Written by David Chorlton and narrated by Aria Edwards.
While we can all agree that the weekend is never long enough, the prospect of the weekend coming to an end can fill some people with dread. They can feel anxious, irritable, uneasy and are suddenly overcome with a feeling of dread and worry at the prospect of Sunday turning into Monday.
People have nicknamed these feelings the Sunday Scaries, or the Sunday Blues. They are a form of anticipatory anxiety[i], where the sufferer is worried about something that has not, and may not, ever happen. You may even start inventing a dozen scenarios about what will happen at work on Monday morning, from a stern chat with your boss to the pile of work that may suddenly appear on your desk.
Before we look at how to beat the Sunday blues, let’s try to understand what the Sunday blues actually are and how you can overcome them.
What Are The Sunday Blues?
Before we tackle the issues of dealing with Sunday night anxiety, or the Sunday Blues, it may help to understand precisely what they are. The easiest way to describe the Sunday blues is a feeling of dread or anxiety on a Sunday night as you begin to contemplate going back to work on Monday. You may not even have a particularly stressful job or a toxic work environment to feel the Sunday Blues, but sure enough, as the sun starts to set on Sunday evening, those nasty feelings of dread begin to creep into your mind. It practically becomes a conditioned response, particularly if we constantly associate work with stress. Left unchecked, we start to see work as a threatening situation, which can trigger anticipatory anxiety. This, in turn, triggers our flight or fight response, and this causes adrenaline and cortisol to be released, giving us feelings of restlessness and uneasiness.
All of the negative feelings that follow an attack of the Sunday Blues can lead to other symptoms, with some people left feeling ill or nauseous, and they may lay awake for most of the night on Sunday, dreading the morning alarm that kicks off the new week.
Ways To Beat The Sunday Blues
The first thing you need to know about the Sunday Blues is that they can and do happen to everyone at some point, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you are experiencing them. However, if you feel the Sunday Scaries every Sunday night, it can lead to health issues if you let it continue for too long. If you’re determined to beat the Sunday Blues, there are several things you can do to make your Sundays more pleasant and eliminate the feeling of dread that you conjure up when you think of Monday morning.
Here is a list of things you can do to beat the Sunday Blues:
As simple as it may sound, before the Sunday Scaries take hold of you, take a nice long deep breath and understand that Monday will follow Sunday just as it always has and always will. Pay attention to the air as it enters your lungs and then exhale slowly.
2. Identify The Triggers
Once you understand why you are suffering from the Sunday Blues, you may be in a better position to address these issues and eliminate them altogether. For example, it may be that you didn’t finish all of your work before you left on Friday and you know it will be waiting for you on Monday. Perhaps your time management skills need a bit of work so you can be more productive during the week and leave you in tray empty when you head home for the weekend. It could also be a certain person or group of people creating a toxic work environment. Take a bit of time to discover the reason you dread going back to work on Monday and you’ll be in a better position to address these issues.
3. Change your Monday Mindset
Stop thinking of Monday with so much negativity. Instead, think of it as another start to a new week as well as the start of a week full of opportunities. It’s also worth remembering there are 52 Mondays in a year, and you have successfully worked your way through dozens of them, and you’ll do the same next Monday too.
4. Meditate Yourself To Calmness
Teach yourself to meditate, not just on Sunday, but every day. There is a lot of information you can find on the best ways to start meditating, and this is the perfect way to find your inner peace and learn how to focus. The good news is you only need to meditate for ten to twenty minutes to reap the benefits.
Read our blog, ‘What is Meditation?’
5. Spoil Yourself on Sunday
Sunday is traditionally a day of rest, so if you hate waking up early during the week, treat yourself to an extra hour or two of sleep on Sunday. You can also treat yourself to your favourite coffee, go to brunch with friends or spend the day at the beach. Whatever you decide is your guilty pleasure is what you should indulge in. Once you start to associate Sunday with pleasure, it will be less stressful for you.
6. Have Fun On Sunday
Whether you like to play sports, hang out with friends or watch your favourite movies. Make sure your Sundays include some fun time. A day of fun activities will keep you smiling and happy which is a great way to stop the Sunday Blues before they start and if it’s a sunny day, make sure you soak up some sunshine as this is proven to do wonders for your overall mood.
7. Set Weekly Goals
Part of the reason you may be suffering from Sunday night anxiety is that the week ahead of you looks a little overwhelming on a Sunday night. Instead of looking at the entire workweek in front of you, complete with a barrage of tasks, break them up into smaller, more manageable sections and assign each day of the week to complete these tasks. If you can’t do this on Sunday night, spend a little time setting goals and organizing your week on Monday morning. Those few minutes you dedicate to setting your weekly goals can make all the difference for the week.
8. Start Monday Without The Rush
Part of the reason you may be suffering from the Sunday Scaries is that your Monday mornings may be a frenzied rush to get ready for work and get out the door on time. If you must be at work at a specific time every morning, get up just a little bit earlier and start the day without the mad rush. Then, when you are not anxious or frazzled first thing in the morning, you can face the day ahead of you.
9. Make Changes To Your Schedule
If you find your schedule is somewhat chaotic, make changes to it. For example, try to identify which parts of the day you are at your most productive and set the bulk of your work to be done in these times. Also, make time to eat lunch away from your desk and try to make a schedule that doesn’t see you working overtime.
10. Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can make anyone feel tired, unwell and irritable and a few lost hours every day can add up, making you feel full of dread on Sunday, especially thinking of how much sleep you need to function when Monday is looming. So try to go to bed at a decent hour every single night, but especially on Sunday, so you are fully rested on Monday morning and ready to face the day.
Read more: what happens to the brain when you sleep.
11. Don’t Try To Overcome The Sunday Blues Alone
If you have been experiencing the Sunday Blues for a long time, you may want to consider seeking advice from a professional. They may help you put your anxiety into perspective and create a plan for you to overcome the blues.
12. Consider A Self-help Course
Instead of spending Sunday worrying about Monday, why not spend the weekend on an emotional intelligence course? Use the time to improve your mind, your body and your soul.
Mindfulness Exercises to Reduce Your Sunday Anxiety
Overcoming Sunday anxiety may sound hard, but there are many little things you can do to make your life easier and with less anxiety. You can try one or more of the following:
- Set a single intention for each day of the week
- Take up a new and rewarding hobby
- Spend time in nature
- Slowly sip a relaxing blend of tea
- Practice yoga
- Put your phone down for a few hours
- Go for a walk
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings
Nesswell have created a wonderful graphic and ideas on How To Design Your Sunday Reset Routine:
Be kind to yourself and remember that the Sunday Blues are quite common and will happen to almost everyone at least once in a while. Tackle this issue one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.