Stop the Sunday Scaries!

One of the pure banes of adulthood are the dreaded Sunday Scaries. Typically followed by a blissfully unaware weekend, the Sunday Scaries begin to creep into your mind on a Sunday morning, fully setting up shop and wreaking havoc by the afternoon. They bring with them feelings of intense doom, despair, and usually a little self-doubt and loathing, just for good measure. Ultimately, your mind turns to your job, then your career, and then every life choice you’ve ever made. Instead of giving in, give these tips a try to take back your weekend fun.

1. Friday = life maintenance

We’ve all been guilty of barreling down the office door at 5pm, hoping to find some work week relief in the bottom of a wine glass. This blissfully unaware state spills into Saturday and then early Sunday morning, and soon you’re left staring at a massive to-do list, a pile of laundry, and an empty fridge by Sunday afternoon. The anxiety sets in, you wonder where the weekend went, and you’re now panicking to get your chores in order so you can pretend you’ve actually got a pulled together life. Sound familiar?

Instead of leaving all your unpleasant-but-necessary tasks for Sunday, try to complete them on Friday — or better yet, another week night. This means picking out outfits for the week, meal prepping, and grocery shopping. Sunday is now your day to enjoy, with Monday’s tasks already sorted.

2. Finish work tasks on Friday, and leave yourself a detailed list for Monday

Does “that’s a problem for Monday,” sound familiar? Many times, the biggest source of the Sunday Scaries are the loose ends we leave at work on Friday, being both too unmotivated to complete them and too naive to remember we probably won’t remember where we left off. Nip this problem in the bud by leaving your desk and inbox super tidy, with detailed notes that’ll jog your memory on Monday. I like to spend the last 15 minutes at my desk on Friday writing a detailed day plan for Monday, which usually saves me a half hour of trying to remember what the heck I needed to do when Monday finally hits.

3. Set a loose weekend objective

I often make a note for myself on Friday (or Thursday, depending on how desperate I am for the weekend) about what I want to accomplish over the weekend. It’s usually just one or two things, and can range from the ambitious and specific; “I want to hike to the top of Mount Grey” to something more low key, “Can I just sleep all weekend?” It helps me plan fun activities amongst the chores and obligations, and also makes me consciously think about what I need to feel recharged on any given weekend. As an extreme planner and goal setter, this tip has largely helped me feel accomplished and rejuvenated when I get back to my desk on Monday.

4. Completely unplug on the weekends

It’s tempting to want to glance at your emails over the weekend to stay on top of any major issues and gear you up for the following week. I’m going to tell you right now that you need to stop. It’s a soul-sucking task that’ll leave you feeling drained, resentful, and not very fun to be around. I’ve personally been guilty of “just checking” my work emails at 2pm on a Sunday and then having my whole day ruined over an issue I can do nothing about until the next morning. Unless your job requires you to be on call, deactivate all work notifications over the weekend to avoid having your phone becoming a source of anxiety. If you truly cannot imagine yourself unplugging all weekend, allow yourself a few minutes of skimming time Sunday night to help put your mind at ease and prep for the work week — or try meditating instead.

5. Treat your weekends as mini-vacations

Well + Good recently published an article about why you should think of your weekend as a mini-vacation. This mindset shift can help you feel recharged and relaxed come Monday morning, and encourage you to do enjoyable things over your weekend. The idea is to treat your two days off as a complete break from your everyday life by stepping away from work, chores, and other obligations as much as possible. This is your chance to finally try out that brunch spot, take a painting class, or just walk through the park without interruptions. It’s two full days to relax and recharge the skills you use at work.

6. Do something fun Sunday night

Planning an activity for Sunday night means two things: you have to get all your sh*t done before then and you have something to look forward to at the exact time the Sunday Scaries will rear their ugly heads. It usually helps if this activity is relaxing, such as trying out a new dinner recipe, meeting a friend for dessert, or reading your favorite book. Treat those last fleeting moments of your weekend freedom as what they are: freedom.

7. Plan a Monday treat

Carry some of that weekend “treat yo’ self” magic into your Monday and give yourself something to look forward to every week. Maybe Mondays are the day you get Uber Eats and binge watch Netflix, or take yourself out for lunch at your favorite deli. Pick something you look forward to, no matter how small, and make it your Monday thing. Don’t allow this treat any other day of the week — especially on the weekends. You’ll be looking forward to the start of the week in no time.

8. Ask yourself why you feel this way

It’s normal to occasionally dread the work week, no matter how much you enjoy your job. Sometimes just identifying the stressor — like a meeting with your boss first thing Monday morning or having an overly-packed schedule — can be enough to help you feel empowered enough to face it. Oftentimes, the stress from one or two things can be overwhelming and manifest itself into a big, scary monster inside our head. Chatting with your partner or friend about your feelings can often help put the stress to rest. If your anxiety about Mondays is crippling week after week, it’s time to address why. Sometimes these dark feelings can be cause for a re-evaluation of a career or serious chat with your boss about work/life balance or work related issues.

9. Just stop thinking about it.

Sunday is your day. It’s half of your weekend, so why waste it worrying about the rest of the week? You’ve got five whole days you can deal with work stress (though, obviously I’d prefer if you dealt with those stressors too), so push your Sunday Scaries to Monday and start enjoying your day.

Instead of giving into the despair and letting the Sunday Scaries win, remind yourself that you’ve got your life together, and then maybe eat ice cream for dinner. Because, you know, #yolo.