A Guide to a Perfect Self-Care Sunday
for a relaxed, calm, and prepared start to a new week
I truly believe that self-care is becoming less of an activity and more of a mantra—a sort of lifestyle, even. It is less what you do on one day and more of the small changes and things here and there on any given day, for the rest of your life. Self-care can be anything from learning to say “no” more to wearing your favorite lip shade every day to splurging on that vanilla latte because why not? All of these examples, among many others, are all very important. The most important aspect of it is, in fact, what these actions do for you.
For me, self-care Sunday is a period of a few hours every Sunday evening that I spend on reflection, meditation, and deep grooming that I may not always have time for during the week.
Self-care is a popular, trendy concept. Across social media (especially Instagram, I’ve found), you’ll see it talked about often. The tag “#selfcare” has almost 2 million posts on Insta, while “#selfcaresunday” has over 50k. So what exactly is self-care, and what does it have to do with Sunday? I asked myself this same question a few months ago, when I first noticed the phrases popping up. Using context clues and the ever-helpful presence of pictures, I was mostly able to figure it out. I did some digging into it, and eventually I was able to come away with the knowledge and practices to make self-care my reality, at least once a week. (But you can do it as often as you’d like!)
Mani-pedis make Mondays that much better
In this day and age, it’s quite easy to forget to take time for yourself. Deep breathing, meditation, relaxation, and simple quiet time all seem to fall to the wayside when it comes to all the things we have to worry about on a daily basis. At multiple points in my life, I found that I hadn’t done anything to care for myself in—well, longer than I could remember.
If you can’t remember the last time you did something to care for yourself, fear not! I’ve found that by starting off small and setting aside a specific time slot to adhere to for your own routine, you can ease into the marvelous world of self-care as well as anyone. Here are the 5 steps I take every Sunday evening to make sure I’m fitting in some nice, relaxing, much needed self-care.
Self-care has a different meaning for every individual. Hence, “SELF” care. Do whatever makes you feel good, you need and deserve it.
Step One: Skin Care
I am absolutely obsessed with skin care. (You can read about my 18-step skin care routine here). But during the week, I don’t always have time to do the scrubbing, masks, and treatments that I should be doing to ensure I have healthy, glowing skin. I love concentrating a lot of energy on skin care during my self-care Sundays, because I feel like it preps my skin to be beautiful first thing at the start of a new week; and I don’t have to worry about dryness, dullness, or breakouts distracting me from the slew of fresh tasks a new week brings. Who would want that?
Sometimes I’ll take a shower and do a nice body scrub, to get rid of dull, dead flakes and reveal soft, smooth skin underneath. Even being a work-from-home writer, I, like a lot of other people, take hurried showers and don’t always focus on the things that take more time (like exfoliation or deep conditioners). Sunday is my time to rectify that.
This mask is a cult fave…and for good reason, too!
Mostly, though, I’ll just focus on my face. Self-care Sunday is the day I do about 5-6 masks. It’s actually quite pampering and fun, too! That may sound like a lot to some people, and it may be too much for those with sensitive skin, but I personally love it. I’ll usually do:
- Exfoliating mask (or microdermabrasion)
- Clay or mud mask
- Sheet mask
- Eye mask
- Light mask
- Overnight mask
I’ll do those masks in that order, making sure that during each wait time, I’m laying down, relaxing, and breathing deep. I’ll also sometimes check my phone and social media, catching up on more fun aspects of it that I may have been ignoring throughout the day. At no point do I try to do any work or handle any business. That’s Monday’s problem.
I’ve tried so many different kinds, types, and brands of conditioning/treatment packs. It’s fun to switch it up!
Step Two: Hair Care
I’d like to start this section by explaining that I am ethnic and biracial, and I have thick, curly hair. My tips may not work for every hair type, so just keep that in mind.
I get compliments on my hair often, and when asked what I do to it, I always explain that I maintain it by simply taking good care of it. I pamper my curls, especially on Sundays, so that I can go into the new week with shiny, bouncy tresses.
I’ll usually start by wetting my hair, and then applying a hair mask. I have tried a lot of treatments, from Ouidad to SheaMoisture, usually something tailored towards curly hair or a deep conditioning pack are my go-tos. I also enjoy doing a Queen Helene Cholesterol Hot Oil Treatment pretty often, (and not just because of the name, but I’ll admit that is a pretty fun part, too).
