Tips to Live By

4 Things to Try When the Sunday Scaries Hit

Feb. 9, 2021 - Katie McCallum

In the grand scheme of achieving work-life balance, weekends can feel like your biggest ally.

Friday nights are for fun. Saturdays are for whatever you need them to be. And Sundays are for...Boo! Here comes Monday!

Welcome to the Sunday Scaries.

As your free time dwindles away hour by hour, maybe your Sunday Scaries are feelings of regret over how your weekend played out. Was I productive enough? Did I get enough "me" time? Why did I stay up so late on Friday night? Should I have relaxed more?

Or, as you anticipate the looming stress or grind of the upcoming workweek, maybe your Sunday Scaries are more future-focused: How many emails am I going to wake up to tomorrow? What if I get even further behind this week? Will things be as hectic as last week? Do I even have energy for five days of this?

According to a study by LinkedIn, at least 80% of us experience the Sunday Scaries. Yikes.

So regardless of whether they're actually real or just a figment of our collective imaginations, here's what we do know: We've named them. A lot of us deal with them. Now, what can we do about them?

Get to the root of your scaries

The Sunday Scaries may seem harmless, but fixating on a recent regretful past or an anxiety-inducing future takes you out of the present moment and away from the things you're able to enjoy right here, right now.

It can be hard to identify why exactly we're feeling the way we're feeling while wandering the mental fog of the Sunday Scaries. But, pinpointing the reason for these underlying feelings is an important first step in overcoming them.

For instance, if you're feeling regret over taking it too easy this weekend, ask yourself what you wish you would've accomplished instead of fixating on what you didn't. Make a list, and use this list next weekend to help sidestep a Sunday Scaries repeat.

If you're feeling anxiety around the busy workweek that's approaching, consider using your Friday afternoons to make an action plan for the upcoming week. Writing down what you need to do and how you plan to do it may help provide a sense of calm if you find your mind wandering towards work on Sunday.

Stay present by unplugging

Leaving the stress of the workweek behind has always been hard. In the fast-paced, digital world we live in today, unplugging from work can be even harder.

For example, you might be tempted to check your email throughout the weekend under the guise of wanting to feel more prepared for Monday. But peeking at your email can easily turn into peek-a-boo(!), taking your mind off the present and plunging it straight into the stress of a Monday morning that hasn't even happened yet.

Our personal smartphones have become an extension of our work laptops these days, but really try to resist the urge to use your phone to "work" over the weekend by:

  • Setting boundaries around your work hours
  • Turning off notifications for work email or messaging apps
  • Avoiding the urge to check your email

Lastly, taking a digital detox is important now and then — even if all you plan to do is relax. Consider scheduling time to set your phone aside and focus solely on whatever it is you either want to do or need to do — and nothing else.

Bring back Sunday Funday

After a long workweek, it's easy to put off laundry, errands and other weekend chores as long as possible — aka until Sunday. But this tendency could be making Sundays more stressful than fun, which might pile onto the stress you feel about the looming workweek.

Now and then, make it your goal to complete your chores and errands early in the weekend so that Sunday can truly be your day of rest.

And with the extra free time, you can bring Sunday Funday back by:

  • Making time for a hobby
  • Having brunch with your friends (even if it's just a virtual one for now)
  • Ordering your favorite takeout for dinner
  • Taking a walk or spending time outdoors
  • Treating yourself to something special, like a relaxing bath or a game of golf

Reframe your mindset about your work

I'd wager to bet that we all agree on the following: The workweek grind can be stressful, and weekends almost always feel too short — regardless of whether we love our job or hate it.

Once you accept this to be true, you may find it easier to shift your forward-thinking mindset into one that places a heavier emphasis on the good things than the stressful stuff.

Focusing on the positive aspects of your job might look like:

  • Rewarding yourself for your recent work accomplishments
  • Looking forward to collaborating with coworkers and learning from mentors
  • Recognizing that your work makes a difference in someone's life
  • Reminding yourself that your hard work has built the life you enjoy 
Categories: Tips to Live By
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