When the weekend arrives, it’s easy to dive head on in, happy our work week is over. And yet, by the time Saturday night is over, we get stuck for what to do next. We often don’t know how to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Sunday daytimes are typically used as worship for some or intimate time with extended family. But once lunchtime ends, we’re still left with questions: Should I go out now? Or stay at home and potter around? Can I party on a Sunday afternoon? How can a Sunday afternoon be its own useful thing and not just “the few hours left in the weekend before going back to work?”
We like to make use of our Sundays as fully as we can. Here are 13 satisfying ways you can learn how to spend a Sunday afternoon well.
(For those of you who’ve been your Sundays lately in self-isolation, check out our idea of what to do during quarantine).
Ease into the afternoon slowly
There’s no need to start a Sunday with any kind of panic or drama. Take your time rolling through the day, by enjoying your favourite breakfast in bed with newspaper, or just lazing away with a cup of coffee and the radio. By the time afternoon comes round, you will be suitably relaxed. Staying in bed all day should not feel like a guilty pleasure.
Have some alonetime
If you’ve had a busy week of work and socialising, then you also need some downtime for yourself. Why? Because having some time alone allows you to clear your mind, collect our thoughts and find your centre again. It also gives you the space to reflect on your recent experiences, whether that’s meeting new people or learning a new skill.
Schedule the week ahead
I know I just said we shouldn’t think of Sundays as the day before Mondays. But acknowledging the upcoming week can help us panic a bit less about the work we may have to do. Set aside an hour during the afternoon to write down any goals for the week. Empty your head of any lingering thoughts, then close your notebook and resume your relaxation.
Get lost in a good book
If you don’t know how to spend a Sunday afternoon on your own, then grabbing a book is the quickest solution. Spending time in a literary world can take your mind away from it all.
Reading isn’t just a fun way to wile away the hours, studies have shown it offers a number of health benefits such as strengthening the brain and reducing stress. If you don’t have a book to hand, drop by a second-hand bookstore or local book market.
Do some gentle exercise
Want to exercise but don’t feel like hitting the gym or doing anything too strenuous? Although Sundays tend to be relaxing days, it doesn’t mean you can’t use them for any kind of physical activity. I would recommend riding a bike, going for a walk, or following a basic workout on a DVD.
Gadget detox day
Do you ever find yourself staring at a screen or using your phone too often? Then it’s time to unplug your devices, lock them in the drawer and spend the day without them. There was a time pre-smartphone where we knew how to entertain ourselves. Smartphone addiction is a real problem; a study by King’s College London showed people became “panicky” when separated from their phone. You don’t wanna go there.
Revisit a hobby
We all need a hobby or two to help us recharge our batteries and bring a spark back to our lives. If you don’t how to spend a Sunday afternoon in a relaxing way, then why not label the time ‘My Hobby Afternoon’?
Whether you enjoy painting, swimming, wanting to learn a new skill, or brush up on a new language, you can use the afternoon hours for activities you don’t usually have time for. Two tips for hobbies to use on Sundays: avoid anything related to work; and pick something that let’s you blow off a little steam in some satisfying way.
Take a long bath
There’s no better way to let your worries go than by locking the bathroom door and enjoying a well-deserved soak in the tub. You can make the experience even more luxurious by lighting some scented candles and playing soothing music. If you don’t have a bath, you can relax just as well under a shower. Letting the water cascade over you can be an invigorating experience.
Connect with your local community
If you’re still wondering how to spend a Sunday afternoon and with people, then look no further than local events. Not everyone wants to spend Sundays alone; it’s also important to interact with others where we can. Local events give you a way to mix it up with your community without feeling the pressure to socialise.
Check your local listings to find out what’s on, whether it’s a local fair, a street market, a food festival or a small fundraiser. You never know what you’ll discover or who you’ll meet.
Get lost in your neighbourhood
Living in our neighbourhoods is one thing, but how well do we really know them? We often only visit certain stores or areas when we need them. The slowness of Sundays gives us the chance to stroll around the block (and beyond) and see what’s out there.
You could also use Sunday afternoons as a weekly challenge, e.g. eating out at a different restaurant every week.
Host a casual lunch with friends
If you’ve not had any time during the week to see your friends, then why not invite them over for a light lunch? Don’t try to go crazy with the menu here, you want to keep things simple. Stick with salads, soup, sandwiches, or cake and tea.
Sofa movie time
It’s often difficult to schedule in any time to go and see a movie. And when you do manage to go, you have to face long queues and people talking during the film. Sunday afternoons are the perfect time for a movie marathon. You can dust off your unwatched DVD boxsets, or browse through your streaming app for something good. Having too much movie choice can also be daunting, so to help you decide what to pick, check out our movie party ideas.
Get in some cooking practice
Love baking, but never have the time? Want to learn how to do a casserole but just never actually do it? You have plenty of time now with Sundays. If you’re prone to eating out a lot and want to cook more for yourself, you can also use Sundays to prepare a few dinners to keep in the freezer.
Weekends are often a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, with all our focus on Friday nights and Saturdays, we’re stuck for ideas for how to spend a Sunday afternoon. Hopefully at least one of the ideas on this list can inspire you to spend these hours well.