As soon as you finish eating lunch on Sunday, that gloomy feeling of impending doom starts to creep in. Even if you’ve been having the best weekend, that dark cloud descends, covering your entire being. You feel like time is speeding up, and the blues set in.
What you’re feeling is, as experts would call it, the Sunday Blues, a real phenomenon that affects a lot of people. When The Sleep Judge surveyed more than 1,000 working Americans, they found that 81% feel anxious on Sunday nights. Meanwhile, in the UK, a survey revealed that 66% of adults working full-time suffer from the Sunday Blues. Indeed, it’s something that a lot of people around the world are struggling with.
Do you feel your fun weekend version starting to morph into your grumpy weekday self? Well, if you are worried about your never-ending to-do list for Monday, you’re not alone. You can almost hear the collective groan that thousands of workers around the world let out once they realize that the weekend is almost over. The good news is, there is a way to shake off that dark cloud. In this post, we will help you understand the reasons behind that Sunday evening feeling. We will also share some tips on how you can manage, if not eliminate, your anxiety over the coming workweek.
What Is the Sunday Syndrome?
The Sunday Syndrome is more widely known as the Sunday Blues or the Sunday Scaries. According to Dr. Meghann Gerber, a psychologist from the University of Washington, it is a type of anxiety that gives a person a sense that they’re about to go through something difficult. In essence, it’s that looming anticipation of having to do something you hate—which is going back to work.
The Sunday anxiety involves lamenting the end of your rest day. It has to do with wishing you’d have more time for the weekend or regretting not accomplishing more. The thing is, during your free time, you get to decide what you want to do. However, after the weekend, you return to the corporate jungle, where you have to meet other people’s demands and expectations.
According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, 80% of American working professionals experience the Sunday night anxiety in some form or another. A lot of them are worried about the number of tasks they have to do in the coming week. Meanwhile, others are anxious about having to juggle their professional and personal lives.
What’s more, the study revealed that people from specific generations are more prone to feeling the Sunday Scaries. While 69% of boomers suffer from it, a whopping 91% of millennials and 94% of Gen Z professionals have reported that they experience it.
Now, just to clarify—even though this form of anxiety mentions a specific day, it also applies to people who work non-traditional shifts. The Sunday night blues can also hit self-employed individuals and part-time workers.
Why Do You Experience the Sunday Blues?
There are many reasons why people experience the Sunday Scaries. Moreover, every individual has triggers that are unique to them. Here are some of the possible explanations behind this phenomenon:
You Hate Your Job
Of course, one of the reasons why you dread the coming week is because you don’t like your job. It can be challenging to motivate yourself to show up for work when you hate being in the office in the first place. Some people say that they’re dissatisfied with their duties, but if you’re experiencing a severe case of the Sunday anxiety, you might want to take a step back. Assess your situation and consider whether you’re starting to burn out.
It’s possible that you’re struggling to cope with the mountain of obligations you have at work. Perhaps you’ve bitten off more than you can chew and the project you’ve accepted is more challenging than you anticipated. It’s also possible that you’re feeling as if there’s no way for you to fulfill your duties.
You’ve Had Enough of the Routine
Even work-from-home employees find routines beneficial to their productivity. However, not everyone can thrive when performing mundane, repetitive tasks. Some people are more efficient in a dynamic environment where they can experience new adventures. As a result, they find day-to-day routines quite tiresome, even more so if they spend their Sunday evenings preparing for the week. Perhaps you’re sick of spending your spare time doing mundane activities like planning upcoming tasks, packing things, and preparing meals. Once you get into that ritual, it’s easy for you to catch the Sunday Blues.
You Have Polarized Thinking
The Sunday Scaries can also get worse if you have polarized thinking. This is the tendency to look at things in black and white categories. We tend to categorize the weekend as a time for fun, while the other days of the week are mostly associated with pure work. We become obsessed with sticking to these unspoken rules, depriving ourselves of enjoyment until the weekend comes. Consequently, we try to cram in all the activities we repressed all week in two days.
You Focus on Disappointments
According to some people suffering from the Sunday night anxiety, they feel as if they’ve wasted their opportunities. They think they should’ve spent the weekend doing something productive. On the other end of the spectrum, people feel they’ve wasted the time they had for rest and relaxation. The Sunday Blues have a way of making us concentrate on the things we didn’t do with the time we had.
