Dreading the start of a new work week? Here are some ideas for keeping the blues at bay.
The 'Sunday Scaries' may not have had a catchy name until social media came along, but they have been around for a long time and they are most definitely real. The 'Scaries' refers to that feeling of anxiety that descends before the start of a new work week. For some people it cripples, for others it gnaws, but it's unpleasant no matter what.
A study conducted by LinkedIn found that 80 percent of professionals say they experience the Sunday Scaries. That number is even higher (90 percent) for Millennials and Generation Z. From the report:
"So what causes the Sunday Scaries? Professionals say worrying about your workload (60 percent), balancing your professional and personal to-do’s (44 percent), and thinking about the tasks you didn't finish last week (39 percent) as the top causes."
If that sounds familiar, it might be time to strategize. Having a plan to tackle the Scaries makes it easier to face the work week with confidence. I reached out to a number of friends to ask for their advice on coping with Monday's imminent arrival. Here's what I learned:
1. Know your triggers.
Different things can intensify the anxiety. Did you have a wild night out on Saturday and are feeling sleep deprived and hung over? Were you away all weekend, with no downtime? Is your house a mess, laundry everywhere, and the fridge empty? Did you overdo the socializing or do you feel isolated? All of these factors can intensify the Scaries. Know what sets you off and make a point of avoiding, or at least minimizing, those situations.
2. Plan out your week.
Sitting down to go over the week's schedule for kid pickups/drop-offs, gym workouts, meal prep, and other activities can make it less daunting. Do this with a partner, if you can. I use a paper planner and love the tangible feel of this ritual. It's good time to track weekly spending, as well. A friend who's a kindergarten teacher and mother of two told me that having a full meal plan for the week makes her feel much better.
3. Keep busy on Sunday.
Think of it as a light chore day, to help keep your household running smoothly and give you a sense of accomplishment. Do laundry, meal prep, cleaning, or gardening. Pack your lunch and bag and choose Monday's outfit. Several people said they like to work out on Sundays or do yoga. Keeping busy will keep you calmer. As one friend put it, she does "anything to distract myself from being still with my thoughts, which is what tends to intensify my anxiety."
4. Relax on Sunday evening.
A lawyer friend said, "I try to watch a comedy or read really light books or other materials." My teacher friend told me, "I try to have some complete downtime where I'm not moving or working. Last night I read and journal in order to relax." Another friend said she takes a hot bath, lights candles, gets her essential oils going, and practices positive self-talk. Personally, I love nothing more than snuggling up with my husband on the couch to watch a movie with a bowl of popcorn and a hot cup of tea. And I always try to go to bed early so the morning isn't too painful.
5. Make Monday something to look forward to.
Is there something you can do every Monday to make it a bit more fun, like giving yourself permission to get a fancy takeout coffee on the way to work or having a favorite breakfast food or planning a regular lunch date with a friend? I like to hit the gym mid-morning after putting in a couple hours of work and sending my kids off to school. In fact, apply this thinking to the entire week. One person told me she makes plans with friends for the week, which gives her something to look forward to. She also sets a mini personal goal each week to get better at something; this week's is to stretch three times. Another friend carves out time for an early morning meditation that helps her to feel energized and motivated.
6. Examine the underlying causes.
If the Sunday Scaries are becoming a huge looming issue in your life, it's time to do some digging. Ask why – is it your role, your employer, your location, your commute, your clients, your work schedule? It's only by identifying these root problems that you'll be able to come up with solutions. A few Sunday Scaries are normal (nobody wants the weekend to end!), but feeling totally overwhelmed by it is no way to live.