to continue to perform at your peak so you can live a life that is meaningful and full of energy and joy.

The importance of self-care.

I wasn't always the greatest at self-care.  Growing up, it wasn't something that was taught to me because I grew up in a household where both parents had to work full time.

Me and my siblings spent much of our free time doing chores and working part-time to help with household expenses.  Self-sacrifice was very much the unspoken ethos in our house.

Then I became a working mom of 3 and the cycle of self-sacrifice perpetuated itself.  This is partly the reason why I often felt guilty for wanting to care for myself.

I learned the hard way that if you run on an empty tank, you won't be of good use to others or yourself.

What it felt like when I wasn't taking care of myself:

Brain fog
Low energy
Placing blame

If you've ever felt any of the previous symptoms like I did, chances are, your body is telling you that you need some attention and self-care:

There might be underlying physiological causes to these types of feelings, emotions, and symptoms that are beyond your control.  You can try to figure out what they are on your own or get professional help so you can give your mind and body what it needs to heal.

Self-care is just as much about changing your mindset as it is about changing your behavior.

So if you have guilt when it comes to self-care, ask yourself the following:

  • What am I saying yes to when I really mean no?
  • What is stopping me from meeting my own needs?
  • What is subtracting from my energy level?
  • What raises my energy level?

You need to be aware of your thoughts and actions when it comes to your well-being because whether you realize it or not, you are connected to others and they are very much affected by how you treat yourself.

How to create a self-care routine.

A self-care routine is something you do for yourself to help you reset and rejuvenate.

In her book, "The Art of Extreme Self-Care", Cheryl Richardson discussed the power of repetition and rhythm.

"Finding a wavelike rhythm and routine reaps great rewards and can actually be a surprisingly powerful act of extreme self-care.  Routine adds stability to our lives and helps us feel more secure.  It also provides much-needed relief from mentally managing too many responsibilities."

Life is full of uncertainty.  With uncertainty comes fear.  If we feel like we have more control over our lives, we have a greater sense of security.  I feel this in my own life because even a basic self-care routine gives me a greater sense of control over my life.

Creating a self-care routine is simple.  You can start with just 1 thing you want to do and try it out for a little bit.  Then you can decide if you want to continue the activity or let go of it and try another one.

You build on this one until you finally have enough self-care activities on your list to help you feel support, ease, calm, peace, joy, happiness, and relaxation.

If you can't think of any, the following is a list of self-care Sunday ideas for you to try out.

"Self-care is giving the world what's best of you instead of what's left of you." - Katie Reed

35 self-care Sunday ideas to try out.

1. Just say no.

Saying no to things you don't really want to do or to others is a way to practice self-care.  I know it seems selfish, but if you're a people pleaser and have a hard time saying no, then this should be a helpful exercise.

It doesn't mean that you're being self-centered or dismissive.  It means you're saying yes to yourself.  Sometimes that means putting up boundaries and limits to give yourself time to rejuvenate fully so you can come back fresh and recharged.

2. Read.

I love to read during my downtime, especially on the weekends.  Many people find reading relaxing.  One way to make reading part of your self-care routine is to find something you love to read about.

There are so many things available in print, like comics, coloring books, magazines, fiction, home, garden, fantasy, and self-help that you might find entertaining and pleasurable.

3. Walk.

Not only is walking a great form of exercise, but it can also be meditative and rejuvenating.  While you're moving, blood flow increases and brings more oxygen to your brain, making you feel more alert.

Walking can give your mind a break because it takes you away from whatever it was you were working on and hits the reset button.

4. Try a hobby.

A hobby is something you carve out time for because it's something you enjoy or are passionate about.  Hobbies can be reading, gardening, knitting, playing a musical instrument, drawing, or cooking.

The point of a hobby is to take you away from your normal activities to devote your attention to something that you love.

5. Spend time in nature.

Spending time in nature feels grounding and helps to quiet & calm your mind, body, and spirit.  There is something about immersing yourself in nature that allows you to release negative energy and destress.

Studies have shown that spending time in forests has a positive effect on health and well-being.  If you can't be in a forest, then another type of natural environment, like the beach, can substitute.

You can also find some green space, like a local park or your garden, or even surround yourself with potted plants.

6. Exercise.

Exercise is great for your health in so many different ways and there are numerous types such as walking, hiking, yoga, swimming, cycling, aerobics, and weights.