What Are the Extreme Results of the Sunday Scaries?
For most people, the Sunday Blues are just a fleeting feeling that they can easily shake off. However, some tend to dwell on their negative emotions. If you don’t deal with your Sunday evening anxiety, here are some things that can happen:
Lying or Making Excuses
It’s only natural to have more employees calling in sick during the flu season. However, for some people, skipping work on Mondays becomes a habit. Some even attribute it to the Sunday Blues. In 2014, Statista conducted a survey of 707 adults in the United Kingdom who work full time. Out of the respondents, 9% admitted that they had pretended to have a ‘family or personal’ issue to get out of work. While 82% reported that they hadn’t done the same, 9% still considered doing it. Here are some of the fake excuses that employees use to get off work on Monday:
- Illness – 35%
- Disruptions in transportation – 21%
- Emergency at home (burst pipes, flooding, etc.) – 19%
- Looking after a loved one who is ‘ill’ – 19%
- Vague personal or family issue – 18%
- Pet health issue – 9%
Getting Sucked into the Black Hole of Self-Pity
Worrying is an inevitable part of life. However, subjecting yourself to regular and high doses of it can be harmful to you. You may not notice it, but all that anxiety can overshadow the fun and relaxation you could have during your time off. While you’re worrying about losing your free time, every minute of your weekend passes you by. Feeling anxious about the coming workweek can pull you deeper into the black hole of self-pity and other negative emotions. By dwelling on these thoughts, you end up feeling bad about yourself.
How to Shake Off the Sunday Blues
As you can see, nursing your Sunday night anxiety can harm your career and health. So, how do you shake off this negative feeling? Here are some tips:
Maximize Your Time at Work
One of the best ways of alleviating your Sunday Scaries is by starting working on it as early as Friday. Do your best to finish off as many tasks as you can and avoid leaving anything pending for the following week. This way, you can bring closure to the workweek, allowing yourself to fully enjoy the weekend.
Every Monday, you should organize your desk, plan the entire week’s tasks and activities, and use other efficient strategies. For instance, if you’re struggling to get everything done within the workweek, look for productivity leaks. One of the best ways to do this is by using a time tracker like Traqq. When you use this app, it will show you your activity levels. What’s more, when you check the dashboard, you will see your most frequently used apps and websites. So, you’ll see if the time you spend on Twitter and Facebook is hampering your productivity.
When you know that you’ve maximized your time at work, you’re less tempted to check your emails over the weekend. Aside from that, remember that weekends are meant for you to recharge and rest. So, alleviate your worries by reassuring yourself that you’ve done all you can for the previous week. Anything that needs to be done is new tasks you have to tackle on Monday.
Learn Why You Hate Mondays
Another way to shake off the Sunday Blues is by identifying why you hate Mondays in the first place. Perhaps, you hate driving in the rush hour at the start of the week. So, if you have the privilege to do so, find ways to avoid this unnecessary stress. For instance, you can organize a carpool or come to work a bit earlier. You can also ask your boss if you can work from home on Mondays to avoid traffic altogether.
Perhaps, you hate the mundane routine at work. Try spicing things up by signing up for a fun activity that you can do after work hours. Sign up for dance classes or group exercises. Also, let yourself enjoy a good lunch break with a friend. Go home on the dot and avoid being too hard on yourself.
Go to Sleep
It may be tempting to resist your bedtime on Sunday, but experts advise against it. Are you more of a day person? Well, staying up late—even on a single night—can result in tiredness the following day. When you deprive yourself of sleep, you prevent yourself from functioning optimally. As a result, you are inefficient at work and you become irritated easily.
Wind down on Sunday evenings and do something peaceful yet enjoyable. For instance, you can use this time to do some journaling or have a nice bath. You can also perform some breathing exercises while having positive self-talk.
Shaking off the Sunday Blues can be quite a struggle. So, it’s understandable if you find it difficult to follow the tips we shared. If you’re suffering from a serious case of the Sunday Scaries, perhaps it’s time for a change. In a case like this, it is best to seek professional help. This way, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you’re feeling.