When was the last time that you enjoyed a whole day without any plans, commitments or social events? When you could simply be at home, in your space and do exactly what you wanted, when you wanted to? When you could sleep as long as you wanted to, take time for a little afternoon nap, potter, relax and simply be, alone or with your family?
Chances are that you cannot remember the last time that you had time to do this, especially on a weekend. The demands of modern life tending to see us schedule events, catch ups and errands every minute of every day, and come Sunday night we feel as if we have not had a weekend at all. The downside to this is that we exist is a state of constant frenzy, never completely relaxing and switching off and as a result, are more likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed and far from flourishing come Monday morning. After seeing clients experiencing these feelings of exhaustion for many years, I have often talked to them about the need for ‘Sacred Sunday’ – a Sunday, even just once a month in which you allocate to do absolutely nothing – a mini break to re-centre and find yourself again in this frantic world, to rest rather than do, to pan rather than plan, to just be.
Human beings need time out – prior to constant electronic stimulation from the internet, mobile phones, pay televisions and extra-long hours of work, families regularly had this down time whether it be in the hours after an evening meal time or on Saturday and Sunday, before kids sport and weekly errands became the focus of the weekend. Time to think, to dream, to talk to loved ones and pay attention to the small things in life that ultimately bring us the most pleasure whether it be the conversation over a family meal at the table, playing a game in the backyard or going for a walk around the neighborhood together.
For Type A-multitaskers, the thought of committing to regular weekend downtime without plans or commitments can seem extremely daunting but if you consider the intense demands we place on ourselves, our time and our relationships, it becomes easier to see that an annual holiday or occasional 3 day weekend does not allow adequate time throughout the year to achieve a good balance between work, play and unplanned rest. To regain control over our own lives and achieve this ever elusive balance, we have to actively schedule this time in, for the benefit of our health and our soul.
Perhaps most importantly, the introduction of ‘Sacred Sundays’ allows much needed time to nurture our relationships with ourselves and those closest to us. Sacred Sunday’s also present a perfect opportunity to foster some of your own family or friend based rituals –rituals such as Sunday lunch that start to become more of a focus in your life and which also help to bring much meaning to special times spent together which nurture the relationships which fight to survive in busy modern life.
Our grandmothers and great grandmothers spent all day Sunday preparing it and Sunday lunch as well as the nap that followed it was for many families the entire focus of the weekly day of rest. The concept of Sunday lunch serves many, many different purposes. It brings the family together as a rule and as such creates a certain level of respect and commitment for any family, it is the perfect opportunity to commit to some healthy food preparation for the week ahead (while also allowing for some leftovers for lunches) and creates an event in your week that ultimately brings people, family or not together in a relaxed, calm way. Even if you can commit to a Sunday lunch once a month, it is a great tradition to begin either with your friends or family.
Family based activity
It does not matter if it a walk, family cricket game, bushwalk or drive to the beach, Sundays are the perfect time for your to not only be active, but be active with those closest to you. For most of us it is challenging to get the amount of exercise we require on a daily basis and hence we have to use our time off wisely to move our bodies as much as we can. The benefit of linking it to family or friend based activities is that you get to spend quality time as well as burn serious calories.
No electronic equipment
It does not matter if it is the phone, the television, the internet or social media – all forms of electronic entertainment act to prevent communication between individuals. Even if you only switch off for a few hours each week, make this commitment to switch off a little on Sundays and notice how much better you feel when you actually do return to work on Monday – you will actually feel as if you have had a break.
If you are lucky enough to be able to get away, there is nothing more powerful than getting away from the city and into nature for a day or two to real relax and unwind. The change in pace, the fresh air, a calmer, more relaxed way of living is often all you need to really relax and unwind. Make the most of special weekend deals and schedule a few ‘real’ mini breaks throughout the year to remind yourself what it is really like to relax and unwind properly.
The best part of committing to regular Scared Sundays is that there are no rules by which you have to enjoy your Sunday. It is simply a blank space in your week to do whatever it is you feel like. How will you be spending yours?