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Are the Sunday scaries getting you down? A LinkedIn survey found that 80% of us are feeling anxiety or dread on the day before the work week begins.1 The number jumps to 90% for Millennials and Gen Zs. If the idea of Monday is ruining your Sunday, it’s time to tackle the problem. Here are four things you can do to beat the Sunday scaries (and four things to definitely not do!).
What are the Sunday Scaries?
First let’s define the condition. According to Dictionary.com, the Sunday scaries are ‘the anxieties one experiences on Sunday when thinking about the impending workweek, school week, or other obligations that await in the week ahead’.2According to the slightly sassier Urban Dictionary, it’s when you spend your Sunday lying in bed and questioning your entire existence.3 Either way, it’s not good!
How Can I Defeat the Sunday Scaries?
It’s possible that you won’t be able to completely eliminate these feelings of anxiety, but you can cut them down to size. Try these four tips and rescue your Sunday.
Plan Your Week Ahead
Monsters tend to shrink when you look them in the eye, so conquer your fear of the impending work week by facing it head on.
Create a list of the challenges and obligations that await you this week. Sure, it may be a lot, but chances are most of these to-do items are nothing you can’t handle. Once you’re organized, you might find yourself comforted by the clarity.
You can also spend some time on Sunday setting yourself up for success. Perhaps some meal prep will help you feel more in control.
Practice Self Care
The Bangles hit it big in ‘86 with their smash hit ‘Manic Monday’, a Prince-penned song dedicated to the universal truth that Mondays just aren’t the greatest. We’d be wise to remember the second line of the chorus as well: “I wish it were Sunday, that’s my fun day.”
If you’ve gotta work tomorrow, you’d better take the time to show yourself some love today. Prince was so wise.
If you can, take some time to recharge your battery. Do yoga, take a walk, sit on a bench. Even if familial responsibilities make it impossible to chill all day, try to find a moment to practice some self-care.
Spend Time With Loved Ones
Family or friends may be the ticket to calming the anxiety that’s cramping your Sundays. At the very least, they provide a welcome distraction. Bonus points if they sit patiently and nod as you speak your scaries aloud.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
“The only thing to fear is fear itself,” said former US President Franklin Roosevelt. This is not to suggest that the challenges awaiting you aren’t real, but to simply remind you that you survived last week and you’re likely to survive this week too.
Think about something you did well last week, and give yourself a round of applause. You’re gonna do even better this week!
What are the Sunday blues?
A close cousin of the Sunday scaries are the Sunday blues. Whereas the former looks forward in fear of what’s to come, the latter mourns the loss of the weekend and all it had to offer. They’re a formidable tag-team, but they can be vanquished.
What NOT To Do on Sunday
Now that we have four strategies for beating the Sunday blues, let’s look at four more behaviours that should be avoided.
Is there something that has to be done in order for this week to go smoothly? Do it now! You’ll feel better after you chop the veggies and gas up the car.
Just remember: this is your day off! Use Sunday to get your things in order, but don’t spend the day tackling Monday’s work unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Hangxiety is the combination of a hangover and anxiety. Alcohol consumption is an individual choice, but hangovers have been known to transform a run of the mill case of the Sunday scaries into a super-crisis. Drinking excessively on Sunday won’t make things any better either.
Ignore the Problem
Denial won’t help. Allow yourself to feel the Sunday scaries; acknowledge them. Then persevere.
Remember: a worst case scenario is just that, a scenario. Let’s not pretend that nothing will go wrong this week, because there may well be negative experiences ahead. Having said that, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how things actually work out. It’s easy to spiral, but it’s important to root your fears in reality.
Are You Facing Something Worse Than the Sunday Scaries?
The Sunday scaries are normal. With everything the world throws at us, it would be strange if we didn’t feel a bit anxious. But if every Sunday fills you with overwhelming panic, it’s possible you’re dealing with something more. Coping mechanisms are valuable tools, but if you’re in a toxic or abusive work environment, more concrete action may be necessary.
It would be wrong to suggest that the Sunday scaries are baseless. They’re real and warranted. By acknowledging them and following the steps outlined above, we won’t necessarily eliminate them, but we should be more equipped to manage them.
1 “Your Guide to Winning @Work: Decoding the Sunday Scaries.” LinkedIn Official Blog. Accessed May 11, 2023. https://blog.linkedin.com/2018/september/28/your-guide-to-winning-work-decoding-the-sunday-scaries.
2 Lemoine, Alexa. “Sunday Scaries Meaning & Origin.” Dictionary.com, January 19, 2021. https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/sunday-scaries/. 3 “Sunday Scaries.” Urban Dictionary. Accessed May 11, 2023. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Sunday+Scaries.