It’s up for debate if the week starts or ends on Sunday. But it’s not exactly controversial to say that, for many, Sunday stands on its own—an island that separates the inherently good vibes of Friday and Saturday from the drudgery of the rest of the week. Having the day off, while still knowing you have to catch up on all the stuff left over from last week, is an ideal recipe for the Sunday Scaries. But you can also reframe the day, using it to reset and set yourself up for success.
This is the reasoning, anyway, behind the “Sunday reset” trend that’s all over TikTok and Instagram. Luckily, it’s more than an opportunity to rack up some likes. It’s also an expert-approved way to get your mind in a good spot and give yourself the break you deserve.
Not sure how to get started? We put together a guide on what mental health and wellness professionals recommend and how you can figure out a Sunday reset routine that works for you. Plus, we’ll feature some of our favorite Sunday reset playlists and a checklist to set your week up for success.
What’s A Sunday Reset, Anyway?
Sunday reset is a popular social media trend, with about 223 million TikTok views in early 2022. The most popular takes on the trend are a romanticized view of someone having a low-key but very productive day: Stirring their matcha, vacuuming their apartment, doing a hair mask, hanging eucalyptus in their shower, and grocery shopping for the week as Etta James’ “Sunday Kind of Love” plays in the background. The most successful ones will make you, too, feel inspired to get your life together (or at least throw your sheets in the wash).
There’s no specific routine that everyone needs to follow to reset on a Sunday, but the ones you can find on social media typically share a healthy mix of productivity and rest. Consider integrating four things into your day for the idea Sunday reset: “Something purging for the mind and body (journaling, goal setting for the week and a morning walk), something clearing for your environment (declutter one area), something indulgent for your body (foot soak, snuggling with a comfy blanket), and something relaxing for your mind (reading a book, listening to music),” says Dr. Zoe Shaw, a licensed psychotherapist & relationship coach.
Going by the “Sunday is its own island” logic, keep in mind that you don’t have to do this on Sunday. If you don’t work a typical Monday–Friday job, you can do your reset on any day that fits in your schedule. If you have kids, and need to get a babysitter or ask your partner to take over childcare duties in order to devote some time to yourself, schedule your reset when that’s possible. It’s your day—do what you need to make it work for you.
How To Design Your Sunday Reset Routine
You can do a Sunday reset without avocado toast and restocking your pantry with oat milk and chia seeds. This day should be all about tuning in to what you need, not just what looks cool on social media. In other words: If you could design your own perfect day (within reason), what would it look like? Whatever your vision is, our go-to formula for a replenishing Sunday reset may help you get there.
Take a moment and look around. Today is the perfect opportunity to reflect on your past week and figure out what you’d like to prioritize for the next one. Is your home a mess? Make it a priority to do a big clean today and tidy up for 10 minutes every day next week to maintain a general sense of order. Did you eat out a lot? Research some recipes and go grocery shopping today so you can cook at home over the next few days. Didn’t have a chance to move your body all week? Sign up for a workout class or make plans with a friend to go for a walk or run (psst—we recently reviewed the best running apps if that’s part of your ideal Sunday).
Write a to-do list, journal, or plan out what you want to accomplish today and in the upcoming week. Don’t overwhelm yourself! The last thing you want is to go into the new week feeling exhausted or stressed by the tasks you’ve set for yourself that you don’t end up doing any of them.
We’re big fans of the 1-3-5 rule: Pick one major task (like laundry or grocery shopping), three medium tasks (like walking your dog or working out), and five smaller tasks (like writing a to-do list or calling your mom) to plan your day. (If this speaks to you, the printable at the end of the article goes more in-depth on the topic.)
“Sunday reset is super common in the planner community, where people decorate their weekly planner spreads, which is a nice visual way to prepare for the week,” says Lena Suarez-Angelino, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and empowerment coach. “Knowing what’s ‘on the horizon’ will help you manage stress and feel empowered to conquer the week.”
Approach your Sunday reset with intentionality. Whatever you plan to do today, get it done. Whether you’re working through chores or giving your body time to rest and heal, be present. If you have trouble being present, a short guided meditation or mindfulness exercise may help you feel more grounded. You can download a meditation app like Headspace or Calm, or simply check out some free offerings on YouTube.
Speaking of being present, end your Sunday on a relaxing note. Have a cozy movie night with your partner, read a book in bed snuggled up next to your pet, or take a bubble bath. If you have natural hair, it’s a great time to have your wash day and spend a few hours giving your locks some TLC. whatever it is, it should be something that makes you feel truly rested before Monday rolls around.
