Ah, the weekend!
A great time to shake off the stress and anxiety of a difficult work week packed with responsibilities.
Monday? Blah. A day that’s been lampooned throughout popular culture for decades as a day of dread and getting back to work.
Wednesday? Middle of the week! Hump day. Just a downhill slide into Friday and the weekend!
But what about Sunday?
Sunday, for many people, is a day of dismay and apprehension, knowing that the working week is right around the corner.
It’s a day where we often feel the need to pack in all of those pre-work week activities that really need to get done… things like grocery shopping and laundry.
We spend it trying to keep our life running efficiently.
We may spend it thinking about the upcoming work week, what we need to get done, our commitments and responsibilities, and bracing ourselves to deal with our coworkers.
That dread, the Sunday Scaries, is rooted in a thing called “anticipatory anxiety.”
That is an excessive dwelling and worrying on what may or may not happen in the future.
It’s more immediate in that the Sunday Scaries are often rooted in feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of things that need to get done in the week ahead.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome those Sunday Night Blues!
Rearrange the order of your responsibilities and activities.
Life requires a lot of maintenance work, like those grocery and laundry duties mentioned above.
Don’t pack all of these things into your brief two day weekend.
In fact, it might help to push some of these activities up to Friday night or do them throughout the week.
That way, you’re not spending your entire Sunday doing your life maintenance work.
You have more time to actually relax.
Discipline and a schedule can help lift some of your anxiety.
By using a schedule, you are planning out exactly how you spend your hours, which will improve your productivity and efficiency, and help you finish your jobs in a timely fashion.
It’s not unusual for people to try to coast their way through their Friday afternoon, into evening and the weekend.
Instead, use that Friday afternoon to stay focused on what needs to get done in the coming seven days.
If you have spare time on Friday, use some of it to plan out the coming week or get ahead on your chores so you don’t have to play catch up on Sunday.
You may also want to work in more of your weekend responsibilities throughout your work week. That way you have less of a burden to deal with once the weekend finally rolls around.
Plan some recreational activities early in the week.
You know what’s hard to dread? Fun. Fun is hard to dread. Not impossible, but still hard.
Putting some fun into the start of your week is a good way to help offset your Sunday Blues.
You can look forward to getting together with your friends or partaking in a fun activity early in the week.
Try to schedule it for sometime Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evening.
It may also help to schedule some or all of Sunday as a day of rest and relaxation.
Of course, it can be difficult to find time when you have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, but that makes the act of self-care all the more important.
You absolutely must make time for yourself, to recharge your batteries, to do things that you find fulfilling or that bring you some happiness.
Not doing so risks much more stress and burnout if you can’t find a balance in life that works for you.
Consider making Sunday a day of rest and relaxation if you have an otherwise busy week.
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Focus on mindfulness and being present in your weekend.
As previously mentioned, the Sunday Scaries are linked to anticipatory anxiety, which means a number of tactics to combat anxiety can help reduce the impact of this dread and depression.
Focusing on the present moment through mindfulness is one of the most powerful self-management techniques for coping with anxiety.
And it is relevant in dealing with the Sunday Scaries, because they are typically rooted in worrying over what’s to come in the following week.
The key to using mindfulness is to try to keep your mind in the moment; the here and now.
Saturday and Sunday are your days off. The things that need to happen on Monday through Friday aren’t relevant.
Those worries and anxieties need to be forced out of one’s mind through the active effort of telling yourself that you won’t think about those things.
It helps if you can turn your mind to thinking about something else.
The idea is simple, but it’s not an easy thing to do. It does get easier the more you do it though.
You can use physically or mentally challenging activities to refocus your mind onto something else.
A good book can bring you right to the present, as can exercise, working a puzzle, or doing some other activity that requires mental focus.
Trade negative anxieties for positive thoughts.
A common way to combat anxiety and negative thoughts is to replace them with positive thoughts or hopes.
Instead of worrying about everything that needs to get done on Sunday and the rest of the week, we instead focus on what positives are coming up in our week.
That can be difficult to do if you’re having a hard time with your mental health or your life is overwhelmed with responsibilities.
At that point, it’s time to take stock of everything you have going on and find out what can be cut or pruned down to a more manageable level.
Don’t have anything positive in your schedule to look forward to?
Maybe it’s time to reach out to some friends to schedule an activity night, take up a hobby, or do some volunteer work that provides satisfaction, so you have something to look forward to.
You may want to shift that focus to your family to some degree, if you have one.
Quality, focused time with the kids or your partner may help you recharge your mental batteries if you’re dedicating a lot of time to your work and other life responsibilities.
There usually comes a point when we need to put our foot down, say “no more!”, and free up some of our precious time to practice self-care.
Make your self-care routines a priority.
Self-care is mandatory for maintaining a healthy mindset.
We have a society that beats us over the head with the need to be productive, to constantly be doing something, and to not waste time.
You’re not a machine, you’re a human being, which means you require downtime to rest and recuperate.
Be certain to pen self-care time into your schedule and treat it as the most sacred of all of your responsibilities, because it is.
Keeping yourself mentally healthy and happy throughout the week is an excellent way to keep from dreading the next.
And one of the ways you can do that is by ensuring that you have enough time to rest before moving on to the next responsibility.
It might be time for a major change…
Simply put, it might be time for a major change.
What is the root of your dread?
Do you feel overworked? Underappreciated? Underpaid?
Like you’re doing too much for the salary you earn?
Does the job or situation you’re in fit with your goals and how you want to live your life?
These are all questions worth contemplating if you find yourself burning out, stressed about your week, and dreading the next.
It might just be time to start looking for a different job or a change of scenery if nothing seems to squash those Sunday Night Blues.