Do you dread Sundays so much you start to feel sick as the day turns into night? Here’s how to fight it.
If the prospect of starting another work week has your anxiety piqued and your mind is wasting time on Sundays by imagining scenarios to get Monday off, you are likely falling victim to something called “The Sunday Scaries.”
The deep dread you feel on a Sunday not only takes up valuable free time but it can bleed into tomorrow and turn into a case of ‘the Mondays’ 🧟♀️ 🪦.
The good news: There are many ways to reduce your anxiety and beat the Sunday Scaries. Just follow these steps below to make easing into the work week refreshed and calm something you do often (and even enjoy a great night’s sleep).
Steps to Beat the Sunday Scaries:
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What are the Sunday Scaries?
The Sunday Scaries meaning is known as the feelings of distress, such as anxiety or dread, a person feels as time moves closer to the end of a weekend. They often creep up on Sunday evenings but can even start early morning depending on the level of stress a person is feeling.
Most of the unpleasant experience or feeling of overwhelm of the Sunday Scaries comes from anticipatory anxiety. This is when a person feels uneasy imagining upcoming scenarios and results, only to come out of the situation with mild to no negative experiences.
Typically as the day goes on, people suffering from the Sunday Scaries may experience physical reactions like:
- Unusual sweating
- Feelings of a pit in the stomach
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty breathing
- Nauseated or upset stomach
- Even depression & heart attack
*In extreme cases
Related Article: Clutter and Anxiety: How to Break the Vicious Cycle
How to Combat the Sunday Scaries
Our goal is to help you hate Sunday nights less by reducing your anxiety and feelings of dread. From getting that mental to-do list that’s keeping you awake on paper to exercises for both your mind and body, here are our best ways to beat your Sunday anxiety.
Determine What is Causing Your Sunday Dread
The Sunday Scaries, also called “Sunday Dread,” can either be caused by the general 0 MPH to 60 MPH feeling of leaving the days of rest and heading into work, or it can be caused by something more personal.
Even what triggers the Sunday Scaries from one week to another can change, but there are a few things that increase Sunday evening anxiety.
Consider your errands. You could have an overdue chore that’s bugging you.
Ask if you hate your job. Maybe your career path no longer inspires you. Listen to what your body tells you. Notice when anxiety is triggered. Look at what you need to reorganize. Clutter creates chaos.
📚Psst. It’s also called “The Monday Scaries” or “the Sunday Blues,” but the meaning is the same.
If none of the points above led you to a possible trigger, consider seeking out a mental health professional. They will help you unpack your thought process and eventually offer you solid medical advice, a diagnosis or treatment to make your Sundays less stressful.
Change Your Mindset
With meetings to take and deadlines to meet once you return to work life after a pleasant weekend, it can be impossible not to have Sunday night work anxiety.
Fostering positive thoughts can help beat your Sunday night blues. For example, whenever you think “Ugh, Monday,” fight it by changing up your thoughts to something positive like “Mmm, good coffee shop,” and treat yourself Monday morning to a specialty drink.
Or maybe you show up to work ready to try and the old desk chair breaks. Instead of being mad at the universe perhaps get excited about the possibility of a great new chair.
Train your mind to look forward to even the smallest positives of your upcoming week.
Practice Living in the Moment
Practicing living in the present moment can help when you’re stressed out experiencing Sunday Syndrome with an almost impulsive need to envision or anticipate what is coming.
When suffering a case of the Sundays, you can practice living in the moment by asking:
- Where am I right now?
- What am I grateful for?
- What am I currently working on?
*Do one thing at a time
- How comfortable am I right now?
- What can I see/hear/touch right now?
- How was my food made or taste?
Create a Sunday Night Routine
Sometimes keeping your mind occupied through things that keep you feeling good can beat the sunday blues. Make up a ritual that you can work your way through every Sunday.
Complete activities you enjoy like reading a book, going to the movies, practicing your 20-step skincare routine before a long, hot bubble bath… whatever it takes to slip away and enjoy moments you have for yourself.
Or, if your Saturday has you totally relaxed, your Sunday ritual may consist of setting up for the week through meal prepping or planning your upcoming schedule in a journal. Prepping for the week may help take control of your day-to-day and reduce your Sunday evening anxiety.
Note: While preparing for the week ahead is a good idea, it’s important to make time to truly relax over the weekend. Finding ways to blow off steam helps you face Monday with less anxiety.
