HOW I SUNDAY
by Catherine Spinley
Before I ever knew there was an actual name for it, I was a victim of the Sunday Scaries. I was a high-strung, nine-year-old and my particular strain of this illness began on Saturday night, hitting sometime between The Golden Girls and Empty Nest. By the time Sisters came on, I was nearing hyperventilation territory. I dreaded school and all of the expectations, anxieties and awkward social encounters that went with Mondays (and Tuesdays and…). Nowadays, Sunday is my favorite day of the week but only because I’ve spent many years perfecting the art of Sunday-ing. Below are some of my secrets for maximizing your own personal Day of Rest (you may not have spent the last six days creating the world but science says neither did anyone else so go ahead, you deserve it!).
I am a self-described Introverted Extrovert. Being around people is energizing and inspiring and fulfilling but in small and controlled doses. If I’ve had a particularly busy week, I allow myself as little direct human contact as possible on Sundays. That means…I’m in charge. No, I don’t want to meet for brunch or catch up over coffee. I want what I want and that is alone time. It can be a bit dull in the winter and I notice I focus more on getting my life together types of activities like doing the five loads of laundry I’ve been ignoring, cleaning and organizing or working on a new blog post or longer essay. But, sometimes I do frivolous things like watching YouTube Beauty tutorials in bed or scrolling through Instagram or going to the movies AND getting the giant bag of M&Ms - my favorite cold-weather loner activity.
In the spring and summer alone time takes on another life. Most often I trek to Hudson River Park, lay out a blanket and do a combination of the following: read, catch up on podcasts, take photographs of the life around me or just straight-up people watch. This always involves sunblock, sunglasses, chapstick and my trusty reusable water bottle. Sometimes I’ll throw in some snacks and have a one-woman picnic. I also love a good walk, a trait I inherited from my dad. I can meander the streets of downtown Manhattan for hours; wandering to Smorgasburg for an ice cream sandwich or to my favorite hidden garden in the West Village to sit in silence while surrounded by quacking cab horns just beyond the brick walls.
Sundays are probably the worst time to go to the supermarket but, like clockwork, every Sunday night I am at Whole Foods stocking up on groceries for the upcoming week. I don’t mind it because I am a creature of habit and know exactly what I will buy so I excel at maneuvering the shopping carts and strollers. I make sure I have enough vegetables for nightly salads, enough fruit and Greek yogurt for breakfast and healthy snacks for in-between. I basically never leave without bananas, Granny Smith apples, avocados, seasonal fruits, kale, tomatoes, eggs, almond butter, yogurt and KIND Bars. Lunch prep is still a struggle and I am always looking for quick and healthy options. My trick for Sunday night meal prep is to crank up a podcast and chop away; it allows me to focus less on cooking (which I detest) and more on the conversation.
No perfect Sunday, for me, is without yoga. I began practicing in earnest almost three years ago and it has been one of the most important pillars of self-care in my life. As noted above, I operate at a base-level of Anxious and elevate from there. I practice Baptiste Yoga, a heated, power vinyasa flow which is sweaty and soulful simultaneously. Sometimes I am a good student and I set an intention for the week but, let’s be honest, most Sundays I’m just working through the stuff in my head. It’s that simple. I walk out of the one-hour class thinking, “Everything will be alright. And if it isn’t, well, then it isn’t.”
SURFACE AND SLEEP
A day spent trying to cultivate inner beauty calls for a night spent focusing on outer beauty – and when I say outer beauty I mean my skin. I start with a rigorous dry brushing session (nope, that is not a euphemism for anything but dry brushing), which I am convinced could really make a difference if I just remembered to actually do it during the week. If things are really touch-and-go (“What do you mean you’re out of brussel sprouts?! How does a market called Whole Foods run out of the trendiest whole food?!?!”), a long, hot shower is in order. I know it isn’t good for my skin or hair but I love how therapeutic it feels; the water on my back relaxes my muscles and the bunch of eucalyptus tied to my shower head emits the most relaxing aroma.
To offset the hot shower, I’ll apply hair and body oil and cross my fingers.
Whether I’ve skipped the shower or not, next is the double facial cleanse (an oil cleanse followed by a traditional foaming cleanser), an essence pat down (again, don’t read into it) and a mud mask (if needed) followed by a sheet mask. Next there’s a pressing of Weleda Skin Food into my refreshed skin (key to warming up the formula) and a liberal application of heavy eye cream and lip balm.
Lastly, I crawl into bed, put lavender oil on my feet and wrists and select a guided meditation focused on deep sleep to usher me into REM. I won’t lie – sometimes a Klonopin is involved – I like you too much to omit that sometimes, no matter how good your defenses against the Sunday Scaries are, you need a little help….You don’t always have to be a hero.
Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at Worepaint.com.