The Sunday Scaries are so prevalent in our modern working culture that there are CBD shots and gummies named after it. Also known as the Sunday Blues, they are the feeling of dread preceding an unceremonious jump back into Monday after the weekend — and more than 80 percent of workplace professionals experience it.
But what exactly is it that gets us so down? Most psychologists deem it as the anxiety of the anticipation of heading back to work — Mondays mess with our mind; they are another signal reminding us that the fun is over and that another potentially stressful week of full of responsibilities lures in.
Interestingly, the condition is also much more common in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world — a poll by Monster.com found that 76 percent of people in the U.S. report having really bad Sunday night blues compared to only 47 people in other parts of the world. This could be due to the fact that America is known as the most overworked nation in the developed world. A Glassdoor survey even found that the average U.S. employee has only taken about 54 percent of their allotted vacation time in the past year.
And of course, this all takes a toll on our stress hormones. So, Lindsay G. Tulchin, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist in New York City, gives us her take on how to outsmart our pesky hormones and get back to a relaxing Sunday.
“Many people view Sundays as ‘lazy days,’ but that can just lead to feelings of anxiety and dread later in the day since the day can feel wasted,” say Tulchin. “Exercise is key to helping you feel energized and healthy on Sundays. You’ll also get the boost of endorphins to help combat any worries about heading into the week.” Endorphins are the chemical our bodies produce that helps us relieve pain or stress, and also help boost happiness.
Schedule Productive Time
Aside from scheduling time to get physical and stay on track with health and fitness goals, it may help to try to set yourself up for success by tackling your home to-do list. “Doing any errands, meal prep, or laundry so you don’t have all of those hanging over your head during the week,” says Tulchin. “It’s also a nice boost to feel productive.”
Do a Little Self-Reflection
“Ask yourself, ‘What exactly am I worried about regarding the work week?’” says Tulchin. It may be the workload, pressure from a boss or a big meeting coming up. “Look to previous experiences you’ve had coping with these challenges to use as evidence that, one, these things are never as bad as you anticipated and, two, even if it’s uncomfortable, you can get through it. It’s only temporary!”
Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to On Monday
Springboarding into Monday can sometimes feel like pulling teeth if you don’t have anything to look forward to … and then doing it all over again on Tuesday. It helps to break up the monotony of the eight-hour workday by scheduling something in the middle of the day. “Plan to get lunch at your favorite local takeout or plan to grab coffee with a coworker to recap your weekends,” says Tulchin. This will ease the anxiety of jumping straight into your responsibilities.
Schedule Social Events Throughout The Week
It is tempting to relegate all fun social plans outside of work to “next weekend” or Friday, but this usually just ends up having the effect of making the upcoming week feel like an interminable marathon, and the coming weekend already feels like a race. “It’s important that the weekends are not the only time you feel socially connected,” says Tulchin. “If the workweek feels more balanced, then it won’t feel as daunting on Sunday night.”
Spend Time Away From Your Phone and Computer
There is nothing worse than spending a zen Sunday evening only to have it ruined by someone else’s (perceived) more exciting weekend. Plus, numerous studies have come out that explore the negative effect social media has on mental health, such as spurring on feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety. An app like Moment can help you monitor how much time you have spent on social that day and help you block certain apps when you want a break.
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