Why Sunday Is the Most Important Day of the Week for Your Wellbeing
Hustle. Grind. Long hours. Go big or go home. Fake it ’til you make it.
Entrepreneurs hear these statements daily, often from the people who inspire them. Our culture believes we must forgo personal lives in pursuit of business success.
Of course, running a successful business is hard work. It’s stressful, it can feel chaotic, and the tasks sometimes seem downright impossible. But as an entrepreneur, you need to do more than simply push through. Research shows you must take a step back if you hope to achieve any measure of life-work balance and truly relish your accomplishments.
Former emergency-room physician and author Matthew Sleeth explained the importance of taking a day of rest in a recent interview with CNN. "For almost 2,000 years," Sleeth said, "Western culture stopped -- primarily on Sunday -- for about 24 hours."
Here are three specific ways the Sunday step-back benefits your business while it helps recharge your batteries, fend off depression and make you more personally productive.
1. Sunday is prime social time.
Humans are social creatures. Regardless of how busy you think you are, human nature will find ways to remind you that you need others in your life. Don't resist it. Giving in to this urge for socializing actually is better for your overall health.
Sunday is prime time to make new connections or caretake the ones you already have. You should be out of the office, doing something you enjoy. Debra Umberson, a sociologist and professor at the University of Texas, Austin, summarized why in an interview with Time magazine: "Strong social relationships support mental health, and that ties into better immune function, reduced stress and less cardiovascular activation."
You gain nothing by denying yourself time to de-stress. Research reveals you'll spend those hours either in enjoyment or in sickness. According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, up to 80 percent of visits to primary-care physicians may have a stress-related component.
In short, spending quality time with the people who mean the most to you can help improve your health and expel stress. Both are essential for a successful business.
2. Sunday is the perfect day for self care.
Taking care of your physical and mental self is essential to rejuvenation. (I'm a big believer in batching, which is why I like to do the bulk of my self care on Sundays.)
Adding a self-care aspect to your weekly routine can prevent overload, help refocus your goals and reduce stress.
As an added benefit, self care simply helps you feel good about yourself. You might make a trip to the salon, book a massage at your favorite spa or take a long bath at home with lavender or other relaxing essential oils. It's taking time for yourself and believing you look your best that help you feel great. Both show in your performance. When you like what you see in the mirror, you project confidence and your positive energy increases. (Take it from Jessica, who was 4 years old when her daily affirmation went viral on YouTube.)
Unfortunately, the inverse also is true: If you believe you look as ragged, worn-out, sleep-deprived and worried as you feel, your work will reflect that attitude and your business will suffer.
Here are a few self-care tips to help improve your overall wellbeing.
Schedule time for yourself. You are the embodiment of the business, and you should look and feel your best. Making a commitment to do something for yourself will give you a little reward to look forward to during your work week.
Meditate. Mediation helps clear your mind of negativity and stress. Practiced in earnest, it can give you a moment of peace to reconnect with your goals. Maintain focus on your priorities so you are constantly revitalized.
Get a good night's sleep, every night. This might seem like an impossible feat, but it should be a clear priority. Plan to go to sleep and wake up at a specific time. Consistency is key to establish this habit and translate it into a routine to keep you on track. Figure out how much sleep you need, and stick to that number.
Enjoy your life. For many people, the ability to enjoy life on one's own terms is the most attractive draw to an entrepreneurial path. There’s no boss telling you what to do. You make your own hours and you work to find success in a field you love. Take a step back to appreciate everything you've already accomplished. Use this time of reflection to do what you want to do, and you'll discover new signs of peace and prosperity in all aspects of your life.
3. Sunday gives you a jump on planning.
Entrepreneurs are expert innovators who thrive on often unconventional work tactics. However, you also must make time to plan the week ahead so you can use your time in the office wisely. It's true -- devoting an hour or two each Sunday to this task technically counts as working. But it’s productive and fun. It gives you an excuse to address all the things already on your mind and organize them on paper or in a digital format so you can enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Many entrepreneurs find that planning also contributes to their sense of balance. It offers time to reflect on the previous week and accordingly amend their actions for the week to come. Here are a few important features to include in your weekly plan.
Goals. Every entrepreneur should have weekly, monthly, yearly and overall goals. Even more important, business owners should keep track of whether they’re achieving their short-term goals while they work on their long-term goals. Little victories are still victories. Celebrating the wins along the way can encourage you to keep striving for more. On the other hand, if you discover you aren't reaching those midpoints, it's a good indication you need to make changes or risk stalling your progress.
Timetable. Time always moves forward, and we must work with what we have. After all, no amount of money can buy back wasted time. It's crucial to develop the skill of accurately assessing how much time you need for each task. Otherwise, you'll run out of hours before you run out of work week.
Scheduling. This is not a wish list of all the thing you'd like to complete. Scheduling is creating a plan and following it. Successful entrepreneurs know what deserves to be included in the plan. Remember: While it's necessary to schedule work time, meetings and deadlines, it's equally important to reserve hours in your schedule for family and friends. You can't do all your socializing on Sundays. You need a bit of a life all week long. Maybe that means jogging or indulging in a date night. Schedule these as priorities so you don't put your loved ones on hold or -- worse -- make the mistake of thinking you don't have time for them.
Reclaim Sunday as a day of rest in your 24/7 world. Take the time your body and mind need to step away, even for one day. You'll come back Monday feeling refreshed, renewed and highly supported by the life you’ve refused to leave behind.