Take Back Your Weekends: 5 Sure-Fire Methods For Fighting Off The ‘Sunday Scaries’
Nothing ruins your weekend quite like spending the last few hours of it stressing out about the week. Unfortunately, the term "Sunday scaries" isn’t just in jest — according to Monster, 76% of people working in the United States reported feeling super uneasy on Sunday nights. This feeling is caused by our anxiety of looking ahead, mainly due to work-related activities. With so many people having this anxiety, the "Sunday scaries" has actually been addressed by medical professionals.
Dr. Susanne Cooperman, a neuropsychologist and a psychoanalyst at NYU Langone Health, told NBC News that the basis of these "scaries" is anticipation. In short, when we are stressing about the week ahead, our bodies go into "fight or flight" mode, which causes that anxious feeling. But with only two full weekend days, those Sunday night hours are precious things that we don’t want to waste. If you are tired of spending your weekend worrying instead of relaxing and enjoying yourself, here are five ways to fight the "Sunday scaries" and take your weekends back.
Rethink your sleep
You may be tempted to stay up late on Sunday to prolong your weekend, but doing so can be detrimental to your anxiety. Dr. Cooperman explains that a lack of sleep can make your "Sunday scaries" a lot worse. But at the same time, your "scaries" can prevent you from falling asleep when you need to and can cause you to toss and turn all night, making your Monday that much more stressful. She recommends keeping a notebook nearby to write down any of your wandering thoughts — the simple action can stop your mind from running and help you fall asleep.
The best thing you can do for your weekend sleep is to keep it as close to your weekday schedule as possible. Clinical psychologist Dr. Rachel Edelman says that if you normally go to bed around 10 p.m. during the week, you should try to go to bed at that time on the weekends as well, per The Hustle. Of course, you can still go out and enjoy your Saturday night, but try not to make it a habit of staying up super late.
If you scrunch up your nose to the idea of meditating, you have likely never tried it before. Mediating, which has been scientifically proven to be beneficial, isn’t just for hippies-in fact, mediation can make a world of difference not just for your "Sunday scaries," but your overall anxiety as well. Meditating regularly can help your body and help you discover what is really bringing up these scary feelings — whether it’s your workplace or something else — and can help you figure out a way to solve them.
According to Headspace, meditation also helps us stay in the present moment and stop worrying about the future, which is the biggest cause of "Sunday scaries." And the best part of meditation is that it won’t take up your weekend — just 10 minutes a day can improve your sleep, lessen your anxiety, and set you up for a productive week ahead. Once you learn how to effectively meditate, you can take those skills with you, using them in stressful moments that may pop up throughout the week.
Create a Sunday night routine
It may be called the "Sunday scaries," but what most people are actually scared of is Monday. Creating a solid Sunday night routine that you can stick to can change the game and turn those scaries into excitement, or at least indifference, for the week ahead. This routine won’t look the same for everyone so it’s important to learn what activities, or lack-there-of, works for you. Dr. Cooperman recommends light exercise, like a calming yoga class, or a chill night with loved ones (just be sure to skip any alcohol).
Monster career expert Vicki Salemi suggests writing down the positive things that will happen during the week and formally addressing the things that are bringing you stress. Overall, Dr. Edelman recommends keeping a balance throughout your whole weekend by trying to find time to rest, socialize, and practice self-care, whatever that may look like for you. Focusing on yourself and your personal needs outside of the office during the weekend will leave you more refreshed and ready to take on the work week.
Put the screens away
When it comes to bad sleep habits, our phones are one of the biggest culprits. Peter Polos MD, PhD told Healthline that using our screens at night can lead to stress, over-stimulation, and anticipation and can also cause us to have less quality sleep. And while TikTok is currently testing a feature to remind users to log off the app and go to bed, it’s not always that simple.
Dr. Polos encourages those who are having trouble with sleep to put the screens away long before they plan to fall asleep or even get in bed. He recommends reading in dim light or listening to calming music, sans the phone, for a bit before getting into bed and trying to sleep. To take this a step further and address your "Sunday scaries," Dr. Cooperman recommends logging off your phone completely on Sunday in order to avoid any workplace talk, which only adds to our anxiety. At the very least, put your inbox on silent and close out of Slack.
Change your Monday mornings
In order to truly change the way we feel on Sunday, we need to address the real problem: Monday. The Guiness Book of World Records named Monday as the official worst day of the week, so it makes sense that this day is making us feel uneasy. Andrea Petersen, author of "On Edge," her memoir about anxiety struggles, told NBCNews the best thing you can do to set yourself up for a better Monday is to find your people in the office. Whether you work remotely or in person, having coworkers who understand your weekend anxiety, or better yet, relate to it, can make starting the day much easier. Spend a few minutes before diving into your emails catching up with that person, expressing your worries for the week, and airing out any grievances.
Saba Lurie, founder of Take Root Therapy, said that it’s also important to find the positives throughout your day, via The Hustle. If your actual work doesn’t bring any ounce of joy, try to create that joy yourself by holding a standing Monday night dinner with a loved one or friend or treating yourself to your favorite iced coffee on Monday afternoons. Having something to look forward to, no matter how small, can turn around your day and make Monday less daunting.