The Sunday Scaries – we all dread them. This is a term that has become popular in recent years to refer to the intense anxiety and dread we feel before heading into the workweek. Typically this feeling starts to settle in on Sunday afternoon and evening. According to this article in Better by Today, up to 76% of Americans self-reported having “really” bad Sunday night anxiety, compared to 47% of people around the world. The Sunday Scaries are not stress in the moment, but anticipatory anxiety for what is ahead triggering a fight or flight response.
In my case of ulcerative colitis, I have noticed a direct correlation with stress and my symptoms. I know this is also the case with many other IBD patients. Typically, when I know I have long days ahead of me, my stomach will start doing flips which is hard to control once it happens. I also never feel like the weekend is long enough for me to get everything I want done. In this blog post, I will go over a few tips for combating the Sunday Scaries.
1. Reward yourself on Monday morning.
Just like we may use with our pets or children, a reward system works really well for adults too. Try to plan something that you will look forward to solely on Monday mornings. Something like stopping to get a cup of coffee before work or doing fifteen minutes of yoga instead of phone time can help break up the monotonous routine of the week. When you plan something that you love for Mondays only, it may lighten the amount of anxiety you feel on Sunday nights.
2. Don’t schedule important meetings for Monday morning.
Scheduling a big meeting for Monday morning will only add to your stress load over the weekend, especially if you left work on Friday not feeling prepared enough. I personally would love to opt for a four-day workweek because the weekends never feel long enough. If you work full-time, you know how hard it is to get errands done during the week. Then your weekend is taken up by errands, laundry and cleaning when you would rather be relaxing or spending quality time with family. I try to get all my errands done on one day and save the other day for me time.
3. Create a wind-down routine.
On Sunday nights, it is important to unplug from your electronic devices and take some time for yourself. My night-time routine consists of reading for about thirty minutes, turning on my white noise machine, putting on lavender essential oils and praying. I always try to get my mind in the right space so I enter the week on a high note, instead of dreading it. I also suggest staying off your phone for about an hour after waking up and replacing it with a mindfulness exercise. This is a tip that I really loved from the article in Better by Today.
4. Focus on the present.
I struggle with this one because I consider myself a planner. I love to have my days planned out and I keep a mental checklist of what I need to get done. I have found that living in the present moment gets rid of all my anxiety. It does not serve us well to constantly worry about the future when it is something we cannot fully control. When we let go of full control, we are choosing to be vulnerable which allows for growth. This is another great tip that I admired from the article in Better by Today.
I recently downloaded a free app called Insight Timer that has guided meditations, yoga lessons, podcasts, and calming music. I use this app during the day if I start to feel my fight or flight response kicking in. This past week, I went for a walk during my workday and listened to one of the podcasts on happiness and it lifted my spirits. Other apps like this are Calm and Headspace.
I hope some of you will consider creating a new Sunday routine that lessens your workweek anxiety. I have attempted to take up hobbies that calm me down and bring me joy, like cooking. Something about cooking a delicious, healthy meal is so satisfying and helps me get my mind off things. Even breaking away from my computer during the day to go for a walk has proved to be super helpful. The Sunday Scaries may not be totally eradicated, but they can be managed with an improved attitude and routine.
What do you do to combat workweek anxiety on Sunday evenings?