Have you ever had a wonderful weekend with family or friends (or even some much-needed alone time), only to have all that built-up positive energy and joy sucked out of you around Sunday evening as thoughts about the upcoming work week creep into your mind? If so, you’ve experienced the “Sunday Scaries”. You’re also not alone, as a survey conducted by Monster, the ‘Sunday Scaries’, blues, or, dread is a legitimate feeling that affects up to 76% of Americans.
This guy included. I remember starting to feel down in the dumps on Sundays dating back to childhood. My grandma would often come and stay with us on Sundays to help my parents get my brother and I off to school on Monday mornings. We would watch America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) Sunday evening – the Bob Saget version, no offense to Tom Bergeron or Alfonso Ribeiro. But shout out to Carlton Banks for the sweet dance moves!
Anywho, I remember wishing AFV would never end because it marked the end of the weekend and made me anxious about going back to school and everything that the week would bring. This trend continued into adulthood.
What are the Sunday scaries all about?
It’s normal to have some anxiety or dread about the upcoming week. These negative emotions that we feel on Sundays are more common these days in a culture where we are often overworked, underappreciated, and struggle with managing our work and personal lives.
The Sunday Scaries carry this cutesy nickname that mentions a specific day, but people who don’t follow the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule can experience it, too. Shift workers, self-employed people, and those who work from home can also feel a sense of dread whenever switching between time off and their jobs.
There are two reasons that the Sunday Scaries set in:
1. Anticipatory anxiety.
“The Sunday Scaries, or Sunday blues, are a type of anticipatory anxiety that gives you a sense that what’s going to happen is going to be really hard,” explains Dr. Meghann Gerber, a psychologist who sees patients at Hall Health Center on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Basically, we start anticipating things that we’re going to have to start doing but don’t really want to do – ahem, going back to work – and this drives up our anxiety and stress ahead of time. We also struggle with trying to balance work with our personal lives. Boo work.
2. The death of freedom.
This phenomenon marks the end of the precious little time that we are free to do what we want – whatever that may be – and we get bummed out that our free time is almost up. As we begin to feel the ball-and-chain being tethered around our ankles once again, we long for more time doing what brings us joy.
How can we keep the Sunday scaries away?
The Sunday Scaries are real but don’t have to suck. Here are a few ways that you can banish them and take back your Sunday!
Sit in silence.
So, the last thing you probably want to do on Sunday is to spend time in silence – but hear me out. Silence has been proven to relieve stress, replenish overworked mental resources, regenerate brain cells, and activate our brain’s “default mode network.”
On Sunday morning, take just 10 minutes and sit in complete silence and allow your brain to rejuvenate. It will help you savor the rest of your weekend.
Make Sunday a time for family or friends (or yourself).
This is mostly a mindset shift. Work will still be there tomorrow. Avoid checking emails and responding to your boss – screw her or him. This goes for housework and chores as well, which really aren’t that enjoyable and suck up your time.
This day is yours and you should enjoy it without feeling guilty for dedicating your time to resting, relaxing, and recharging. It’s a great day to take the family to the pool and splash around, take a bike ride, get in some exercise, watch a movie that you’ve been meaning to check out, or enjoy some pizza/wings (and a beer, if you enjoy that type of nectar) and a game on TV – or whatever tickles your fancy.
This one will take some work and practice, but it’s your day – so take it back. I can tell you that once you master it, Sunday will no longer be such a bugaboo.
Take an evening walk.
You may have overdone it with vegging out on the couch watching Netflix or may have filled up your tummy with too much yummy goodness – so moving your body a bit maybe in order to get the blood flowing and muscles moving. Or maybe you spent the day on the go and just need a mental break to decompress.
Walks are amazing for several reasons. After enjoying the day on your terms, finish it off with a 30-minute walk. Doing so will help you to clear your mind and relax and set you up for a better night’s sleep – super important to help you feel more relaxed and free of any stress or tension.
If Sundays have long been a thorn in your side, you deserve to take back the day – it’s yours after all, and, gosh darn it, you’ve earned the precious hours that the day gives you! These are a few simple strategies to help give the Sunday Scaries a swift kick in the ass.
R-E-L-A-X. Your mind and body will thank you.