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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

5 Ways to Shut Your Sunday Scaries Down for Good

It’s a universal truth that Mondays are the worst.

Okay, maybe it’s not a truth, per se—but the sentiment sure seems universal. The beginning of the work week tends to arrive with anxiety and trepidation and fear. And, unfortunately, that negative anticipation often creeps into our Sundays, too.

But Sunday! One-half of the weekend. 50% of the two days off most of us have to rest, relax, and recharge. A day that really shouldn’t be spent worrying about Monday. So, while you may not have full control over the course of your Mondays, it’s time to take back your Sundays. And we can show you how.

Here are five ways to shut down the Sunday scaries before they sabotage your weekend.

1. Plan Some Fun

Forget the guilt—you can (and should) make Sunday a fun day! Long before the weekend begins, take a moment to proactively schedule a fun activity, whether that’s a long hike, a potluck dinner with friends, or doing some volunteer work. Or, if you’re partial to Sunday being a day of rest and reflection, plan for something more relaxing, like reading a book, writing in your journal, participating in a spiritual observance, or taking a long nap by the pool.

You might even make a ritual of it; plan something that you do every Sunday that makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to be fancy—you could call an old friend to catch up or drink a glass of wine while watching your favorite show on Netflix. What you do doesn’t matter so much as long as it’s something you can enjoy and look forward to. Just make sure you stick to it—no checking email, no rescheduling on yourself, no doing what you think you should do instead.

This all sounds simple, but I promise: By scheduling an event that you’re looking forward to on Sunday, you’ll enjoy the weekend while it lasts, instead of focusing on the fact that it’s nearly over.

2. Move Life Maintenance to Friday

A lot of well-meaning advice tells you to plan for the week on Sunday evenings: Go grocery shopping, straighten up your place, plot your to-do list, pick out your outfits for the week. While this is all well and good, thinking ahead to the coming week—and planning out everything you need to get done during it—can also make you feel like the weekend is over long before it actually is.

It’s no wonder the day can quickly become more resented than relaxing!

So why not move your weekly planning to another day? Instead of mentally checking out a few hours before the weekend, try to spend a few hours on Friday getting ahead on the next week and jotting notes on what you’re going to do when you walk in the door Monday morning. Even getting small chores out of the way—like throwing in a load of laundry before you leave for work one day or picking up your dry cleaning on the way home—can leave your Sunday open so you can actually rest, replenish, and enjoy.

3. Be Here Now

The Sunday scaries stem from anticipating the future, from worrying about what will come in the week ahead—the work we’ll have to do, the conversations we’ll need to have, the tasks (big and small) we’ll need to take care of. And while looking ahead can be useful, it also takes away from the moment we’re in.

When you start to feel those worries creep up, try bringing yourself back to the present. Sunday is still the weekend; it’s still your day off. So allow yourself to be in the moment—whether you are paddle boarding with your partner, playing on a community sports team with friends, or vegging out solo in front of your TV. After all, you have five whole days ahead to be stressed about your week! (Though, may we suggest ways to avoid that, too?)

If you really struggle to stay 100% present, another approach is to focus on the positives in your future or celebrate what you’ve accomplished in the past. What are you looking forward to in the next week? What are you proud of having done the week before? We all have control over how we show up in any given moment, including on Sundays, so it’s worth a try to commit being present, staying positive, and enjoying your full weekend for the reprieve that it is.

4. Make Monday Better

Despite the collective moans heard ’round the world, Mondays don’t have to be horrible. Sure, the start of the week means that our days off are over and that there’s work to be handled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it more palatable (or, dare I say it, even enjoyable)?

You might create a Monday morning routine that lets your weekend vibe creep over into your weekday and lifts your spirits before you head into work—spending time reading your favorite book over a cup of coffee, squeezing in a spin class and a shower, or listening to a motivational playlist of your favorite tunes. You could also try planning small breaks throughout the day, where you leave your desk to go for a walk, treat yourself to something sweet, or meditate for a bit. Or you might try shifting your usual Monday tasks to Tuesday, so you can focus on easing back into the week.

What you do is entirely up to you! Just plan something you’ll actually enjoy doing. If you’re able to actually look forward to this oft-maligned day, you’re less likely to dread the start of the week every Sunday eve.

5. Get a New Job

Okay, this is likely a last resort—and obviously, easier said than done. But the reality is that if you find Sunday nights truly terrifying on a regular basis, then you probably need to find something better to look forward to on Monday mornings. If there aren’t easy ways you can see to make your current job better, it just may be time to find a new office to head into every week.

While no job is perfect and work isn’t always fun, it is possible to do work you enjoy with people who support you. If you have neither of those things, it’s likely time to reevaluate the work that you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. Who knows? Sunday nights might just be the perfect time to start your search for something more inspiring!

We should also note: If your Sunday night blues come with symptoms of anxiety, such as headaches, heart palpitations, and losing sleep—and pop up every week without fail—it’s you may want to find a professional coach or mental health professional to talk to.

Yes, Mondays can be rough. But Sundays don’t have to be so scary, filled with dread and anticipation of yet another work week ahead. With a little perception, planning, and presence, you can enjoy your entire weekend—and the week ahead—from now on.

Photo of woman waking up courtesy of Images.