Do your blissful Sunday mornings turn into anxious Sunday afternoons? Guess what! You’re not the only one.
Many people struggle with feelings of anxiety, low mood and a general sense of dread as the weekend comes to an end – known as the ‘Sunday night blues’ or ‘Sunday scaries’. Instead of relaxing and relishing that time with our family and friends, we’re just feeling the impending doom of the workweek to come.
As a kid, I absolutely hated Sundays. Even after the best of weekends, there was a cloud that descended on Sunday afternoons. The thoughts that these were the last hours of “freedom” and that the whole week was ahead – along with challenging school work, long-hour study and assignments – were racing through my head, ruining my Sunday evenings.
As an adult, I’ve learned how to manage my stress and enjoy my time off work, however that Sunday sadness has not completely disappeared. I still feel it; that old familiar anxiety and dread about the workweek to come. And the school related anxiety has now been replaced by thoughts like “what time should I get up tomorrow”, “what meetings do I have” and “what deliverables do I owe my boss.”
What are the Sunday night blues?
The Sunday Night Blues is this feeling of dread, anxiety, and sadness that comes over us on Sunday afternoon or evening. Feeling depressed at the thought of the week ahead is a form of anticipatory anxiety that affects our body both physically and mentally.
Psychologists tend to classify it as “situational depression”, or a depression that happens as a reaction to our circumstances and goes away when the circumstances do.
According to a 2018 LinkedIn research, 80% of professionals experience the Sunday night blues, with over 90% of Millennials and Generation Z reporting they feel it.
So what causes the Sunday night blues? Professionals say worrying about your workload (60%), balancing your professional and personal to-do’s (44%), and thinking about the tasks you didn’t finish last week (39%) are the top causes.
5 tips to deal with Sunday night blues
The good news is that there are some simple ways to deal with the Sunday Night Blues. Here are five strategies that will help you beat that Sunday evening sadness so you can truly enjoy your weekend time.
1. Make your plan for the week ahead
Try planning your week in advance. One of the reasons you feel anxious on Sunday is that your head is swirling with tasks for the upcoming week. Spare yourself this stress by ending your workweek with a plan. Spend some time on Friday afternoon to schedule your work and set deadlines for the week ahead. Clean out your inbox so you can start fresh on Monday. Flag any emails that need attention. By organizing your tasks and preparing your to-do list, it will help you truly relax on the weekend.
2. Stop checking your work email
Just because your manager or colleagues keep sending emails during the weekend doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Separating your personal and professional life is vital in keeping yourself from suffering burnout. So, try not to check your work emails during the weekend. Set boundaries and stick to them. If you can take time to recharge on the weekend, your Monday morning at work will be that much more productive.
3. Get your chores out of the way
Typically we schedule fun stuff on Saturday, obligations on Sunday. This only reinforces the Sunday night blues. Instead, do your chores early in the weekend instead of leaving them for later. Your naturally higher mood on Saturday will make it easier to get through your weekly to-do list, whether that’s shopping, cooking for the week, or doing the cleaning.
4. Make Sunday Funday plans
Doing nothing is not exactly the best medicine for relieving the Sunday night blues. Plan something fun for Sunday night so you have something to look forward to. Watch a movie, plan to cook a fancy dinner, invite your friends for a weekly pizza catch up or go for a walk with an ex colleague that you haven’t seen for a while. Socializing and doing things you love will definitely lift your spirits ahead of the new week.
5. Consider changing your job or career
If you experience an extreme case of the Sunday night blues, maybe it’s a sign that you need to change your job or even your career. Take a closer look at exactly what’s bothering you and why you feel so depressed that you will be going to the office on Monday morning. Do you feel stuck in your job? Are you overwhelmed by your workload? Do you find it hard to communicate with your boss? Make a list of the things that may be triggering your sadness. Once you get to the root of your distress, you can do something about it.