How to Get Rid of the Sunday Scaries

On Sunday evening, as the weekend winds to a close, do you feel like you feel on any other evening before a work day?  Or, are you filled with dread about the start of another work week? If it's the latter, then you might be dealing with something called the Sunday Scaries.  Fortunately for you, there are simple ways to get rid of the Sunday Scaries.

What are Sunday Scaries?

It's the dread that begins and builds during Sunday and is caused by anticipatory anxiety about the approaching work week.  Despite having a name that sounds like the title of a Scooby Doo cartoon episode, The Sunday Scaries can be a serious problem for some individuals.  It can start at any time on Sunday. Worse yet, it can last through the night and make sleeping difficult.

Everyone faces challenges at work, so some stress is normal and even expected.  But, does your anxiety become intrusive or interfere with your ability to concentrate on your routine activities? Does it deprive you of the joy and relaxation you deserve before starting another busy work week? If so, you're not alone. A recent survey by Linkedin determined that approximately 80% of the workforce experiences some degree of the Sunday Scaries.

What causes the Sunday Scaries?

Everyone who experiences the Sunday Scaries has her own personal reasons.  However, the Linkedin survey grouped the causes into several broad categories.  The leading categories are:

  • Worrying about workload (60%)

  • Balancing professional and personal obligations (44%)

  • Worrying about last week's unfinished tasks  (39%)

What can be done about the Sunday Scaries?

There are many things you can do to alleviate the Sunday Scaries.  What you choose to do depends on the cause and nature of your feeling of dread, as well as the resources you have available to tackle them. The most important guideline for dealing with the Sunday Scaries is to avoid adding stress.  With that in mind, you should look for solutions that reduce the demands on your time and resources, not add to them.

For instance, most experts agree that exercise is a great stress reducer.  However, for some people, finding the time to exercise can add more stress than it eliminates. Fortunately, getting exercise doesn't require overloading your schedule with an hours-long excursion to the gym.  Instead, consider taking a brisk walk, or doing pilates or body-weight exercises at home. Playing catch with your kids in the backyard is a wonderful way to get exercise. It also has the sneaky advantage of spending quality time with your family while maintaining your title as the "World's Greatest Multi-tasker."

You can probably imagine any number of ways to cure the Sunday Scaries.  Just keep in mind that you don't want the cure to become yet another source of anxiety.  So, you might find it helpful to approach the process like "editing" your life. That's because the more effective remedies entail deleting, rearranging or replacing parts of your schedule with activities that are more effective.  Use your experience with problem-solving to decide what works best for you. And, keep it simple: the overarching strategy might look something like this:

  • Identify what causes your negative feelings.

  • Choose a method or activity to correct or mitigate those feelings.

  • Adjust your perspective.  That means realizing that self-care is a priority.

  • Engage in positive, self-affirming feedback.  Positive feedback begins with gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life.

  • Repeat as necessary. 

Putting the weekend back in Sunday

Getting rid of the Sunday Scaries starts with simple time management.  That's because you have a limited amount of time to tackle an unlimited number of tasks, obligations and possibilities.  So, it's up to you to determine your priorities and to focus on the activities that will provide the most value to you and the people you love.  The good news is that you absolutely can do it. In fact, you probably have been doing it all along. So, give yourself credit for being amazing. Then decide which of those activities are absolutely necessary and which can be rescheduled, reduced, eliminated and replaced with something that can help you banish the Sunday Scaries.

Jennifer Silvershein