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Sunday Reset as a Key Strategy for Improving Women's Mental Health

Updated: May 14

I cannot stress just how important my Sundays are to me. It takes A LOT for me to give them for any type of activity. Why? Because I KNOW the power of a Sunday reset. In the whirlwind of modern life, where stress seems like a constant monkey on everyone's back and anxiety seems to be waiting around every corner, taking care of our mental health has never been more critical. As Millennial and Gen Z women, we often find ourselves juggling multiple responsibilities, calendars, navigating career aspirations, social pressures, and relationships—all while trying to maintain some semblance of balance and sanity... as if that is easily attainable with just the right calculations for our time and energy allocations. Amidst this chaos, controlling what we can control and giving ourselves the best chance of success is vital. That's where the concept of a Sunday reset comes in—a simple yet powerful practice that can significantly impact our day-to-day life.

White background with glasses half way out of the photo. Glasses are circular. There is a pink calendar with only Sunday showing and a pink striped pen on top.

Let's Set the Mental Health Stage...

Before delving into the significance of the Sunday reset, let's take a moment to acknowledge the challenges we face. According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a [diagnosable] mental illness every year. Explaining further that 50% of all [diagnosable] mental illness is present by age 14, 75% by age 24. I added the word "diagnosable" to the statistics that NAMI shared because I wanted to specifically note that they are only giving numbers based on the individuals who meet criteria for a mental illness as the DSM-V-TR describes them and I believe that 1. a lot more people are impacted by symptoms that might not meet criteria and 2. that not all people who do meet criteria for a diagnosis work with a profession to obtain a diagnosis.

We know that anxiety, stress, burn out, and depression symptoms are prevalent among millennial and Gen Z women, often exacerbated by societal expectations, career demands, and the relentless comparison fostered by social media. It's easy to neglect our mental health when trying to stay on top of all of our responsibilities, prioritizing productivity over self-care. After all, productivity is measurable and other people can see a tangible result to how we spent our time. However, as research and personal experience consistently show, neglecting our mental well-being only leads to resentment and diminished quality of life.

Brunette with long hair, sitting at a table writing on a digital tablet while looking at a computer

Self-Care Needs a New Name

Self-care often gets labeled as selfish or a luxury when it fact, self-care is really meant to be caring for the needs of one's self. Self-care is not all bubble baths, shopping trips and vacations (although those are nice sometimes). Self-care is crucial for everyone, especially for those of us navigating the complexities of anxiety, stress, and depression. Engaging in activities that nourish our minds, bodies, and souls is essential for maintaining resilience and emotional equilibrium. Amidst our hectic schedules, finding time for self-care can feel like a daunting task. That's where the Sunday reset comes in—a dedicated period of time to prioritize our well-being and set the tone for the days ahead.

How do Sunday resets give you the most bang for your buck?

Thanks for asking. I would love to tell you.

In my mind, Sunday is the day I take to get my life straightened up and the necessary tasks of life taken care of. By putting all of the necessary (and typically not desirable) tasks on one day, I use the momentum from completing one task to propel myself forward to complete another, and so on and so forth. I would much rather take one day out of my week to do the things I don't particularly enjoy to make the other six go more smoothly and enjoyable. I know I know, Sunday is a part of the weekend and weekends are meant for relaxing. In all the different ways I have tried to manage all of my adult-living related tasks, I've found that sacrificing one day (and honestly, it's usually not even a whole day) is worth it for the peace of mind and smooth sailing I have the rest of my week.

Wooden table with a white piece of paper with "to do" written on the top. There is a pen with a white gripe on it sitting next to the list. There is a pair of caucasian hands holding a black pen and cup of tea.

What Goes Into a Reset?

Now I don't claim that my Sunday Resets are anything special compared to any other reset guide you might find out there. I've simply found what works for me and my life. I'm all about sharing what I've learned in the hopes that it might be the start of the answer someone else might have been looking for. Here's what I include in my resets;

  1. ALL Laundry (washed, dried, folded, put away) - No midweek scramble to try to complete a load of laundry for that shirt that I need because I'm not trying to stay up late for laundry. I wash sheets and clothes weekly, delicates and towels biweekly due to having spares, and then less frequently, blankets, rugs, etc.

  2. Meal prep (snacks & meals) - reduce decision fatigue during the week. Having things ready to go and prepared will help you to fuel your body rather than skipping meals or grabbing something easy that might not make your body feel great.

