Whether you’ve heard the term “Sunday Scaries” before or not, we’ve all felt it – that sinking feeling of mild depression and sometimes even dread that creeps in when the weekend is over and we realize it’s back to business as usual come Monday. Sunday Scaries, of course, don’t just happen to those who work traditional Monday through Friday jobs – it’s a safe bet to say that 99% of the working population has felt a bit sad at the thought of returning to work, regardless of what day that might fall on. Even if your weekends aren’t necessarily fun-filled and fancy-free, even when you love your job with a passion, it’s natural to feel a little bummed out when our brief break from work has passed.
Short of quitting your job and never working again, there’s not much you can do to change the fact that you’ll have to return to work at some point – but you can make life a little easier on yourself come Monday morning. If you’re tired of the never-ending cycle of the Sunday Scaries, try engaging in these four activities.
1. Do something you enjoy
This might seem like a no-brainer, but don’t let the Sunday Scaries keep you from enjoying the last day of your weekend! Most people only get two days off in a standard week, and it would be a shame to let day two go to waste. Go out and get brunch with a friend (go easy on the bottomless mimosas), attend a yoga class, or simply curl up in a comfy chair and read a few chapters of that new book you’ve been meaning to crack open. It doesn’t have to be a boisterous activity – just something that takes your mind off work and brings you joy. If you’re required to work for any period of time on Sunday, consider partaking in your fun activity after you’ve completed your work for the day as a reward.
2. Get outside, even if only for ten minutes
A study published by the American Psychological Association (as well as many others) reveals that spending time in nature – even in urban environments – has an amazing effect on the psyche. From boosting mood to improving attention to reducing stress, the physical and psychological benefits of getting some fresh air every day are well-documented. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have access to wide-open green spaces, but even a quick jaunt around the block can be enough to turn around a negative headspace. Consider taking a hike if you live near a trail system – or enjoying a picnic with your loved ones in a city park. Heck, just sitting on an outdoor patio, people-watching, and enjoying a glass of wine can be enough to improve your attitude!
3. Set up a designated time to work
Some jobs require employees to do some work on Sundays, and some people just like to take the time on Sunday to ensure that everything is in order for the week ahead. Whatever the case may be, setting up a short period of time to work on Sunday can be a great way to negate anxiety and clear up some business before your alarm goes off on Monday morning. Set a timer for five minutes, twenty, an hour, or any amount of time you like, and use that time to respond to urgent emails, clear out spam from your inbox, or complete a task that you usually do on Monday mornings – what you do is up to you. Try not to work past the time you’ve allotted for the tasks you intend to complete, and take the rest of the day to relax and enjoy the remainder of your weekend.
4. Do something non-work related to prepare for the week ahead
It’s easy to let household tasks slip over the weekend when your regular workday routine is disrupted. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, if chores start piling up, you’ll have a lot more to tackle during the week, when you may not have the free time to wash clothes, clean dishes, or run to the store during the day. If you find yourself overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, organizing, and other household tasks during the week, start knocking them out on Sunday. This can mean anything: meal-prepping to encourage healthy eating, helping your kids with homework, scrubbing your bathroom, you name it. You may want to consider making this a timed activity as suggested in number three above – you might find you’re more likely to fold your laundry if you know you’ve only committed to doing it for fifteen minutes.
Does all that sound like a lot? Keep in mind that some of these activities can be combined (e.g., doing something you enjoy might also involve spending time outside); and all of them can be completed in thirty minutes or less. The Sunday Scaries happen to the best of us from time to time, but by taking the time to do something fun, get outside, knock out some work (even for five minutes), and tackle some household tasks on Sunday, you’ll find yourself a lot more relaxed – and dare we say, excited?! – about the week ahead. If, however, you find yourself with a feverish case of the Sunday Scaries each and every week, it’s likely a sign to start exploring new career opportunities. Experiencing existential dread every Sunday isn’t good for your mental health – and if you love what you do, this won’t be the case!