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Published: June 8, 2024

What are the Sunday Scaries? Reduce Stress and Anxiety

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It’s late in the afternoon on Sunday, and you’ve had an incredible weekend, whether you spent it with family and friends or fully prioritized your self-care. But the next morning you have a 10am meeting, a training at noon, and countless deadlines approaching – cue the anxiety!

The Sunday Scaries are very real, and we’ve all experienced that sense of reality sink in when thinking about Monday and the week ahead. According to LinkedIn80% of professionals experience the Sunday Scaries. Common worries include workload, unfinished tasks from the week prior, and work-life balance.

However, you don’t have to spend your Sundays with feelings of dread. There are ways to make small lifestyle changes and shift your thoughts to help manage this overwhelming feeling and start your week on a more positive note.

Narrowing down the cause

If you’re dreading the coming work week, there’s a reason. Is it because you didn’t complete everything you had planned for the weekend? Are you nervous for an upcoming meeting at work? Whatever the reason, narrowing it down is the first step toward abolishing your Sunday Scaries.

Shift your personal tasks.

Many people use Sundays to meal prep, do laundry, tidy up, etc. While it can be helpful to plan for the week, this can also create the feeling that the weekend is over before it actually is. Try switching up your routine a bit and doing these tasks on Friday evening or early Saturday morning – this will help free up your time on Sunday so that you can choose relaxation over tedious chores.

Make Sundays more enjoyable

By moving around personal tasks and not making Sundays the day for chores, you can instead spend time doing what you want to be doing – relaxing. Treating yourself to your favorite meal, a relaxing bath, or whatever else brings you happiness and relaxation, you can remove some of the anxiety you’rfeeling for the week ahead.

Schedule self-care time.

Taking some time for yourself on Sunday is a great way to relax and unwind as you enter the week ahead. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to schedule a massage or manicure every Sunday, though. Reading a book, writing in your journal, going for a walk, and taking an afternoon nap are all forms of self-care. Along with social time, be sure to set some time aside for you.

Consider if you’re burnt out.

If you’re really, truly dreading going back to work on Monday, you may be burnt out. Burnout is an epidemic in the current job climate, with Gallup poll finding that 28% of surveyed people felt burned out very often or always.

That research was conducted before the COIVD-19 pandemic, so this number is likely way higher now with work-from-home restrictions making work always feel like home, and home always feel like work. You can try to alleviate some of these feelings by setting up a dedicated “office” space in your home or taking steps to re-arrange your home to promote your mental well-being.

Try a social media detox.

Scrolling on social media often leads to comparisons. There’s nothing worse than lying on the couch on a Sunday and seeing people on your social media at the beach, hiking, or otherwise enjoying a “perfect” day. The weekend (including Sunday) is for you to spend time enjoying the things that bring you joy. Choose to focus on them rather than compare yourself to what others are doing. If you’re really up for a challenge, put your phone away altogether and avoid the urge to check email until the morning.

Stay present.

The Sunday Scaries stem from the anxiety that takes over when thinking about the future. Make an effort to shift your thought process and be more present in the fun and relaxing activities you partake in with loved ones. Take a few minutes on Sunday morning to ground yourself and set an intention to be present throughout the day. Or try a few minutes of meditation – there are many mindfulness apps out there! Simple habits like these can foster a sense of calmness and reduce the anxious thoughts that come with the Sunday Scaries.

Make the most of Monday.

Mondays don’t have to be horrible! In fact, they can be a great way to reset and refresh. Keep the positive weekend vibes going by creating space for things you enjoy. Listen to a motivational playlist while you get ready in the morning, sign up for your favorite workout class, or grab a cup of coffee with a friend. Do something that will help kick off your week on an upbeat note.

The bottom line

The weekends never feel long enough compared to the length of the workweek. This feeling of not enough time is frustrating, and can ultimately lead to what we call Sunday Scaries, but managing our feelings of anxiety and dread can do wonders. If you’re truly feeling burnt out, talk to your supervisor at work, a supportive friend, and even your doctor or Health Coach if it's starting to impact your quality of life.

There are many ways to help lower your stress and anxiety levels, and practicing self-love and self-care is one way to start. Living a healthy life can help naturally reduce stress too, and IIN believes that primary foods – the things you do and feel – are just as important to living a healthy life as the food you eat. Check out our Curriculum Guide to learn more about how IIN’s Health Coach Training Program can support you in living your healthiest life in both body and mind.


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