Say Goodbye To The Sunday Scaries With These Tips

There's nothing quite like having a fantastic weekend. You've probably gone out with friends, dabbled in a drunk brunch or two, and slept in way too late. It was relaxing and stress-free, but just when you're feeling truly at peace, Sunday afternoon creeps in — and as you look at the time, it's getting closer and closer to Monday morning. Then, like clockwork, the anxiety starts pumping through your body. Before you know it, you're suffering from the Sunday Scaries (via The Atlantic).

"I think I would describe [Sunday Scaries] as just this simmering feeling of uneasiness and dread [that comes with] knowing we have to step into a fresh new week on Monday — we have to let go of the freedom of the weekend," Leah Katz, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, tells Shape. "The sad thing about the Sunday Scaries is that it takes away from what we do have. You still have the weekend, you still have this time where you can enjoy yourself, but we're caught up in the future, and that detracts from the ability to enjoy what's right before us."

But the thing with the Sunday Scaries is that once you recognize that it's something that you suffer from every Sunday, you can work to make them less scary and even learn how to manage them.

Figure out what's scaring you

Is it because you dread Mondays? Maybe you don't like your job? Perhaps you strongly believe weekends should be five days and weekdays should be two days? Did you not do something last week that you should have done and you're fearing dealing with it?

As Dr. Vania Manipod, D.O., a board-certified psychiatrist, notes for Self, you should examine your weekend thoughts so you notice any "pattern" that may be present. Only then can you uncover why you have the Sunday Scaries. She cites specific examples of being nervous for upcoming deadlines or meetings to feeling "behind" on certain work tasks. Is this what you're feeling?

If you can address from where the anxiety stems, then you can have better control over how it affects you. No matter what's causing your anxiety — Sunday Scaries or something else — evaluating your thought pattern and identifying the "why" is a good place to start (via Healthline).

Write it all down

One of the best ways to understand where your feelings are coming from, both positive and negative ones, is by writing them down.

"What that looks like is, either in a notebook or preferably for some people in their phone; just empty out all your thoughts," Asha Tarry, L.M.S.W., a psychotherapist, tells Good Housekeeping. "They don't have to be congruent. They don't have to have sentence structure."

You can write about what you enjoyed from the past weekend, what you might be looking forward to in the coming work week (there must be at least one thing in there), what you're anxious about for Monday, and what fun things you plan to do next weekend. There are so many benefits to journaling because of how it positively affects mental health (via The New York Times). Don't worry about spelling or perfect grammar; just let those feelings flow out of you. 

Treat yourself on Monday

If you're sitting around on Sunday consumed by the anxiety and fear of having to go back to work on Monday morning, then give yourself something to look forward to. Whether it be getting up a little early so you can take an extra long shower or bubble bath, making yourself pancakes the night before so you can heat them up in the morning, or really going all out and taking yourself out to a fancy meal during your Monday lunch break, do it (via Cleveland Health).

When we treat ourselves, we activate the reward system in our brain, and the neurons that produce dopamine communicate to us that we're enjoying our reward. In turn, we're motivated because the reward system has been sparked by feel-good hormones (via Brain Facts). Suddenly, you're not fearing the rest of the day, and there may even be a part of you that wants to get some work done. 

Practice mindfulness before bed

If you take an hour or two every Sunday night to relax, like really putting yourself in full relax mode, it can help lower the anxiety, stress, sadness, and fear that come with the Sunday Scaries. But in order for this to work, you need to turn off your brain so the relief you experience is felt deeply without any external forces getting in the way. 

"No matter what you pick, make sure it is relaxing and distracting," Rachel Goldman, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist specializing in stress management, tells Verywell Mind. "You don't want to be in the bathtub and have your mind still at work. Find things that truly relax you and take you out of your work head."

Put those electronics away, focus on your breathing, give ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) a try to help get you in that place, and just let yourself melt into feeling content (via PsychCentral).

Know you're not alone

The term Sunday Scaries exists because it's not only a real thing but also something that many, many people experience. Go ahead and ask anyone you know and they'll be right there with you in those feelings of dread knowing Monday is just hours away (via Today). Even people who love their jobs can suffer from Sunday Scaries — because does anyone out there actually like Mondays?

In addition to not being alone in your fear, you can also take comfort in knowing that it's not actually depression or an anxiety disorder that's causing these feelings. "The Sunday Scaries are fairly common," psychologist Susan Albers, Psy.D., tells Cleveland Health. "Most people have experienced them at one point or another. It's a normal reaction to adjusting to different roles and change. It isn't clinical depression or anxiety when it predictably starts like clockwork on Sunday. This is a huge red flag that these feelings are linked to an external clock versus anything happening internally."

While you may never be able to shake those Sunday Scaries, or at least not until retirement, you can manage them. You don't have to go into panic mode every Sunday. Instead, you can enjoy those final hours relaxing and knowing the weekend is only five days away.