Sunday Scaries sounds like the title of a book to help children sleep better, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not. In fact, it’s a common type of anticipatory anxiety adults experience before a new week begins. Even if you’re at home watching a movie, Sunday Scaries can happen out of nowhere, making you feel stressed and uneasy about your upcoming responsibilities. If this sounds like a weekly occurrence in your life, this article will teach you how to overcome the Sunday Scaries to make every weekend feel what it should be…relaxing.
What Are the ‘Sunday Scaries’?
Imagine you’re enjoying the last bit of your weekend, and suddenly, you feel a sense of panic about the week ahead. Whether it’s a never-ending to-do list, a boss you’re not too fond of, or an unfinished project, no matter what you do, you can’t stop thinking about it. This situation is the Sunday Scaries. And it can transform a lovely Sunday into an anxiety-ridden day. While it’s normal to anticipate and worry, for many, this anxiety robs them of enjoying their weekends. Yet, similar to the Monday Blues, there are several ways to uplift your mood while off the clock.
5 Common Causes of the Sunday Scaries
It shouldn’t be surprising that many experience Sunday night anxiety, especially when burnout is on the rise. According to a LinkedIn survey, 80% of the 1,017 adults surveyed experienced this anticipatory anxiety. But what exactly causes this feeling of dread? It may involve more than one answer.
1. A tricky work-life balance. If you don’t follow a set schedule, the Sunday Scaries can disrupt your free time.
2. Unfinished tasks and projects. It can be challenging to relax if you have a pressing work matter.
3. Too much socialization. If you’re a person who works hard and plays hard, not having enough you-time can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
4. Procrastination. While we’ve all put work off to enjoy life, procrastinating too much can make your anxiety levels skyrocket (Learn how to stop procrastinating and improve your productivity).
5. Unpleasant work relationships. Work consumes a lot of your time, and if you don’t enjoy your colleagues, you may anticipate your interactions more frequently.
How to Overcome the Sunday Scaries
1. Investigate the cause
One of the best steps to learning how to overcome the Sunday Scaries is through investigation. What is causing your anxiety? It may be a single cause or involve a web of several. For example, perhaps you’re stressed about a micromanaging supervisor or you resent going to your weekly Monday team meeting. Whatever the reason, spend time reflecting on what is causing your anxiety.
2. Explore strategies
After investigating, explore strategies to reduce the stress. For example, if you’re consistently worried about pressing deadlines, talk to your boss to find a solution. Perhaps you could decrease your workload or practice time management strategies to clear some of the overwhelm. One way to do this is to write a list of priorities. Organize every task into time-sensitive and those that can wait. Then start tackling the time-sensitive projects during the work week. You may feel a bit lighter when your weekend arrives.
3. Build awareness through meditation
Our self-talk greatly contributes to our stress levels. For example, if your self-talk is mostly negative, it will be more challenging to find solutions. Yet while we can’t stop anticipating (Our mind always thinks), we can reduce the noise through meditation. Meditation helps you build awareness and return to the present moment instead of staying stuck in the future. So, make meditation a part of your daily routine, if possible, and aim for 10 minutes a day. It’s worth it!
4. Plan each week for fun
Anticipating things you resent or dislike never feels good. But if you flip it and plan your week full of activities you can look forward to, you’ll feel happier and less likely to dwell on the upcoming tasks you hate. For example, going out with friends, getting a massage, or taking a road trip with your partner can all balance the negative emotions you feel.
5. Eliminate working on the weekend
It may be tempting to work, especially if you have a looming project deadline, but try to manage your week to have a free weekend. And while this is not always possible, having at least two days to yourself will reduce your anxiety. Even if you can avoid checking your emails or separating yourself from your phone for a few hours a day, your stress levels will thank you.
6. Get into nature
Nature is always the best cure. It’s a form of mindfulness meditation that helps you disconnect from your stress and plug into the natural world. In fact, even science supports nature as a go-to antidote for anxiety. For example, 20-30 minutes a day lowers your blood pressure, cortisol levels, and nervous system arousal. So, if Sunday Scaries has a tight hold on you, get outside, focus on your five senses and breathe in the beauty.
7. Practice self-compassion
After working a full week, it’s normal to have expectations for your weekend. Perhaps you wanted to clean your house, see a friend for lunch, run your favorite nearby trail, or finish reading your book. But instead, you only managed to do a quarter of these. And that’s okay. You’re human, and you’re not expected to wake up at 5 am every day and complete everything on your want or to-do list. So, go easy on yourself and practice self-compassion when your anxiety kicks in.
8. Organize the stress on paper
If you notice you’re prone to anxiety before the new week begins, set time aside to write a to-do list. Getting every upcoming task and responsibility out of your head and on paper will definitely make a huge difference. When we’re anxious, it feels like second nature to sit with the stress instead of becoming proactive. But every step you take to acknowledge your feelings and find a way to cope will help.
While we all worry from time to time, too much anxiety can rob a beautiful weekend, making you feel deeply unhappy. But following this list of tools and checking in with yourself will help you overcome the Sunday Scaries. And remember, every day you wake up and put forth the effort to improve your well-being is a wonderful step in the right direction.
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