Exercise can stimulate you but also place you in a meditative state when you get into the zone, which is a mental state of flow where you are fully engaged in something and getting energy and enjoyment out of the process.

7. Get your hair done.

Your hair is your crowning glory and getting those tresses done professionally feels like a treat.  You walk away with a fresh look, healthier hair, and a dose of confidence.

If you can't get your hair done by a stylist, then you can practice hair care at home simply by washing and conditioning your hair and allow it to air dry.  You can use serums or a leave-in conditioner for an extra boost.

8. Reflect.

Sunday can be a time for reflection because it's usually the day that people go to worship.  Reflection allows you to pause and look back at your week, month, or even year.

It is not a time to judge or be critical of yourself.  This is the time to become aware of your thoughts and mood, how your life is going so far, and where you want it to be.

9. Create a space for self-care.

Having a space where you can recharge can be luxurious, especially if you have to share your space with others.  Your self-care space can be anywhere in your house, depending on what makes you feel happy and taken care of.

This can be your kitchen, bedroom, living room, den, balcony, spare room, bathroom, patio, garage, or backyard.

10. Dry brush.

Dry brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that is meant to stimulate lymph flow and boost immunity.  Sahara Rose, the author of Ayurveda, wrote that dry brushing removes dead skin cells, which helps to detoxify the body, and should be done regularly.

It takes as little as 5 minutes and can be done with a special brush for dry brushing.  The best time do it is right before showering or bathing.

11. Make a face mask.

As a teenager, I was very much into face masks because of my breakouts and also because they were fun and made my skin feel soft and sometimes tingly.

You can make your own face mask just by Googling DIY face mask or purchase one pretty much anywhere these days.  You're likely to find them at the health food or beauty store.

12. Get a mani-pedi.

A mani-pedi is short for manicure and pedicure.  If you can get it professionally done, go ahead and splurge.  It can feel extravagant, like you're doing something extra special for yourself.

If it's not possible to get them done professionally, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.

13. Salt or bubble bath.

Showers are great, but they're not as fun as baths, in my humble opinion.  I like to indulge in a salt or bubble bath every now and then because not only are they enjoyable, they have a calming and relaxing effect.

14. Try aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy dates back thousands of years when people used aromatics as part of rituals, fragrances, and medicines.  Certain types of aromas are known to help people relax, like lavender, chamomile, and rose.

You can use the plant directly and place it in a jar of water in your room or home to perfume your space.  Or you can get essential oils that can be infused into candles, dropped directly into a diffuser, or placed directly on the skin if you're not allergic.

15. Write.

One of my favorite ways to care for myself is to write.  Writing can be a form of self-expression.  But it can also be a helpful tool by putting your thoughts on a page and freeing up your mental clutter.

Unstructured writing can help you gain clarity and awareness of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and emotions.  The intention is not to understand but just to write whatever is on your mind.

16. Watch your favorite show.

Sometimes you just need to veg out in front of the tv so you can disconnect for a while and allow your mind to escape.

If you don't watch television, you can go on a streaming service and pick something to watch, listen to your favorite podcast, or tune into your favorite radio station to help you unwind.

17. Do something creative.

Is there something you love to do but you never seem to have time for it?  Chances are there's something in your life you do already that's creative and it's also a passion of yours.

Doing something creative takes you to your happy place, gives you a chance to express your inner self, and can even give you purpose in life.

18. Sleep in.

We live in a time where we are connected to the world 24/7.  It's no wonder why many people stay up so late at night.

Getting adequate rest is restorative for the body and brain.  Sleep allows your brain to release any build-up from the previous day so you can function better.  So if your body is telling you to, sleep in on Sunday.

19. Do a digital detox.

A digital detox is a period of time when you refrain from using your digital devices like your phone, ipad, and computer.

This allows you to unplug and unwind so you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

20. Meditate.

Meditation is as simple as becoming still and noticing your breath going in and out of your lungs.  Although the concept is simple, the practice is not easy.  It takes time and patience to master it.

However, you can reap so many benefits from meditation, like reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.  You don't have to sit in a lotus position for hours.  You can practice mindful meditation by walking, driving, eating, and cleaning your space.

21. Watch a feel-good movie.

Movies provide a way for us to escape from the world for a couple of hours.  It is a form of entertainment but can also be educational and inspirational.

Feel-good movies can help lift you up and make you feel happier, even if it's for a short period of time.

22. Have a tea party for one.

"Drink your tea like it's the only thing in the world."

