What Are Sunday Scaries – And How to Beat It

What Are Sunday Scaries – And How to Beat It

What Are Sunday Scaries – And How to Beat It 2560 1707 Dr. Menon

I used to feel sorry for Mondays, always getting the bad rap in the week’s lineup. But now, it sounds like Sundays are keeping Mondays company! So what exactly are “Sunday Scaries”? I’ve been hearing about this change a lot from clients. During the pandemic, with all the shifts, adjustments, and compromises people have had to make, it looks like the dread and distress start to take hold long before Monday morning shows up.

The Sunday Scaries

Fact. There’s a lot of unpredictability in our lives. When Sunday starts to fade, in effect, do you get a familiar sinking feeling? Like, having a headache or stomach ache? Or, a feeling of impending doom? Turns out you are far from alone. It’s a path towards chronic stress – the kind that takes a big toll on your mental and physical health.

The Sunday scaries are definitely not something to brush off. What you are experiencing is something called anticipatory anxiety. It thrives off the endless loop of what-ifs and worries about future tasks. It can even affect people of all ages. For instance, a child may not express it in words, but you may see changes in their appetite and behavior, like being more irritable, asking repetitive questions, and checking and double checking about routines.

Transitions can be uncomfortable and, in the same way, it becomes another example of how worries about the future rob you of calm and joy in the present. Hence, the Sunday scaries are way more than feeling bad that a fun weekend came to a close. It’s a lot more intense with the potential for a pretty dramatic shift in mood.

Let’s change the headlines.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to make your weekends and weeks happier and healthier for you and your family. Here’s what you can do:

Start digging

Search for hidden or just under the surface problems (An unexpected deadline? More work demands? A meeting you’re not ready for? A new Math unit that is hard to understand? A change in friend dynamics that’s left you child confused and uncertain “Who will I sit with on the bus”?) for yourself or your kids.

Take control of Sunday

Get busy, get active, get structured. Too much empty time might sound appealing but worries thrive on empty spaces. Activity can, in fact, tame anxiety any day of the week. Your week and your weekend should have room for a mix of fun, free time, productivity, and socialization. Why not make a Sunday night tradition for yourself and you and your family, like a classic TV show or a read aloud? Something short (think 30 minutes) can help wind down Sunday night with pleasant vibes.

Add some fun to the Monday morning transition

Skip the bagged lunch, stop for a favorite coffee drink, or save your favorite podcast for Monday morning. Pairing a dull or challenging task with something you like can ease you into the day.

Put some sparkle into Monday night.

Anticipation got you into this pattern and anticipating something fun can help you get out. Cue up a favorite show, a favorite meal, or time with someone that helps you feel good. After all, Monday should not be the night to scrub the floors or pay your bills.

Remember those what-ifs?

Push back at them by rewriting the mental script. This can be part of your dinner conversation on Sunday nights. Kids and family members can pick up on messaging and cues from others in their household and take them to be the truth. Many times, the anticipation is worse than the actual task. Use this time to mentally reframe the what-if thoughts into action plans for those worst-case scenarios that your brain excels at making.

Ultimately, a few changes in thinking and in habits, with the intention of doing them consistently, can get you on the right track towards Smooth Sundays and Mellow Mondays. If the feelings persist or continue to get more intense, please reach out for professional support.