My Sunday Checklist & Meal Planning Ritual

Summer is barely beginning to tip over the edge of fullness into the waning season of autumn here in the Southwest U.S. My ancestral body is getting excited for warm soups, fall hikes, and cozying up with some bourbon by the fire with the husband and cat.

The in-between seasons are a great time for setting intentions, especially around systems and rituals that help us meet and maintain our goals. A few months ago, I refined my Sunday rituals that prepare me for the week ahead. It’s been such a game changer for me that I wanted to share them with you! (Read to the end to get access to my free weekly meal planner!)

Step 1: Self-Care Ceremony

My Sunday ritual has three parts. To close the week out on Saturday nights, I often like to take a bath or do a candlelit restorative yoga session at home. To incorporate self-care into my Sunday week opener, I like to add a little ceremony – perhaps a walk outside, lighting a candle before I begin, or a manifesting meditation. I encourage you to find anything that feels good to you in the moment – any ritual that centers you for the logistical planning that comes next. It is profound to set our intentions and really envision the week we want to have, to get into that embodied state before we start using our brains.

Step 2: Checklist

Who doesn’t love a good checklist? There’s something so comforting and finite about seeing your tasks laid out in black and white, and going through them one-by-one. My Sunday Checklist is a list of the things I need to schedule into my calendar for the week ahead, and it lives in a Google doc. I recommend taking out a note and listing all the things you need to carve time out for on a weekly basis. If it’s helpful, you can add the estimated or preferable number of hours you will spend each week, as a goal to meet. You can even rank them in order of priority so you know what needs to get scheduled first, second, and so on. To give you an idea, my Sunday Checklist looks something like this:

  • Schedule in work. One of my jobs is in the service industry (I beertend at a local brewery), so I need to make sure I have my schedule up to date each week, as it is always changing!
  • Check on bills due. I keep all my due dates in my calendar, and I like to keep track of these at the start of the week so I know how much will be coming out of my account when.
  • Schedule in yoga & self-care. You know me – self-care has to be prioritized for my week! I like to actually put my yoga and other self-care ideas on the calendar, so I’m more likely to follow through.
  • Schedule in workouts. Exercise doesn’t always feel like self-care to me, so I have to remind myself to schedule it in to meet my goals. Whether it’s a hike I’ve committed to with a friend or a solo Zumba class, I try to make sure I’m working out at least 3 times a week.
  • Schedule in social commitments. I add in any commitments I’ve made to friends or think about what plans I want to make for the upcoming week. This usually requires some coordination with my hubby, since we both work odd brewery hours.
  • Schedule in dates with Jon & solo dates. Spending time with my husband is so important. The less time we have together, the more we savor it and try to be intentional about it. Even if it’s as simple as cooking at home together and having a night where we don’t turn the TV on, we count it as a date. Likewise, if there’s something I’ve been wanting to try on my own, like a new hiking trail or a creative project to nourish my soul, I’ll schedule in that solo date next.
  • Schedule in classes and homework. I’m completing my life coaching class, which requires homework and practice sessions in addition the 2 hour class each week. I also include any other educational ventures here, like if I signed up for a free webinar or need to spend time studying for a skill I want to independently cultivate.
  • Schedule in work for my business. I keep a pretty long to-do list in my business, from writing blogs to recording guided meditations, to client outreach. I try to keep a balance of time dedicated to that each week, and schedule it accordingly.
  • Schedule in meal planning, grocery & prep, cooking times. This one took me a while to start scheduling in on my calendar! Even though cooking was important to me, it’s like I thought it would just happen naturally. Ha! It only took me 11 years of living on my own to realize… I need a pretty detailed plan to make sure it does happen. Now I schedule in time to make my grocery list (the next stage of my Sunday ritual), go to the grocery, prep my ingredients, and actually cook! Looking at the calendar helps, because I know if we have dinner plans on Wednesday, I don’t need to cook. Or if my ingredients list includes something more perishable (e.g. fish or leafy greens), I’ll try to make those recipes earlier in the week. More on this below…
  • Schedule in errands & chores for the week. It feels good to know that laundry day is every other Thursday, and Sunday is my day for chores and errands. But in case anything shifts (e.g. I make plans for Sunday brunch), I like to move the event on my calendar to it’s new time.

Scheduling everything into my google calendar each week might seem obsessive or extreme, but it truly helps me see my week at a glance and actually feel more grounded. I don’t hold myself to it as a rigid structure – in fact, things are constantly shifting and changing. But having the items on my agenda helps ensure things don’t get dropped altogether, rather, they just shift to their new home.