3 Frameworks To Inspire Your Sunday Reset
What filled your cup last week may not replenish your energy this Sunday. Keeping your Sunday open for a reset is great, but don’t let a fixed routine get you in a rut. Mix things up, listen to your mind and body, and treat yourself to the vibe you need that day. Your needs are dynamic, so taking a few moments to check in with yourself is vital.
Here are a few examples inspired by expert tips and some of our favorite TikToks that show how you can spend your Sunday reset.
The “Feminine Urge To Just Not”
Had a hard week that makes the thought of anything but lounging on the couch all day unbearable? That’s okay. Fully lean into “the feminine urge” (or masculine or non-binary urge) to do whatever you have to do to feel better! Even (or especially) if it isn’t particularly glamorous.
“Rest is often thought to mean doing nothing but resting doesn’t necessarily mean inactivity. For instance, if you are depleted emotionally, then a mindful activity or some sort of exercise may be the most restful thing you can do to restore your energy and reset.”Kerry McLeish, Rest for Life Coach
If you feel like you don’t even want to get out of bed today, here’s how you could approach a very low-key Sunday reset:
- Sleep in. Have a slow morning that doesn’t start with an alarm. Allow your body to rest as long as it needs before you get out of bed.
- Move mindfully. Even if you don’t feel like moving your body at all, you’ll feel better if you just do it a little bit—trust us. Try a 5-minute yoga session, go for a walk around the block, or dance to your favorite song.
- Tidy up: Don’t have the mental (or physical) energy for a deep clean today, but know it needs to get done? Assess your mess and then set a timer to pick some things up. It doesn’t have to be a full deep clean—even 10 or 15 minutes can do wonders for the basics. It may be helpful to pick two or three of your favorite songs, and set a goal to clean until they’re over. Even if you don’t get everything, that’s OK—the space will still be cleaner than it was before.
- Nourish your body: If you like to cook, make yourself a low-effort breakfast (that is, something that won’t create a ton of dirty dishes). You could also take the simplest route and order a breakfast burrito and your favorite coffee right to your door. Do whatever you need to do so your body receives the energy it needs.
- Keep a low profile: A social media detox may be just what you need: “Energetic depletion becomes an open invitation for your inner critic to turn up the volume on the negative stories it tells,” says Pam Aks, M.S., PCC, RMT, and Mindset Coach at What’s Within U. Scrolling through social media on an endless loop can throw you into comparison mode—something you’ll want to avoid for a successful reset. “Like low energy, comparison mode gives your inner critic the green light to tell stories of ‘not good enough,’ ‘less than,’ and ‘lack,’” says Aks.
If you’re in need of inspiration to get through the day and feel more like yourself by the end of it, here are our favorite playlists for whenever you experience the feminine, masculine, or any gendered or non-gendered urge to ✨just not✨:
The “That Person” Sunday Routine
You feel like today is your day to take your life back, be “that person.” The one that wakes up early, does all the things, but also remembers to rest. Balance is your friend!
Here’s our approach to a super productive, energy-driven Sunday that ends in a meaningful and grounding evening:
- Get up early. This part starts on Saturday night. Go to sleep at a reasonable time so you feel rested and alert the next day. When you set your alarm, place a glass or bottle of water on your bedside table. Hydrating early in the morning will make it easier for you to get up and tackle the day.
- Work out. If you have time, pick some form of exercise on Saturday so you’re prepared to do it on Sunday. Take a moment to ask yourself what your body needs—a run, a spin class, an at-home yoga sesh, or a long walk—and get it done. Not only will this provide an Mayo Clinic “Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress” View Source that may reduce any stressful feelings you have about the week ahead, getting your blood pumping on a Sunday could also Johns Hopkins Health “Exercising for Better Health” View Source that night. And a restful night of sleep before the work week starts may be the best form of self-care of all.
- Clean your home: Sundays are the perfect time to clean and tidy your living space, according to life coach Julie Leonard—think tasks like organizing your workspace and sorting clothes for the week. Make a list of things to clean that will impact how you feel in your home. “Changing your bed and doing laundry will save you time and increase your productivity, creativity, and mood” on Sunday and the week ahead, she says.