  3. Medication refills - You know those weekly medication pill cases? Yeah, I have one of those and couldn't live without it. It keeps me on top of all of my medications and supplements so I stay feeling my best.

  4. Schedule planning/review - Look to the week ahead and familiarize yourself with what's to come. Know what needs preparation, what's outside your normal schedule and if there are any special arrangements that need to be made.

  5. To do list creation - While you're looking at schedules, start jotting down extra things that need to be done. See if there are breaks in the week where you can schedule time to cross things off the to do list.

  6. Random tasks (moving things to storage, restocking, extra cleaning, etc) - Fill the fridge up, take out the trash, do whatever you need to feel like your house is back to function at it's full capacity. Adding anything you are running low on to your shopping lists.

  7. Face mask/Extra personal hygiene tasks - Whether you do an everything shower while you clean your shower itself or you put a face mask on while you vacuum your house, make sure you are taking care of your personal hygiene as well as the tangible things in your life.

  8. Gather anything you need to bring with you to work that week - Pack up all the items you need to bring with you to work the following day so your morning isn't as rushed.

  9. Declutter/return physical items to their homes - helping to declutter the mind, knowing exactly where to find things quickly that you might need during the week, in addition to helping to create a calming environment

  10. Mindfulness or Reflection - this can be setting intentions for the week, reflecting on the past week, or whatever makes you feeling grounded and confident going into a new week.

A list of ten things to do on one day can be daunting to anyone. If ten feels like too many for you, don't do ten. Pick one or two until those become easy habits that you don't think twice about doing then add in another. We want you to get to the point where you don't even think about doing these things on Sundays, they are just a part of your routine that you do them without thinking. I hear SO OFTEN from clients that they struggle to get started with tasks or they don't know where to start. So why fight that battle more than once during the week? I say don't. Here's my advice on how to structure your reset...

  1. Have the same list of things to do each week (created prior to your reset day)

  2. Start IMMEDIATELY upon waking up (don't check your phone or even go to the bathroom until you start something on your list like taking the sheets off your bed)

  3. Figure out the order (and potentially a timeline) that makes the most sense for you with the things you want to complete/achieve

  4. Save your rest time as motivation for when you complete your list (think of how great it will feel to scroll social media knowing you have NOTHING left to complete)

  5. MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE. You have to be able to replicate this routine week after week so if you aren't going to scrub your baseboards or clean out your car every single week, don't include it.

Silhouette of a human with a pony tail sitting on a bench overlooking mountains/valleys

The Start of Something More

I don't necessarily believe that a reset day will change your entire life, but I do think it's an excellent place to start with making major changes. By having a day dedicated entirely to taking care of us and our life we are actively communicating a message of love and care towards ourselves. In addition to that, we are also able to practice setting and maintaining boundaries (which can be flexible) with ourselves and others. It's inevitable that no matter what day you choice to have your reset, that at some point in time there will be plans that conflict. In those instances it will be an opportunity for you to determine what is truly important to you; the plans presented to you or your reset. I can't count the number of times that I have had to turn down plans to be able to keep to my reset schedule. I did so because I know just how important my resets are for my mental and physical well being. It wasn't that I wouldn't have enjoyed the plans, it's just that I was playing the long game rather than just focusing on what might have felt good in the moment.

Being intentional about one day starts a bigger chain reaction in my opinion. It then ripples into the other six days of the week; being intentional about how we spend the hours of those days knowing that we have "one less day than the average person." Not everything will fit so we are forced to make choices about what to keep and what to pass on, continuing to further the overall goal of living an intentional life that is made with our own goals and values in mind.

Remember, self-care is not selfish—it's a prerequisite for being able to show up fully in every aspect of your life. By prioritizing your mental health with a Sunday reset, you're not only investing in yourself but also laying the foundation for a happier, healthier future.

So embrace the Sunday reset! In the midst of life's chaos, let's carve out moments of peace and restoration, knowing that by taking care of ourselves, we're better equipped to navigate the challenges that lie ahead. Here's to a week filled with self-love, mindfulness, and resilience. You got this!

I want to know what you would include in your Sunday reset that I've left out of mine, or even what your #1 non-negotiable is! Let me know in the comments.

Caucasian, female with brown hair, Brooke Halliday

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