My relationship to time has changed for the better this year. I have come to accept what a week is capable of, and the potential in a single day. After all, we all have the same 24 hours! I’ve noticed that what I prioritize, I will channel my energy and time into. And if I can cultivate patience, I will see the fruits of the seeds I’m planting over time. As a self-diagnosed impatient person, I assure you this is no easy task.

Step 3: Meal Planning

After I’ve completed scheduling my weekly priorities, I move on to meal planning for the week. When I take the time to ground and get curious about what my body needs nutritionally and what my soul needs in terms of flavors and experiences, this process goes much more smoothly. After all, you can infuse spirituality, self-care and body awareness into everything! When our planning is done this way, that intention is held and manifested in the outcomes.

I usually jot this down in an evernote that syncs to my phone, but I created this beautiful downloadable freebie for you to plan your meals here – check it out!

Here are my 10 steps to meal planning. Make this process your own!

1. Note the days this week you can/want to cook. For many people, setting an intention about how many nights each week they’d like to cook can be a nice goal to have in mind. For me, I try to cook 3 or 4 times a week. I’ll often make big batches so we can have leftovers for lunches or other nights.

2. Reflect on & research some recipes you might want to make this week. Perhaps you need to keep it really simple this week with 30-minute meals you know like the back of your hand. Or maybe there’s a night here and there for you to really spend time in the kitchen and try something completely new. Try to keep a balance between what you need to eat & what you have to give, in terms of time and energy.

3. Pop the meals you’ll have each day into the chart I made for you here. For breakfasts, sometimes I just note yogurt and fruit, if it really is that simple. I even get intentional about snacking, and try to brainstorm ideas I can list in this space each day.

4. Take note of the recipe locations for each as well, often these are hyperlinks I save so I can easily reference when the time comes to get cookin’!

5. Pull the ingredients from each recipe and list them on your grocery list. Of course, don’t include the ones you already have at home. I try to substitute the same ingredients across the board, where possible, to ensure we’re not wasting anything or over-spending. For example, I’ll try to make recipes that week that utilize the same herbs, like cilantro, or the same protein, like the bag of frozen shrimp. This is a time for you to use your intuition and what you have on hand, not to stick to the recipe 100%.

6. Combine all the other items you need from the grocery here. I keep a note going on my phone called Groceries + the date which I can easily reference each time I realize we’ve run out of something again. My current list reads hilariously – just olive oil, vodka, and butter. 🙂

7. Split the ingredients out by category – this will make it endlessly easier for you while at the grocery. I’ve split my tracker here into produce, protein, dairy, dry goods, frozen, household, and personal care categories.

8. Schedule what you plan to make and when in your calendar, and estimate how long they’ll take.

9. Go to the grocery! Adjust your plan accordingly if they don’t have the ingredients you need.

10. If you have time, prep ingredients ahead of time. This doesn’t always happen, but I like to prep ingredients for the next few days’ meals as soon as I get home from the grocery. I really like to prep snacks ahead of time as well – chopping fresh veggies and sticking them in mason jars makes reaching for healthy snacks so convenient!

And there you have it – a week of intentional, nourishing, and prepped meals ready to go, ready to support you on another week of caring for yourself. Is there anything better than coming home from a hard day’s work to prepped ingredients and a meal plan, with time carved out to spend in the kitchen? It makes my heart so happy, helps me save money and definitely keeps me eating healthy!

That’s my 3-part Sunday Ritual, Dear Ones. I hope it serves you as you begin to craft your own. Remember to be flexible. Weeks never go exactly according to plan! Part of caring for ourselves is allowing for wiggle room and resilience and growth through life’s curveballs.

Let me know how your Sunday ritual goes in the comments below:

What was your self-care ceremony like?

Did checking things off the list and scheduling them into your calendar make you feel nurtured and taken care of?

I’d love to hear!

Posted by

I started Luminous Leanings to share my passions of meditation & self-care. As a self-care coach, I'm really just a holder! I hold space for busy people on their self-care journey. Then I hold them accountable as they integrate self-care into their lives. If you want to develop more self-compassion, but aren't sure where to start, you've come to the right place. Be sure to check out my guided meditations & journal freebies, & sign up for the Letter to keep in touch. You don't have to self-care alone - I'm in your corner!

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