- Fill your fridge with groceries: Make a rough plan of the meals you want to prepare next week and write a grocery list before you head out. That way, you won’t forget anything and can work your way through the store quickly. Don’t forget to plan for your Sunday meals so you can have a delicious dinner at the end of the day.
- Regulate your nervous system: Keep nighttime in mind when you’re planning your day. “Create a meaningful evening routine, specifically one that focuses on regulating the nervous system,” says Heather Yassick, MS, LMHC, and Grouport therapist. “Be it meditation, gentle yoga, journaling by candlelight, or reading a book in a cozy blanket—anchor your Sunday evenings around an activity that will ground and focus you.”
It’s a lot easier to be “that person” if you focus on making all of your tasks fun and rewarding. Pick a workout that’s fun for you, like a Zumba class or run with a friend. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers when you go grocery shopping as a gift to yourself. Take a bubble bath with a smut novel and a glass of wine after scrubbing your bathtub. And remember, it’s OK if you aren’t fully “that person” all the time—no one is. If you do a little bit, that’s enough.
Whatever you do, add a fun twist to the chore—and don’t forget to play the right music on full volume while you grab life by the horns:
The Adult Sunday Reset
One thing most of us can agree on is that life as an adult is a lot more exhausting than life as a kid. Who knew that keeping your home presentable, having three meals a day, and staying on top of your finances could be such a hassle? A Sunday reset can help you feel more together.
“The benefits of having a Sunday reset are that it helps you feel more prepared and confident as you enter a new week, gets your mind focused on your most important priorities, and helps reduce stress and overwhelm as you deal with your to-do list.”Davina Tiwari, MSW, RSW, CSFT & Registered Social Worker
If your life is in need of some grown-up activities this Sunday, try this routine:
- Drink your coffee and write your to-do list: Whether your go-to drink is matcha, mushroom coffee, or iced tea, use your morning ritual time to write down all the tasks you want to accomplish this day and in the coming week. This kind of reset routine is an excellent opportunity to implement the 1-3-5 rule so you don’t end up sitting in front of stacks of half-finished paperwork when the clock strikes midnight.
- Pay your bills: What’s more mature than paying your bills, checking your budget, or looking over your credit card rewards? Straighten up your finances so you feel prepared for the expenses of the upcoming week.
- Plan or prep your meals: Creating some kind of meal plan on Sunday will take the pressure of having to decide what to eat every day off your (metaphorical) plate. If prepping recipes and grocery shopping isn’t your thing, consider a meal kit to make a healthy week of eating easier to achieve.
- Tidy up: Strip your bed, do your laundry, wash those dishes, vacuum your floors—whatever cleaning or tidying chores you don’t have the time for during the week, do it during a Sunday reset. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Wind down: Have an adult beverage or treat yourself to your favorite snack to celebrate how grown-up you’ve acted today. You deserve it.
Don’t completely fill your Sunday reset with chores that fail to spark joy—remember to keep a healthy mix of relaxing, fun tasks to balance them out.
Also, even the adultiest adult needs a good soundtrack to get stuff done. Grab your fully charged airpods (because you’re that adult) and show this Sunday what you’re made of:
Your Sunday Reset Checklist
Before you get started, here’s a friendly reminder that what looks great on Instagram or TikTok may not always feel good for you.
Be honest with yourself: Do you really need that loaded avocado toast or will a simple bowl of oatmeal do? Do you really want to hang eucalyptus in your shower or is it just going to annoy you when your hair gets tangled in it?
Draw inspiration from your favorite videos and influencers but don’t let what you see goad you into doing things that don’t actually help you reset. If you’re not sure what will help you be the best version of yourself, perhaps our printable checklist can help. You can print it out as is or edit the to-dos to match your lifestyle. Then use the 1-3-5 rule to plan out your Sunday reset. This will help you prioritize and scale your tasks for the day.
You’re in charge of how you spend your Sunday. Whatever you need to make the most out of it—a delicious green drink, a relaxing massage, or new equipment for your home gym—Ness has you covered.
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- Sunday Scaries: What Are The Sunday Scaries? (Cleveland Clinic, December 2021)
- Following the 1-3-5 rule: How To Plan Your Life With the 1-3-5 Rule (Lifehack, December 2021)
- Effect of endorphins: Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress (Mayo Clinic)
- Research on how exercise can impact sleep: Exercising for Better Sleep (Johns Hopkins)
- Explanation of the phrase “the feminine urge to:” The Timesian Urge to Explain a Meme (The New York Times, December 2021)