If you have ever had that sinking feeling in your stomach as the weekend comes to an end, and you are worried about the working week ahead – you aren’t alone. Many of us struggle with feelings of anxiety and a general sense of dread on a Sunday evening. In fact, there’s even an entire podcast and CBD company dedicated to alleviating the gut-wrenching, Sunday-night-specific fear. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stress has been classified as the health epidemic of the 21st century. A report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) revealed that 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful and 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. For most of usa two-day weekend is simply not enough to recover from a long working week, so here are ways you can beat those Sunday scaries.
Ask and answer those tricky questions to make changes
If it is work that is making you feel low on a Sunday, it might be time to review your current situation to figure out the root of the problem. Ask yourself what it is you’re dreading so much about the working week. Are you taking on too much work? Is there a particular colleague you are not keen to work with? Once you find the answers to those questions, it’s time to think about what changes do you need to make so that your working week is actually something you look forward to. It may mean having a chat with your boss or creating a better structure in your working week.
Plan something fun mid-week
Fun activities shouldn’t just be reserved for the weekend – planning a mid-week treat can help break up the boredom of work. Try to add in something fun during the week like a catching up with a friend over dinner, or getting your nails done on your lunch break to break up the week. Or how about changing your routine. Find a new route to work, eat at a new café for lunch or exercise in the park rather than the gym one night a week. Breaking up the monotony of daily life will add a bit of spice into your work week.
Make Sunday fun
Sundays don’t just have to be about preparing for work the next day and doing your laundry. Try planning a fun distraction or activity to keep your focus on something positive on a Sunday to help tackle the dread.
Stay in the moment
Spending too much time planning, problem-solving, or thinking negative on a Sunday can be draining. Sunday scaries are usually about projecting ahead, which means we aren’t enjoying our weekend because we’re busy worrying about what’s ahead. Mindfulness, and being aware of your surroundings, can help you stay in the moment and improve your mental wellbeing during your Sunday off. Here are some examples of meditation exercises from Mayo Clinic that can help prepare you for a successful workweek, so you worry less on a Sunday. These easy mindfulness exercises can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
- Do a body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body.
- Practice a sitting meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt you, take note of them and then return your focus to your breath.
- Go on a walking meditation. Find a quiet place (preferably outside in nature) and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. Feel the ground beneath you and focus on being in the present moment.
- Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. Find joy in simple pleasures.
Disconnect from email and leave work at work!
Block out Sunday to be a ‘no work day’ if you can. Just because your boss is on email doesn’t mean you have to be. Create a precedent where you check email during the week and weekends are for personal activities. Even better would be to have a break from technology all together on a Sunday evening. All week you are staring at a computer or your phone and you need time away from your tweeting, e-mailing and scrolling though social media to fully feel restored and relaxed. Feeling blue on Sundays is often related to a feeling of being overworked, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to stay away from technology, really allow yourself to relax and be present with your day. If you can take time to recharge on the weekend, your Monday morning at work will be that much more productive.
Have a good morning routine on a Monday
If there’s ever a day to treat yourself to a more elaborate breakfast, Monday is the day. Use Mondays as the day of the week to treat yourself to a nice morning treat, that way you will be more positive thinking of what lays ahead as you lay in bed on a Sunday evening.
Consider a new career or job opportunity
If the Sunday blues are really extreme and nothing you do can curb them, it might be the tell-tale sign that it is time for a change of job. It might be time for a career change to a job that you really enjoy. Start by examining why you are experiencing that dread. Make a list of the things that may be triggering your Sunday sadness. Once you get to the root of your distress, you can do something about it.
Whether you change your mindset or your career, it is possible to look forward to Mondays and beat those Sunday scaries once and for all!