Do you ever find yourself kicking your feet up and relaxing on a Sunday afternoon only to suddenly be hit with a serious sense of dread about the week ahead? You may have a case of the “Sunday Scaries.” Don’t let the cutesy name fool you — while experiencing this type of anxiety is totally normal, it can really take a toll on our mental health.
For many, the transition from a leisurely weekend to a regimented work week full of deadlines or other stressors can be a tough one. Knowing that a week of juggling appointments, deadlines, and general “adulting” lies ahead can send our minds spinning. And when we find ourselves stuck in negative anticipation of the days ahead, it can keep us from being present and enjoying the down time that we deserve.
So the next time you get tight in the chest thinking about the week ahead, try these remedies for the Sunday Scaries and set yourself up for a wonderful week ahead.
- Reassure yourself. We often underestimate our ability to cope with what’s ahead, letting fear and dread run the show. But the reality is that you’ve handled busy, demanding tough weeks before and you can do it again. Maybe you can even adapt a simple, calming mantra like, “I am capable and everything is okay” or “ I deserve to be at peace. It will all get done.” Try offering up a little self-compassion, reassuring yourself like you would a dear friend.
- Set up a self-care plan. Weekdays can be so crammed with meetings, chores, caregiving, and other obligations that we can forget to take care of ourselves. What are some of the things that you need to help you feel your best? Is it some form of movement, time to cook nourishing meals, or just a moment to do nothing and relax?
Map out a schedule of how and when you are going to take care of yourself and if you find that your calendar is too packed, look for opportunities to ask for support. Can you tell your boss that you can’t stay late at the office (again) or can you ask someone in your household to handle grocery shopping? Try taking little things off of your plate so you’re not completely tapped out by the time Friday rolls around.
- Avoid your inbox. Nothing will make your anxiety go through the roof faster than scrolling through a full email inbox on Sunday night. The meeting reminders, project requests, or anything else that has trickled in over the weekend can make the week ahead seem daunting. So, if you can, try maintaining good-for-you work/life boundaries knowing you can tackle it with a clear mind on Monday.
- Have a vent session. Sometimes we just need to get it all out. If you know you typically feel anxious on Sunday evenings, try scheduling a call or a walk with a loved one. It can be helpful to get an outside perspective and it can make us feel less alone to hear about another person’s experience. If that doesn’t work for you, grab a journal (or tap into this tool) to write down everything that is weighing on you. You can also head into our Work Stress Community to commiserate. And if your anxiety feels like too much to navigate on your own, know that you can always reach out for support from a mental health professional.
- Establish a Sunday evening routine. What helps you to calm down? Maybe it’s doing a quick meditation (here’s a good one to try), taking a warm bath, getting out in nature, or reading a feel-good book. Take time and space to do something that chills you out around the time your anxiety begins to creep in. Relaxing your body and mind will help you to get better sleep — ensuring you feel energized and confident going into the week.
- Treat yourself on Monday. Can you reframe Monday as a day that you actually look forward to? Okay maybe that’s a stretch, but how can you at least make it a little bit better? What’s something that adds a little joy into your life? Stopping for a special latte on the way to work, rocking out to a mood-boosting playlist during your commute, taking your full lunch break and going on a walk with your favorite podcast, or watching a show that makes you laugh? Think of any little thing that will add levity to the day and carve out some time for it.
You’re not the only one experiencing the Sunday Scaries, and the good news is that there are things you can do to make them a little less, well, scary. Keep this list handy, knowing you can tap into any one of these remedies when you feel that familiar pit in your stomach. We’ll be here to support you throughout the week, anytime the scaries hit.
By Katie Nave, Copywriter at Sanvello
Katie is a writer and mental health advocate living in Brooklyn, New York. Her essays have been featured in publications including Newsweek, Elle, Glamour, Business Insider, and Motherly. She has served as a producer for the National Women’s March and worked with organizations like Girls Inc. She is currently the Copywriter at Sanvello and you can follow her on Instagram: @kathryn.e.nave.