Melissa Paulsen, MA, LMFT, RPT-S
How to Manage "Sunday Scaries": SMONDAY
“SMONDAY: The moment when Sunday stops feeling like a Sunday and the anxiety of Monday kicks in.”
The term “Sunday Scaries” has recently become popular and is used to describe feelings of anxiety and dread over the upcoming week. The feelings of anticipatory anxiety and dread are primarily related to the upcoming school week or workweek specifically. In a sense, it is also grieving the loss of the weekend.
Some symptoms you may notice that tell you you’re feeling anxious include:
Feeling nervous and fidgety
Feeling restless and like you can’t relax
LinkedIn conducted a survey in 2018 and found that 80% of professionals experience “Sunday Scaries”! Even more interesting was that the younger the generation, the higher the percentage.
Boomers & Older (1964 and before) – 69%
Gen X (1965-1980) – 72%
Millennials (1981-1996) – 91%
Gen Z (1997-2012) – 94%
Ways to Manage Sunday Scaries:
Schedule a brain dump! Instead of the to-do list being inside your brain, get it out. You can do this in a notebook, on sticky notes, your phone, or computer but make a list somewhere so you’re not also worrying about forgetting the things you need to do. Be intentional about this with a designated time. I would suggest in the morning so you feel more relaxed the rest of the day and that way if you forget something, you’ll have a place to add it to. After you get it all out, you could also number them in order of importance so you have a plan of attack for Monday morning.
Prepare for the week ahead! Prepping your meals or what you’re going to wear will help you feel more organized for the week ahead and will save you time in the mornings. Whether you want to do this just for Mondays or for the entire week ahead of time is up to you.
Move your body! If you feel restless or agitated, try going for a walk or doing other activities to get you moving. The bilateral stimulation from walking or running can help you feel more regulated.
Make Monday fun! Pick something fun to do so you have something to look forward to on Monday. Whether it’s grabbing a Starbucks coffee or a McDonald’s bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle on your way to work (if you normally don’t); scheduling lunch or dinner with a friend or significant other; or having a planned movie night or Netflix binge watching session to reward yourself for surviving a Monday, it will give you something to look forward to which may counteract that dread you’re feeling on Sunday.
Make Monday productive! If you can help it, try to avoid meetings, trainings, etc. on Mondays. Reserve your Monday for emails and projects that will make you feel productive and accomplished to set the tone for the rest of the week feeling caught up and not immediately behind and overwhelmed.
Caffeine + Sleep don’t mix! Limit caffeine after noon and try to go to bed slightly earlier than usual. Being anxious about the work week and getting to sleep combined with too much caffeine can make trying to fall asleep a vicious cycle. Melatonin, ashwagandha, or lavender essential oil may also help you get to sleep on Sunday night.
Check out some episodes of the Sunday Scaries podcast.
If you find that even after trying some of these strategies you are still dreading the week ahead, it may be time to evaluate the cause and whether it’s time to make a change. If it’s school-related and you haven’t graduated high school, this may not be an option, but if you’re a college student this may be something you can change. If you’re an adult and you hate your job, you may be able to begin the search for something you find more enjoyable too.
Need help with this process? Reach out to us and one of our mental health therapists would be happy to assist you in this journey of discovery.