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Dealing With Sunday Scaries

It’s Sunday afternoon, and instead of enjoying the last hours of your weekend, you find yourself wrestling with a creeping sense of dread about the upcoming workweek. The “Sunday Scaries” is a form of anticipatory anxiety that many people experience as the leisure of the weekend gives way to the responsibilities of the workweek.


This anxiety can stem from a variety of sources, including work-related stress, feeling unprepared for the week ahead, or even broader existential concerns about job satisfaction and life direction. Symptoms may include uncontrollable worry, restlessness, and a sense of impending doom that rob you of your ability to enjoy what's left of your time off.


While this type of anxiety is a common experience, it can significantly impact your mental health and overall quality of life. As a psychologist, I’d like to offer some insights and strategies to help you manage and, hopefully, overcome the Sunday Scaries.


Strategies to Combat the Sunday Scaries:


1. Reflect on the Root Cause.

Begin by reflecting on what specifically triggers your Sunday Scaries. Is it a particular project at work? The shift from relaxation to high activity? Fear of failure? Imposter syndrome? Understanding the root cause can help you address the issue more directly.


2. Plan and Prepare.

Rather than allow the allow the anxiety to build like a dark cloud over your head, lean directly into it by carving out some time on Sunday to plan your week ahead. This can include setting out your work clothes, preparing meals, or jotting down a to-do list. Knowing you have a plan can alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed.


3. Set Boundaries Between Work and Leisure.

Dedicate your weekend to truly disconnecting from work. This means setting boundaries, such as not checking work emails unless absolutely necessary or even thinking about work tasks. It’s important to give your mind a complete break. And that break isn’t over until Monday morning except for the allotted time to plan and prepare.


4. Engage in Relaxing Activities.

Incorporate activities that relax you into your Sunday routine. Whether it’s yoga, reading, a hobby, or spending time in nature, find something that helps you recharge and brings you joy.


5. Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude.

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises, can help center your thoughts and reduce anxiety. Additionally, reflecting on what you’re grateful for from the weekend can shift your focus from dread to appreciation. Instead of thinking, "I have to go to work," try thinking, "I get to go to work so I can pay my bills and have money to live."


6. Connect with Loved Ones.

Spending time with family and friends or even reaching out to someone for a chat can provide a sense of connection and support, reducing feelings of isolation and stress.


7. Incorporate pleasure during your workweek.

You may feel you go underground on Monday morning and don't re-emerge into your life until Friday at quitting time. This means you’re wasting a big chunk of your life. Look for opportunities for pleasure during your work week: Trivia Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wine Down Wednesdays, Movie Night Thursdays, etc. Breaking up your workweek with little pleasures can go a long way toward re-energizing yourself to get through the whole week.


8. Seek Professional Help if Needed.

If your Sunday Scaries feel overwhelming or are part of a larger pattern of anxiety or depression, it may be beneficial to seek support from a mental health professional. Therapy can provide strategies tailored to your specific needs.


Conclusion:

The Sunday Scaries are a common experience, but they don’t have to dominate your weekends. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing these strategies, you can reclaim your Sundays and face the week ahead with a sense of preparedness and positivity. Remember, it’s about finding a balance that works for you and allowing yourself space to enjoy both work and leisure.

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