Some people elevate the experience of tea drinking, like the Wabi Sabi inspired tea rooms in Japan.  You don't have to create an elaborate tea ceremony to get the same benefits from one.

You can simply pour yourself a cup, drink your tea slowly, and notice yourself becoming aware of and appreciating the present moment.

23. Get a massage.

A massage by a professional is the ultimate in self-care indulgence, in my opinion.  I can get so relaxed that I fall asleep sometimes.

But massages can be expensive, so you can ask a partner if they're willing, or you can self-massage with natural oils.

24. Create a spa atmosphere.

A spa is a place that usually involves water where you become invigorated and relaxed.  Like massages though, they can get pricey.

You can create a spa atmosphere in your own private space, usually the bathroom, with some candles or an essential oil diffuser coupled with relaxing music & a hot bath.

25. Laugh.

A good belly laugh is good for your health.  You can create one simply by listening to someone funny on the radio, TV, internet, or live.  You can read something that will make you laugh out loud.  Or you can watch a movie that will make you laugh until it hurts.

26. Start a gratitude journal.

A gratitude journal is something that you write on to express what you're thankful for.  Gratitude helps you become aware of and appreciate what is around you.

It makes you feel like you have more because when you are more aware, you appreciate the little things in life that bring you joy and pleasure.

27. Catch up with someone whose company you enjoy.

Self-care Sunday is not only about spending time alone.  You might have people in your life whose company you enjoy and make you feel like you got a boost of energy when you have to part ways.

These are the people you can hang out with because they make you feel joyful and supported.

28. Treat yourself.

A little bit of Hedonic pleasure every once in a while is good for you.  You can give yourself a special treat such as your favorite food, place to eat, shopping, or activity.

29. Care for your skin.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  It protects you 24/7 from microscopic things that might otherwise harm you.  This is why it's important to take good care of it.

Ideally, you want to use ingredients that are natural as possible because your skin absorbs everything you put on it.  A couple of ways to practice good skincare on a Sunday are dry brushing and massaging natural body oils onto your skin.

30. Cook a nourishing or hearty meal.

Cooking a meal that will comfort your soul or nourish your body is a form of self-care.  Even the act of cooking itself can feel meditative and relaxing if you're doing it with joy.

31. Do deep breathing exercises.

Deep breathing involves slowly filling your lungs to the maximum with air and expelling it slowly.  This oxygenates your cells and can even help you focus and relax.

You want to make sure you're not breathing too quickly because it can cause light-headedness.  You can do this while sitting or lying down.

32. Buy yourself some flowers.

Flowers come in all sorts of colors and arrangements.  They're pretty to look at, brighten up any space that they're placed in, and they make you smile and feel good.

You can buy yourself a bouquet of flowers or a potted flowering plant so it can last a long time.

33. Hydrate.

Hydration is probably not the first thing you think about when it comes to self-care but it's so important to keep yourself well hydrated because you need it to stay healthy.

The best way to hydrate yourself is to drink water.  Water is in all types of drinks and foods, so it's hard to keep track of exactly how much you're ingesting.  Keep in mind that men need about 3.7 liters and women need about 2.7 liters each day.

34. Practice self-love.

Loving yourself unconditionally is an act of self-care.  It's easier said than done because many of us tend to listen to the negative self-talk inside our heads.

Self-love might not happen instantaneously either, especially if you've spent a lifetime judging and criticizing yourself.

Self-love may take some practice, but over time you'll accept & love yourself for who you are, flaws and all.

35. Do an act of kindness.

An act of kindness can be directed toward yourself or someone else.  It can be done at random or intentionally, like asking the clerk at the checkout line how she's doing, or patting yourself on the back at the end of a meeting.

Kindness, whether it's for yourself or someone else, is beneficial because it releases serotonin, which is the hormone that promotes happiness and peace.


"Self-care is not selfish but an act of self-love."

Final thoughts on self-care Sunday.

Self-care on Sunday is about taking the time to make yourself feel joyful, happy, rejuvenated, and fulfilled.  It's important to take care of yourself because you can't pour from an empty cup.

Some ways to care for yourself are giving yourself a mani-pedi, getting a massage, watching a feel-good movie, making a nourishing meal, taking a salt or bubble bath, taking good care of your skin, and practicing self-love.

I hope you found these self-care Sunday tips helpful.  Do you have any of your own that you'd like to share?  Please leave them in the comments below!

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