Time to read: 5 mins
Overcoming the Sunday Scaries Summary:
- The Sunday Scaries are a real thing; psychologically referred to as anticipatory anxiety.
- Work is the main source of the Sunday Scaries. Companies are working towards more initiatives around workplace mental health.
- Tips to strengthen the ability to control your mind and thoughts and reframe your mindset around Sundays.
Ah, the Sunday Scaries. We know them all too well. You can have the most fruitful weekend, but at some point on Sunday, the proverbial clouds roll on. The to-do list of the week starts to inhibit your every thought. Or maybe you do not have to-do list and that is what is stressing you out. Maybe you have something specific taking place that has been on your mind.
Whatever the case may be, many of us (if not all) have been there. It is a natural thing to worry, but this weekly worry is exhausting. What’s the deal? How serious are the Sunday Scaries? Is there anything you can do to combat them? Keep reading as we dive more into truly understanding this phenomenon.
The Realness of the Sunday Scaries
It turns out, the Sunday Scaries are a real thing; there is even a psychological term for the Sunday Scaries. The Sunday Scaries (or Sunday Blues, Sunday Anxiety) is a type of anticipatory anxiety. Anticipatory anxiety is described as the fear or worry about the future, and about things that could happen. One who experiences anticipatory anxiety gets hooked on things outside of their control or things they cannot predict. This type of anxiety can last as short as hours before an event or months leading up to an event. That can be exhausting. With that, anticipatory anxiety is not a mental disorder in and of itself, but a part of broader anxiety-related disorders.
Work tends the to be the main source of Sunday night anxiety. The workforce has a never-ending to to-do list and productivity is constantly inspected. Fortunately, employers are taking note of the effects of employee stress and wellbeing in the workplace and putting initiatives in place to put emphasis on the importance of workplace mental health. Employers are embracing all ranges of employee mental support from as simple as open-door policy to more involved initiatives, such as four-day work weeks.
Employers are taking note.
Scare Away Sunday Anxiety
Here are ways to strengthen the mind and rework how your brain approaches Sundays:
If the thought of meditation is overwhelming, you are not alone. Many people think of meditation as sitting silently for crazy amounts of time. However, meditation does not have to be an all or nothing approach. Meditation is the act of taking charge of your mind to focus your attention; that will look different for everyone. Two minutes of quiet and focused breathing may be all you need to reset. Some people might use music to control their thoughts because the quiet is counterproductive. A moment of meditation can look like a mindful moment as you make your way through your day (think about catching a really spectacular sunset).
Our minds will always think. Meditation is there to practice mindfulness and help build the ability to control thoughts, more specifically the intrusive thoughts. Work your way to what works for you. As with anything, the more you do it, and consistently, the easier it will be. And remember: something is better than nothing.
We live in a world where the more we do, the more productive we are, and the more productive we are, the better we think we will feel. There is, of course, something to be said about crossing items off a to-do list. However, achieving a completed to-do list often leads to multitasking, which is actually not achievable. You may think you are “multitasking,” but really your brain is simply shifting focus between tasks quickly to keep up. To not multitask is to approach each task with mindfulness. This, much like meditation, will help build focus and clear the mind.
A strengthened mind has the ability to reframe your entire mindset around something. Sundays are associated with the ending of the weekend, the ending of your guaranteed time off before starting the hustle again. What if Sundays became your new favorite day because of how you spent them? This is where self-care comes in. Think about something enjoyable you can do on Sundays or what you can do to positively prepare yourself for the week. Working self-care activities into the end of your weekend will help reframe the way you think about Sundays and give you something to look forward to. Think about it like this, “On Sunday, I get to _______.”
A physiological and necessary play. Sleep is underrated, especially as a remedy for mental health. Sleep is vital for all systems in your body. A good night’s rest not only restores the bodily systems, it resets the brain. A reset of the brain is needed to strengthen the mind. Matt Walker puts it eloquently in his TED Talk, Sleep is your Superpower, “sleep is Mother Nature’s greatest effort to immortality.”
In a society where getting the most done is imperative, resting little or forgoing sleep altogether is seen as a badge of honor. In another TED Talk from Russell Foster, Why Do We Sleep, he makes a great comparison between sleep and flying, “I think that sleep was once likened to an upgrade from economy to business class, you know, the equivalent of. It’s not even an upgrade from economy to first class. The critical thing to realize is that if you don’t sleep, you don’t fly.” Read that last part again, ‘you don’t fly.”
You are not alone in dealing with Sunday night anxiety, and it is a very real thing. There are ways to combat the Sunday Scaries, which takes a lot of mind work. This might feel daunting at first, but will pay off in the long run. The workplace has become the main source of anxiety for most but has also taken note. Many companies are implementing policies and new ways of working as people’s priorities shift to achieving the ultimate work-life-balance.
Don’t forget to sleep!