I recently posted an article I wrote about the many changes we have made in our life since my husband came home with a concussion three and a half years ago (read it here). In it, I talk about one of the most pivotal things I have done while recovering from a significant burnout, and that is turning Sunday back into a day of rest for our family.
How do you make sunday a day of rest? Make it a priority, assess what you’re needs are, find things that bring you joy, keep the cooking simple, don’t over commit yourself and get back to the basics.
It seems really simple, but here is what I have learned about how to pull these things off practically.
1. Make it a priority
Before you can even begin to turn your Sunday into a giant siesta, you are going to need to make it a priority.
Its so easy as a parent (or any adult for that matter), to get pulled into a million different directions in life. We make Sunday just another day to get things done, and our rest on Sundays is on the bottom of a long list of things that need to be done.
For at least five years, our family used Sunday just like a bonus working day. My husband and I would work full time during the week, come home have dinner, and work on our house in the evenings and on the weekends. To us Sunday was just another day to get the house built.
When I went back to work after our second baby was born, Sunday was the day that I had to “hurry up and catch up,” because my husband was home and could keep the kids occupied while I worked. I used it as a day to do all of my prep for the week coming up, and it left me feeling like I never had a day off. Because I didn’t.
I would watch other people sit on the couch, or enjoy their Sunday off, and I felt envious of them because I was SO burned out, and dying for a day where I could do the same.
When we decided that I would come home with the kids last October, I made a promise to myself that one day a week, I would stop focusing on what everyone else needed, and start asking myself what it is that I needed.
Now obviously as mom’s you can’t completely check out, but I really drop every single ball I am juggling on Sundays, because it is MY day. I need a day where I don’t do anything that doesn’t fill me up – and yes, this can be done with little kids in your house!
I needed to give myself permission to let go of every other obligation come Sunday’s and embrace it as my day off. Yes, moms need a ‘day off’ too.
2. Meals are easy snacks and leftovers.
My kids are at an age where they are just old enough to climb into the fridge if they are hungry. On Sunday snack foods and left overs are abundant, because mom is NOT cooking unless the desire strikes.
If you really want to be freed up on Sunday, and cringe at the thought of the kids prepping food themselves (or if they are just to little), here are some simple food ideas, that will take minimal involvement from you:
- You could make a pot of soup on Saturday, for you to enjoy on Sunday, and all it will take is some reheating.
- peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
- Buns or toast
- Pre-make some egg salad or filling for easy sandwiches
- Cut up a tray of fruits or veggies on Saturday
- Good ‘ole Mac and Cheese
- Boil some hot dogs for the kids
- Make a meat and cheese tray the on Saturday, and buy a simple bag of buns or a box of crackers. Sure they might go a little overboard getting butter on their buns, but they can easily make themselves a bun if you set it out for them.
I really am over cooking come the weekend, and so I pretty much let everyone fend for themselves. My kids will happily fill themselves up on yogurt, cheese, and crackers – so I let it happen.
If you child is under the age of three, they might need a little more help than I am implying here, but I hope you are picking up what I am putting down.
3. What do you need to feel rested?
Really, what is it that you need?
Do you need some space from the kids for a little while to take a long hot bubble bath? Find a way to make it happen.
Do you need to enforce a Sunday afternoon quiet time (we actually do this)? Set a timer on the stove, and everyone in the house goes off into their own corner for some quiet time for an hour. Sometimes the kids choose to play together, sometimes they read books, sometimes they fall asleep. They need down time too.
Do you need some social time to catch up with friends, have a cup of coffee, play some games, or just visit?
4. What fills your bucket?
“You know the saying, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup?’ It’s true.”
For a time there, I was so concerned about what my family’s needs were, that I didn’t take the time to do the things that brought me joy and rejuvenated me deep to my core.
You know the saying, ” you can’t pour from an empty cup?” It’s true. I had to learn that doing things that filled up my love tank, only made our home better. I’m not priority number one for a good portion of our life, but on Sundays I try to take the time to remember to top up my love tank, so I can pour it out over everyone else all week long.
5. Turn off your phone
Ugh, I really can’t believe I added this in there, but yes I did. I am really trying to work on this, because now that I am writing I am more glued to my phone than ever before. I need a break from social media and my phone just as much as the next person.
I am taking a note from my own advice this time, and making a conscious effort to turn off my phone on Sunday’s and give my family the undivided attention that they deserve. You can set limits for your social media, and they are a good reminder when they pop up that your time is up.
6. Get back to the basics
Take the time to get to your roots, un-plug for a little while. Do some crafting, bake with your kids, play games, read a book. Ask yourself what you would do to stay entertained if the power went out for a whole day – and do those things.
7. Lower your expectations
Mess is going to happen, and you will have to decide how you will manage it come Sunday. Will you do a ten minute power clean with the whole family, will you ignore it completely and deal with it Monday? Will you try to stay on top of the kids and their messes (not relaxing at all for me).
In our house, I typically let it all go on Sunday’s and just block out the mess completely. I will try to load the dishwasher at night so I can unload it in the morning on Monday, and then on Monday morning I will spend a bit more time getting things back in order.
If I have been able to stay on top of things throughout the week, its usually not too bad.
If things are absolutely chaotic to the point where I can’t relax at all, then I will clean things up to the point of tolerable, and then let the rest go.
Sometimes I have to choose my day of rest, and from time to time that will be a Saturday instead of Sunday just because of what is happening that week. Because we are Christian, it seems that Sunday is our go-to rest day because of the flow with church – but it doesn’t have to be Sunday.
This is what our typical Sunday looks like:
We go to church around 9 and get home at 11. My husband makes some form of eggs for me and the kids, and we sip on coffee and eat some lunch. Sometimes this is just snacks, and that’s cool too.
Around noon or one we all slip off into quiet time until around three, sometimes we sleep, sometimes we read, sometimes we just veg out for awhile.
Between three and four the kids start getting antsy to do “something fun” so we will put on their snow gear and let them toboggan outside for awhile, or take them for a walk in the summer.
Come supper time, we are usually turning on a show with the kids and get all cuddled up on the couch and we stay that way until its time for the kids to go to bed.
In the summer its nice to have a fire in a friend’s back yard, especially since our winter is so long here.
Then Matt and I turn on a movie together, or sometimes pull out a game for a bit.
Everything about Sunday’s here is mellow, and once you find your groove, you will wonder how you didn’t make this a priority earlier.
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How does your family do Sunday? Have you worked a day of true rest into your weekly life? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this article please feel free to share 🙂