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5 Ways to Fight the Sunday Scaries

By Pam Dewey • Sunday scaries, Sunday blues, Sunday sads, depression, mental health, mental health issues, • September 23, 2021

The weekends are a time to recharge for people who work Monday through Friday. Weekends are also a time for fun and spending time with family and friends. But for many of us, Sundays are fraught with dread. By the evening, we’re worried about the workweek or school and fear our fun is ending.

This phenomenon is so common, we’ve even coined a term for it: the Sunday scaries. But Sundays don’t have to be filled with anxiety. Here are 5 ways to fight the Sunday scaries.

Set yourself up for the next week at work

One of the things you may worry most about on Sunday is the upcoming workweek. One way to help yourself prepare is to create a to-do list on Friday afternoon. Prioritize the items you need to complete first and tag any emails that require your response. This ensures you’re ready to jump into the workweek and that you don’t have to worry about forgetting something. Try to avoid setting up meetings on Monday morning, so you’re not worried about those.

Don’t leave all your chores until Sunday

Don’t put off all your laundry, meal prep and cleaning until Sunday. Do a few chores on Saturday or save some for the week. If you have to do chores on Sunday, get these done first thing, so the tasks are off your plate and the rest of your day is free.

Stop yourself from polarized thinking

Better Help states, “Polarized thinking is another name for our tendency to see things in terms of polar opposites – like ‘all or nothing.’ We often start thinking of the weekend as time for fun, and the week as a time for work.” But the week doesn’t have to be all work. You can plan fun activities for the week like having dinner with friends, hiking or going on a date night with your partner. Giving yourself something to look forward to during the week should help combat some of your dread.

Plan a fun activity for Sunday night

A great way to combat the Sunday scaries is to plan an activity that you can look forward to on Sunday night. Real Simple states, “Active leisure—a book club, practicing yoga or even going to the movies—will make you happier than choosing something that is passive.” So rather than just binge-watching your favorite TV show, plan to do something that gets you moving and distracts you from worrying about the week. You could also go for a long walk, plan a cooking date with a friend or have a craft night. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that you’ll genuinely look forward to and enjoy.

Consider a standing date with a friend

Planning to see a friend or a loved one on Sunday evenings can also help you fight the Sunday blues. Real Simple states, “But there is plenty of research that shows that people who are less social tend to be less happy. And a Sunday already potentially mired in the blahs is when you’ll need contact with others the most.” Though you may be tempted to spend time alone, connecting with a friend can bring you joy and distract you from negative thoughts. If coming up with plans sounds like too much work, consider setting up a standing date with a friend. Then create a simple tradition like game night, an at-home spa night or a margaritas and tacos night. 

You don’t have to dread every Sunday night. Try to get your chores done early, cut out polarized thinking, plan a fun activity for Sunday night and consider setting up a regular social engagement with a friend. And if the thought of returning to work really makes you that anxious, maybe it’s time to consider looking for a new job.