It’s no secret that Mondays are generally the least loved day of the week — but what if I told you it was possible to wake up actually looking forward to the first day back to work? It might sound overly optimistic, but by planning ahead, you can help curb some of the stress that normally makes you dread Monday mornings. I’ll walk you through 9 things you can do on Sunday to help keep your finances, life, and mental health balanced.
1. Review your budget
If you don’t already have a budget, I can’t stress enough just how important this step is. Knowing how much you take in, how much you pay in bills and essentials each month, and how much you should save is key to getting your finances in order.
Every Sunday, you should review your current budget by combing through your bank account or with the help of a budgeting template or a tool like Mint. If you’re following the 50/30/20 budget, for instance, pay attention to how much you’ve spent on bills, how much on essentials, and how much you saved. Do the numbers fit your budgeting plan or do you need to readjust?
Taking a close look at whether or not you’re staying on budget each week can help you avoid overspending and celebrate small victories.
2. Meal prep
We’ve all had days where cooking dinner feels impossible. If you’re tired in the evenings and sick of spending your paycheck on takeout and UberEats, meal prepping can be a great way to eat healthier, save time, and save money.
What I love most about meal prepping is that it’s versatile and can work for every lifestyle. Some people love making and storing individual meals to pop into the microwave at mealtimes. Others like the freedom to change things up and prefer to make staples like rice, proteins, and side dishes that can easily be thrown together into a burrito bowl, pasta dish, or salad.
It might take a few weeks to get into the swing of it, but once you start meal prepping, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
3. Schedule bill payments
Another way to kick your week off to a good start is to make sure all bills due that week are scheduled to be paid. It might be helpful to note when all of your bills are due on a monthly calendar — some people like using digital tools like Google Calendar and iCalendar, but some prefer actually writing this information out on a whiteboard or other physical calendar.
This is a great way to mentally prepare for money leaving your account, while also avoiding late fees. You might also want to note when debts (credit card bills and loans) are anticipated to be paid off, so you can reroute this money to other areas of your budget.
4. Check your bank account transactions
Making sure your finances are in order is actually linked to improved mental health. When we avoid looking at how much we’re spending and make excuses for poor financial habits, we’re actually adding more stress and anxiety into our lives.
Even if your budget is on track and your bills are scheduled, it’s important to also review your bank transactions from the previous week. Take a look at where your money went and identify areas where you could have saved.
For instance, if you aren’t using your gym membership, it might be time to cancel. This is also a good time to note any subscriptions or services that may have increased in price and work to see if you can get your bill reduced.
5. Restock on essentials
Some people exclusively grocery shop on Sundays, which is particularly important if you’re meal prepping. Sundays are also a good time to restock on any household items you’ve run out of or are running low on. There’s nothing worse than waking up on a Monday morning, only to find you’re out of coffee filters.
Some items to check on include:
- Toiletries (toilet paper, tissues, feminine hygiene products, shower supplies)
- Kitchen and laundry supplies (paper towels, soaps, coffee filters, garbage bags, cleaners, sponges, laundry detergent)
- Light bulbs
- Pet food and supplies
- Medicine and supplements
You can also use your time on Sundays to browse through any new sales and coupons to save even more money on these essentials.
6. Tidy your living space
Many of us work from home, which makes it even more important to keep our home tidy. You’re likely to start the day in a bad mood if you trip over the clothes you forgot to put away the night before and stumble into the kitchen to see the mountain of dishes in your sink.
Use the time you have on Sundays to get your living space ready for the next week. This doesn’t mean you need to deep clean your space or even clean every room. Instead, concentrate on the tasks that bother you the most and seek to accomplish them. Doing little things like making your bed or picking up the dog toys can really transform your space, and make it ready for the new work week.
7. Make and review your weekly to-do list
How many times have you woken up late on a Monday morning only to be bombarded with calls and tasks you weren’t quite ready for? Maybe you’ve forgotten it’s pajama day at your kids’ school or maybe you weren’t aware that you needed time to prep for an afternoon call.
Spare yourself freakouts on Mondays by reviewing your calendar ahead of time and taking note of everything you need to accomplish. This gives you the opportunity to mentally prepare for the week ahead while also building time into your schedule to prepare for tasks (if needed) and
8. Set goals and track your progress
It can be hard to see everything you’re accomplishing week to week, so make a habit of writing down and tracking goals. These can be savings goals, work goals, or personal goals. For instance, you might have a plan to save $12,000 over the next year, but celebrate each milestone along the way so you can appreciate your savings account growing.
Goals such as spending extra time with your family or committing to zoom calls with friends can feel much more manageable once you’ve written them down. Be sure to also review goals from the week before and carry them over if you weren’t able to complete them (no shame!) and celebrate them if they were successful.
9. Decompress for the week ahead
Lastly, it’s important to go into the new work week strong by feeling refreshed and energized. This all starts with getting a good night’s sleep.
If you struggle to go to bed early or find yourself working late at night, try setting a cutoff time for chores and work. Plan on decompressing for at least an hour or two before your bedtime to help you unwind and relax. Read a book, watch your favorite show, or spend the time catching up with your significant other or roommate. It may even be helpful to cut off social media a few hours before bed to give yourself a break from social media.
Getting a good night's sleep can also boost your mood and is essential for living a happy, balanced life.
Plan ahead to start your week refreshed
Spending a few hours on Sundays preparing for the week ahead can help improve your relationship with money, commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and overall well-being. Plan ahead and give yourself time to unwind and you just might notice you’re not dreading Mondays anymore.