Health & Wellbeing
JAM | May 7, 2023

Five ways to beat the ‘Sunday Scaries’

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 5 minutes

‘Sunday scaries’ are not as frightening as the name sounds. Sunday scaries are an experience that most of us go through on Sundays as we face the start of a new work week.

Despite its name, the ‘Sunday Scaries’ can pop up on any day of the week, depending on your schedule. If you work or go to school Tuesdays through Saturdays, for example, the ‘scaries’ might show up on Monday night. However, we will focus on Sundays.

Sunday ‘scaries’ are often identified as forms of anticipatory anxiety which involves nervousness and dread about something that hasn’t happened yet. In many cases, it is about the work week ahead. They trigger a feeling of doom that shows up the evening before another week begins and can make you miserable, anxious, and can suck the fun out of your remaining down time.

As the minutes pass on Sunday afternoon, you may notice some anxiety symptoms building up. These may include stomach issues, restlessness, irritability, or a vague sense of unease.

Those are fairly common feelings and you should know that most people experience them. You should also know, however, that you do not have to sit and wallow in despair as the new week approaches. There is a way to manage those feelings to put you in a better position for Monday morning.

As such, here are a few tips you may use to combat those ‘scaries’.

Five tips to beat the ‘Sunday Scaries

Finish your tasks

Start before Sunday! One of the most effective ways of getting rid of the ‘scaries’ is to prevent them from happening to begin with. This means trying to finish any tasks you need to do before the weekend even starts instead of leaving it until Monday morning.

When you know you have unfinished business to deal with on Monday, it may have a number of effects on you, including ruining your night’s sleep and making you more anxious on Sunday. It may even affect your next week by making you more likely to experience burnout. It’s why starting the week with a clean slate is crucial.

However, we live in a dynamic world and ideal scenarios are not always possible. So, sometimes, your unfinished tasks at the end of Friday should remain undone until you get back to work on Monday. As tempting as it may be, leave the work at work until you get back.

Create a relaxing Sunday

Since the ‘Sunday scaries’ often lead to increased stress, one of the best ways to combat them is by prioritising an otherwise stress-free Sunday day and night. Even though it’s tempting, try not to push all of your weekend responsibilities, like household chores or grocery shopping, to Sunday. Instead, knock out your essential weekend to-dos on Friday evening or even on Saturday to give yourself space to breathe and relax on Sunday.

You could also incorporate a relaxing routine into your Sunday night. Creating a routine will help you wind down, reducing the stress you’d otherwise feel about the upcoming week. Additionally, creating a relaxing routine you enjoy gives you something to look forward to on Sunday night. This may help you to reduce your anxiety around to the end of the weekend.

You should also try adding stress-management techniques to your routine, like reading a book before bed, taking a warm bath, or meditating.

Prioritise your work-life balance

While making time for yourself is an important part of developing a successful work-life balance, it will take more than a few bubble baths. Prioritising your work-life balance is key to curbing the ‘Sunday scaries’.

Truly prioritising your work-life balance means reframing how you think about work and what’s required to succeed. Believe it or not, burnout is not an inevitable part of success.

While these feelings are understandable, the inability to set and stick to boundaries in the workplace erodes your well-being, impacting both you and your organisation. If you are struggling with your work-life balance, the first thing to do is communicate your needs by talking to your manager about how you feel. Afterwards, use strategies to achieve a healthier work-life balance. These could include:

  • Setting clear boundaries around when at work
  • Reducing the amount of work activities you do outside the office
  • Learning how to say no if you are overscheduled
  • Practice efficient time management and set distractions aside

Set an intention and plan out your work week

One root cause of the ‘Sunday scaries’ is feeling overwhelmed or unprepared for the week ahead. Perhaps you have looming deadlines that you are struggling to meet, or you have an upcoming presentation that you don’t feel ready to present. Creating a weekly work plan can help.

Creating a practical intention on Sundays for the upcoming week can help you to navigate workplace stressors more effectively. Doing so helps to make a commitment to yourself for your own sake.

Such a plan breaks down and organises your weekly tasks into a manageable overview. This way, you can see what you need to do and by when. Weekly work plans also allow you to prioritise tasks and set due dates, giving you visibility into your upcoming week. Since weekly work plans help you break down large tasks into smaller to-dos and give you a view of your week at a glance, they are perfect for balancing your workload. A balanced workload usually means less stress during the week and less anxiety on Sunday.

Create a Sunday night routine

It is simple but sometimes difficult to achieve. Connect this tip with prioritising a good work-life balance and creating a relaxing Sunday, or any day of the week, for that matter. Sleep is essential and if you miss out on it, your focus and concentration become skewed. You may also become more irritable and easily frustrated. A routine will give you something to look forward to and ease the transition.

Give yourself enough sleep time and create an environment that facilitates good sleep.

Hopefully these tips will help to reduce the levels of your ‘Sunday Scaries’. Have a great work week ahead!

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