Wholeness Healing Today

Sunday Blues are a Real Thing

It’s Friday!! As we transition into our weekend, we begin by looking forward to our time off and how we can just let down a bit and enjoy things. It’s the weekend and there is a lot to fit into it – having some down time, having some fun time, getting caught up on sleep, doing laundry, getting groceries, paying bills, and then of course, prepping for the week ahead so we can jump in on Monday morning ready for the new work week.  Our weekends carry a lot of weight for giving us some balance in our life.  As the weekend rolls by and we get into our Sunday (50% of our weekend and the day before we go back to work), we may find ourselves feeling the “Sunday Scaries” – a new description that talks about that anticipatory anxiety that begins to creep in as our weekend becomes closer to ending.

For a long time, I have been aware that Sundays can be tough for people.  They might find the day hard to manage or find themselves struggling emotionally during the day or might have sleep disruption on Sunday night.  Some have a feeling of dread creep up on them as Sunday progresses. I never realized that there was actually a name for it those Sunday blues.

I myself have had times on Sunday nights that my normally good sleep doesn’t happen.  I have attributed it to getting off schedule with my sleep patterns by “sleeping in” a few days to “catch up on my sleep”.  Sleep insomnia on Sunday nights is often a part of the Sunday Scaries.  It doesn’t mean you don’t like your job or have a dread for going back to work (although this can be a reason). Psychologists call it an “anticipatory anxiety” that creeps in as their last day off starts to close.

A study of 1000 participants, by LinkedIn, showed that 81% became progressively more anxious as their Sunday came to a close.  Almost 2/3’s of these participants reported a restless night’s sleep Sunday night.  Participants admit that it is anticipatory anxiety related to their job.  Even those that love their work reported anxiety over job expectations and workload.  60% of professionals blame worrying about their workload; 44% say it is because of balancing professional and personal life.  39% dwell on tasks they didn’t finish the week before.  More than 1 in 3 professionals feel the Sunday Scaries each week.  (Decembrele, 2018)

Identifying the issue can be half the battle.  As you notice the Sunday Scaries coming upon you, you can kick in with some tools to help you through it.  Your self-talk can be important.  As I realize on Sunday that I am feeling some dread that Monday is almost here, I remind myself that I do love my work and that showing up on Monday to work at a job I love is a blessing.  I also remind myself of this on Fridays as I look forward to my time off- realizing that my work is also a love and I don’t want to wish away my hours at work just to get to the weekend which is very short.

If your “Sunday Scaries” are about anticipation of all that you have to do Monday morning, grab a pen and paper and make a list so you have direction come Monday morning and you don’t have to ruminate over the list in your head.  Drain your brain, prioritize what you wrote down, and then let it go.

Move into gratitude versus dread.  Spend time reminding yourself of the things you love about your job or the things you are grateful (e.g. you have a regular paycheck, your job is manageable, you enjoy good benefits from your job, etc.). Shift the negatives of your job into the positives.

If you are one of those that struggle with Sunday insomnia, consider your sleep hygiene and going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time.  Routine and ritual around bedtime can help with insomnia. Part of that sleep hygiene should include putting down technology, sleeping in a dark and cool room, and going to bed early enough to get seven to eight hours of sleep.

And lastly, Sunday is still a day off and if you can stay present, in the moment (versus worrying about Monday looming) you can enjoy the day.  If you find yourself going to Monday in your mind, just gently bring yourself back to Sunday – Be here – Now.  Enjoy your Sunday.  Enjoy your time off and then as you go to work on Monday morning, make a mental note to appreciate your job and all you benefit from it and step into being present Monday morning.


Works Cited

Decembrele, B. (2018, September 28). https://blog.linkedin.com/2018/september/28/your-guide-to-winning-work-decoding-the-sunday-scaries. Retrieved from LinkedinOffical Blog: https://blog.linkedin.com/

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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