Go to Sleep Early
It can be hard enough to fall asleep and it’s even worse when Sundays stressful emotions are hanging over you. But don’t underestimate how your mood is affected without enough sleep.
According to a recent sleep survey of 700 respondents aged 17 to 79, early risers had higher reports of feeling happier and healthier than their night owl counterparts.
Experts say that if you do not get seven to nine hours of sleep, exhaustion can worsen anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Even just one extra hour of sleep can help boost your mood and make welcoming the coming week easier.
Old mattress keeping you awake?BOOK A PICKUP ❯
Totally Enjoy the Weekend
You may be suffering from the Sunday Scaries due to burnout from raising kids or pursuing career goals, or even both! If it’s too late for this weekend, do your best to actually enjoy yourself this next coming weekend.
As we’ve mentioned, blowing off steam is important to give you time to swap out the old mental batteries with fresh new ones.
Ask your partner for help. If they’re available, lean on your partner a little more than usual when you feel yourself elbow deep in stress. Let them know how you’re feeling and ask them to help you get the space you need or even help you find ways to relax.
Go for a family activity. Or take the kids out somewhere everyone can enjoy themselves like the beach, camping or a family-friendly restaurant with live music.
Single and/or kid-free? Take advantage of your free time and instead of letting your mind wander while watching TV, work on personal goals, hang out with friends or join a club!
🖼 The big picture is: do fun things that take your mind off stress. If you need help coming up with ideas for activities to do, here are 56 Fun Things to Do When Bored at Home. Take a look!
Delegate Your To-Do List
With the lawn that needs mowing and your kids seeking new activities, when are you supposed to recharge for another week of work if you don’t give yourself a break at home? You can further enjoy the weekend by hiring help where you can!
In order to combat the Sunday Scaries, your weekend should be as stress-free as possible and hiring professionals to tackle extra chores is a great way to make time to feel like yourself before the weekend ends.
You should hire a babysitter if you need some “me-time” or alone time with your partner.
If you happen to find “get rid of junk” on your to-do list, hire junk removal experts to take care of making extra space for you.
Practice Self-Care & Compassion
When Sunday night rolls in to make the end of the weekend hit hard, your Sunday night anxiety may start to make you feel guilty or worried about the future — hit the breaks.
Whether you feel like you weren’t productive enough, said something that made you cringe, or even flat out made a mistake, give yourself a chance. One shortcoming that may not even be a big deal to anyone other than yourself is not worth all the symptoms of anxiety.
A few ways self-compassion can overcome Sunday night dread:
Move Your Body. Feeling your body support you is a great way to not only release mood-boosting endorphins but also a great time to find pride in yourself.
Participate in Hobbies. Ever thought about joining a book club? What about a cooking class? No matter what it is, do what feels good to you, even if you’re bad at it! It’s about soothing and satisfying your inner-child curiosity, not being perfect.
Ask if You’re Over-booked. Sometimes more is less. There’s a breaking point even for the most social of social butterflies. So don’t participate in hobbies if you’re really craving indulging in a nap. Listen to your body.
Look at Your Surroundings
Weekends should be relaxing, but is your dreaded feeling of a Monday morning coming from a lack of organization? Or maybe it’s cluttered household junk stopping you from getting things done efficiently. Work on that to save your future self the stress next weekend.
Don’t forget to treat yourself and look around at all the people ready to help. From family and friends to local services that make your life easier. Go easy on yourself and delegate things you don’t have to do yourself (like getting rid of an old mattress).
Know the ‘Sunday Syndrome’ is Common
You’re not alone. The uneasy feeling of a growing pit in your stomach caused by Sunday Scaries are common, particularly in career-minded individuals. A LinkedIn survey once revealed that 80% of professionals experience the Sunday dread often.
You can reduce the anxiety that is largely anticipatory by narrowing down a trigger and tackling it at its source. Sometimes that takes completing some mental gymnastics of accepting the things you cannot change, having the tenacity to change the things you can, and distinguishing the difference.
Change your mindset by living in the moment, being grateful for what you do have, and sticking to positive Sunday routines that make you feel good and lead to a good night.
If none of these tips help at all, you will benefit from taking time off for your mental health. Talk to a therapist or take a retreat to really analyze what you can do about this feeling. Weigh possible triggers in your life with compassion and honesty. Being true to you often helps find confidence and innerpeace that sticks around to support you on Sundays and beyond.
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