Life gets busy, especially in the fall when schedules ramp up and commitments need to be met. Sometimes it can feel like we’re stretched in a thousand different ways while meeting expectations, getting things done, and finding a little time for ourselves.
Enter self-care, the term we all hear about, but seldom practice. We should though, for many reasons. Studies have shown that caring for yourself can help to manage overall life stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. In that way, self-care starts from the inside out. We should focus on activities that improve our mental health, take care of our gut so it can help rid the body of waste and toxins, and lead an active lifestyle.
A self-care day is a great idea any day of the week, but there’s just something about taking a slow Sunday to ourselves. (Even celebrities take them!) Self-care Sundays can be the perfect way to recharge and set ourselves up for the week ahead. That’s why we’ve partnered with Activia to put together the ultimate guide to hosting a self-care Sunday.
Read on for some of our favourite self-care ideas and suggestions.
Read a book
There’s nothing like a good book to help us escape from the busy world and put our cares aside — at least temporarily. No matter what kind of literature you’re into, taking a few hours to sit down and unwind with a book is a great way to still the body while focusing the mind. Books can make us think, ignite our creativity, or just allow us to immerse ourselves in someone else’s life for a bit.
Plan a Sunday brunch
A leisurely brunch at a restaurant is a great way to unwind and catch up with friends. But it’s also something you can do solo at home if the mood strikes. Sunday brunch is an amazing excuse to focus on your gut health, too. There are many recipes out there full of gut-happy ingredients, including this Blueberry Pie Chia Pudding made with Activia plain yogurt. Activia yogurt is made with 100 per cent natural source ingredients and contains no gelatin or added sugar, so it’s equal parts delicious and good for you.
Not the brunching type? It’s also easy to grab a serving of Activia yogurt from the tub any time of the week for a quick boost of a billion active probiotics*. Whether you’re taking time for a self-care moment during a busy weekday or indulging in some of the creamy yogurt for dessert, nourishing your body is always a good idea.
* With more than 109 CFU Bifidobacterium lactis per serving, a probiotic that contributes to healthy gut flora.
Implement a fresh skincare routine
Why not pamper yourself with a new skincare routine during your self-care day? It always makes us feel slightly more put together, plus it just feels nice. Taking the time to do a face or eye mask, a scrub, or even smoothing some moisturizer over those pores can recharge you while giving you that glowing, refreshed look you probably didn’t have on Friday afternoon. It doesn’t matter if you invest in a new line of skincare products or make your own from the ingredients in your fridge: just the act of indulging in yourself can go a long way for your mental health. Besides, inexpensive self-care is always a win in our books.
You might also like: 21 celebrities share their self-care and mental wellness tips.
Take a class
Part of taking care of your mental health can mean shutting off your brain (so long as you’re doing so with a little self-care versus self-soothing). However, learning new hobbies or skills can also do wonders for you. Some research suggests that education improves mental health, happiness and self-esteem, which is all the more reason to take a class on your self-care Sunday. Learn a hobby, sign up for a workshop, or register for an online or in-person class.
Go for a nature walk
If you’re lucky enough to be able to get out and walk around in nature, this too can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Being active is always good for the body, but a walk is a low-impact and low-stress way to go about it. Plus, research suggests that exposure to natural environments is linked to decreased anxiety.
Grab some binoculars and go for a solo walk, or get a group of friends together if you prefer some company. Either way, the fresh air, movement and beautiful surroundings make for a memorable and reflective way to end the weekend.
Treat yourself with retail therapy
We may joke about shopping or retail therapy, but it’s a real thing. Research suggests have shown that shopping for yourself — in person or online — can help boost your mood (unless you overspend, that is). So, plan that shopping trip with friends, venture out there solo, or hop online to check out some good deals. It’s definitely a form of self-care.
Yoga, whether practiced solo or with a group, is a powerful healing practice because it’s all about moving with the breath and focusing on your internal self. Science shows that practicing yoga can strengthen your muscles and promote flexibility, improve your heart and lungs, reduce stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain, and help you to sleep better.
These days there are tons of hot and regular temperature yoga classes available to take in the community, or there are also many YouTube channels and TikToks dedicated to the art that you can check out for free.
Catch some z’s
Statistics show that one in four adults aged 18-34, and one in three adults aged 35-64 are just not getting enough sleep. If you’re one of them, you might want to use your self-care Sunday to sleep in a bit later than usual. Getting enough sleep has endless benefits, from reducing stress to improving your mood. So before you go to bed on Saturday night, be sure to turn off your alarm and cellphone ringer, close your blinds to to block out that early morning light, and let your body drift off to dreamland.
Watch a movie that brings you joy
Like a good book, a good movie can also help us to escape daily life, still the body and calm the mind. Research indicates that watching a movie can also help us to deal with anxiety and depression, it can promote relaxation, and it can even ward off feelings of burnout. And, if you watch a movie with someone, it could also potentially improve your relationship with that person.
Some psychologists even say that watching movies can help us to become better people, because seeing positive traits onscreen will lead us on our own paths of self-improvement.
Clean out one cupboard
There are many reasons to declutter our spaces, including the links to improved mental health and boosted productivity. But it can also be overwhelming to think about doing a deep clean or tackling a huge room on a day that’s reserved for self-care. So, start small and pick a drawer, cupboard or closet to declutter instead. You’ll feel accomplished and at peace with having done that one good thing for yourself without having dedicated hours to it. Plus, who knows — you may be motivated to continue or tackle a different drawer next weekend!