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Self Date Sunday

I’ve always been happy to spend time alone. I think I was born an introvert, but my introverted tendencies get deeper as the years go by. Even so, sometimes being alone just makes me a little bit blue. Too much of a good thing, I guess.

My husband does shift work, and these past few months he leaves for work mid afternoon and doesn’t return until the wee hours of the morning while I’m asleep. During the week the time went fast. Of course it was a bummer to miss dinner together on nights he worked, but weeks are so busy anyway I didn’t notice much. But the weekends were a different story.

I’d sleep in a bit or get up and go to yoga, have some coffee, read, clean up around the house, write, snuggle with our dog, and then Nick would wake up around noon and we’d have brunch and go about our day until he left for work around 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn’t love this on Saturdays, but it was manageable. I’d go see my parents or grandparents who live in town, call a friend, or take Harvey on a run and look forward to the time we’d have together the next day. But those Sunday afternoons were rough stuff.

The first Sunday afternoon when Nick left for work felt like a punch in the gut. I was so lonely. As someone who tends to suffer from the Sunday blues anyway, it felt especially terrible. None of my regular back to routine efforts seemed to make a difference. There were several hours of the weekend left, but instead of feeling relaxed I just felt super alone.

This was in January. I knew I had to do this several more times until shifts switched in early April. I couldn’t spend two Sunday afternoons a month sulking and feeling lonesome and blue. I stated to brainstorm how to kick this particular strain of the Sunday dreads.

I didn’t like Sundays to feel busy, so I didn’t want to schedule anything I’d have to prepare for. I wanted something easy, relaxing, but a little out of the ordinary that I could look forward to. I gave a lot of thought to what would be true for me and my nature, and decided that on Sunday afternoons when Nick worked I’d make myself dinner, treat myself to my favorite kettle chips and a glass of wine, and watch a chick-flick. Easy, simple, but something I don’t normally do – I started calling this little tradition Self Date Sunday.

Having something small but fun to look forward to make weekends of opposite schedules seem much more manageable. Having a plan made me feel less lonely. Of course weekends where we’re both home are always preferable, but I did actually look forward to my dinner and movie on Sunday afternoons. Giving my routine a name made it feel set. It was part of a routine that helped me feel ready for the week ahead, instead of an afternoon of feeling kind of meh. Not a great way to jump into a new week.

If you’re prone to the Sunday blues, give self date Sunday a try. Maybe you don’t want dinner and a chick-flick, so find what works for you. Maybe a video game or a walk with a neighbor, or maybe just an early bedtime with an old favorite book. Just find something that makes your Sunday help you feel ready for the week ahead. It really helps.

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