Once the hair mask has processed, I’ll gently de-tangle my hair with a wide-toothed comb (starting at the ends to avoid pulling and snagging). Then I’ll rinse it out with cold water and towel dry.
Cute little tin for cute cuticles and nice nails
Next, I’ll divide my hair in to about 4 sections and rub some oil in it. I usually use a mixture of Jamaican black castor oil and coconut oil, never putting too much as to weigh it down. I really love this combination, because it is so moisturizing and hydrating, and leaves my hair bouncy, shiny, and soft to the touch. Not to mention castor oil helps with rapid growth, which is great because I’m trying to grow my hair out! I’ve always wanted to try some overnight hair mask, and something else of that sort might work better for you! (Let me know if you find a good one.)
After my hair is sufficiently slathered in the nourishing oils, I’ll usually put it in a bun right at the top of my head. When I go to sleep, I’ll wrap it in an old t-shirt to protect my pillow cases. When I wake up, I’ll gently wash it out using warm water, and then condition and comb it as normal, rinsing with cold water. My hair is always so soft and nice for at least 3 days following this treatment! I try to do it at least twice a week, but definitely on Sundays! Going into the week with hair like that is a serious confidence-booster.
It may look kinda sloppy, but at least it’s free! Plus, the polish that got on skin will wash off in the shower, it’ll look pretty pro!
Step Three: Tips and Toes
Who else loves having their toes and fingernails looking nice? I don’t know about you, but catching a glimpse of a shiny manicure or a cute pedicure makes me instantly happy. There’s something about having your toes and fingernails taken care of that just makes you feel that much more put-together, am I right? I enjoy giving myself little manicures and pedicures on Sunday. As I don’t get my nails done professionally (to save money mostly), I find that doing them myself proves sufficient. I make sure to use cuticle balm, too, so my cuticles and nail beds remain soft and healthy (I like Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream). A fresh coat of polish is a nice way to start the new week, yes?
Open book: pages just begging to be scribbled all over. Put thoughts into writing and your mind at ease before the new week
Step Four: Reflection and Journaling
While I suspect that reflection is a lifelong journey, and one of my goals for 2017 is to form the habit of journaling each and every single day; pausing and taking even 10 minutes more than usual for these 2 tasks on Sunday evening is a nice way to get in a positive frame of mind for the new week. I don’t like to think about all the things I didn’t do the previous week; I instead like to reflect on what goals I’d like to accomplish that may be taking a bit longer. I’ll think about what I hope to do during the coming week, setting low goals so that if and when I surpass them, I feel even better about my productivity levels (it’s a secret life hack of mine). I also like to put these thoughts into writing and perhaps add a bit more to my journal than I normally would. Note: these musings can be about anything: work, professional, personal, relationships…Anything that I know is going to require my time, attention, effort, and care throughout the week, and therefore should be given a bit of positive thought and healthy reflection beforehand.
I feel as though eye masks are a little-known step. Have you heard of them? Ever tried them?
Step Five: Meditation and Relaxing
While I may have dabbled in a bit of each of these during earlier steps (meditation while reflecting and relaxing while doing facials, etc.), the last step to complete before going to sleep is perhaps the most important, at least for your mental state. No matter what happened this past week (or weekend), no matter what did or didn’t get done, no matter what negative feelings were felt, this is the time to breathe it all in, and then slowly breathe it all out. It’s really that simple. The act of closing your eyes and breathing deep can do wonders for stress or mild anxiety, at least I’ve found. Not to mention, it can really help you fall asleep if you’re having trouble! When it comes to the relaxing part of this step, that can mean many things to me. While I do try to avoid major screen time before bed (TV as well as phone), doing enjoyable recreational activities such as catching up on social media for fun or playing Xbox can really relax me, especially on days/weeks I feel like I haven’t had much time to do fun things that I enjoy. If it’s late or I feel like doing those things will keep me up or affect my sleep, I will read a magazine or a good book instead. I like to end off on this so that I go to sleep completely calm and relaxed, as well as in a good mood and not thinking too much.
This is my guide to the perfect Self-care Sunday, and my Mondays would not be nearly as manageable (or tolerable) without it.