You know that feeling you get on Friday afternoons? You’ve wrapped up your work for the week, shut down your computer, and waved goodbye to your cubicle—and you have a whole 48 hours of freedom at your fingertips. TGIF!

And then Sunday afternoon rolls around and you’re overcome with a sinking feeling in your stomach. You can’t stop thinking about—and dreading—the inevitable alarm that will go off tomorrow morning, beckoning you to the office once again. And that makes it pretty hard to enjoy what’s left of your day off. Ah, yes: the Sunday blues.

It can certainly be hard to watch your last few hours of the weekend fade away, but it’s possible to kick the sadness—and even look forward to the week ahead. So if you’re feeling down as Monday morning draws near, here are a few tips to make sure the Sunday blues don’t cut your weekend short.

1. Get The “Life Stuff” Out of the Way

In my book, Saturdays were meant for fun and Sundays were meant for laundry, cleaning the bathroom, and grocery shopping—until I realized that mindset was backfiring on me every weekend. Instead of enjoying my last few hours of freedom, I spent them scrubbing a bathtub. Not exactly thrilling.

While the weekends are obviously a very convenient time to get those less-than-exciting (but necessary) tasks out of the way, saving them until Sunday afternoon won’t do much to cure the blues.

So, try to leave some time for yourself at the end of the weekend. Whether that means putting together a schedule to disperse your cleaning and errands throughout the week or just getting them done Saturday morning, they’ll be out of the way as you wind down your weekend—which will free up your time to do something a little more exciting.

2. Take a Break From Technology

Social media can lure you in on any day of the week, but it tends to be especially tempting on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. But when you’re caught up in your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds, hours can slip by pretty easily—and all of a sudden, it’s 9 PM and all you’ve done is pinned recipes you wish you’d made and read about how exciting everyone else’s weekends were.

You may not be able (or willing) to disconnect completely, but putting away your cell phone and laptop and taking a few hours to separate yourself from technology can have a big impact on your mood as you wind down the weekend. Instead of comparing your days off to your friends’ (“I can’t believe Shannon got tickets to that concert last night!”), you can spend that time doing something to enhance your own weekend (like testing out those pins you’ve never had time to try).

 

3. Plan Something to Look Forward To

Part of the Sunday blues stems from the idea that you have to save fun activities for the weekends, while weekdays are reserved for work. But by that logic, once your Sunday ends, you have nothing to look forward to until the next weekend starts—and that can make for a long five days at the office.

Instead of letting your weekend end abruptly on Sunday night, give yourself something to look forward to early in the week. Maybe you plan dinner with friends on Monday night or a coffee date on Tuesday morning—or maybe, you even take on a longer-term mid-week activity, like a Wednesday night dinner club or bowling league. When you have something to look forward to, you’ll find that ending the weekend isn’t quite so hard.

 

4. Enjoy the Hours You Have

Sunday may be the day of rest, but sleeping in until noon or taking what should be a satisfying Sunday afternoon nap could actually have the opposite affect on your mood. It might seem like a relaxing weekend tradition, but taking away those hours from your day can make your weekend seem a lot shorter than it is—which will make the work week come that much quicker.

As painful as an alarm clock may be on a weekend morning, try getting up on a schedule. You’ll allow yourself some extra hours to attack chores and errands, leaving you with plenty of time to truly enjoy the time you have left.

 

5. Prepare for Monday—on Friday

When 4 PM on Friday rolls around, it’s hard to think about anything besides getting your weekend started—even if that means putting off a few emails, phone calls, and that report that’s due at 9:30 AM on Monday.

And now, on Sunday afternoon, reality is setting in: Everything you put off last week will be waiting when you return to your cubicle Monday morning. Who wouldn’t dread that welcome back?

To head off your Sunday blues, start preparing for your Monday morning on Friday. I know it’s easy to put off a few tasks when you have the weekend in your sights—but think about how much better it will feel when you arrive Monday morning and have no pressing tasks on your plate. So clean out your inbox, make any urgent calls, and tie up your loose ends before you leave the office on Friday. (Your relaxed, Sunday-afternoon self will thank you!)

Waving goodbye to your weekend may never be something you look forward to, but it doesn’t have to be a complete drag. By freeing up some extra time and taking full advantage of your weekend, you can cure your Sunday blues—and maybe even look forward to the week ahead.

Photo of sad man courtesy of Shutterstock.