Beating The Sunday Fear
Sunday fear – aka that rising feeling of doom you start to get around 4.30pm on a Sunday when you realise that the weekend is about to end and normal life is about to resume – is something that affects basically all of us (unless you’re one of the incredibly smug 0.1% of the population who loves Mondays and work and life in general). But does it have to be that way? Is Sunday night fear something we just have to learn to live with, or can it be kicked to the kerb? We spoke to some experts to find out how to banish it.
Switch up your Sunday night routine. If going out on a Sunday night sounds a bit much for you, Tanya Woolf, clinical lead at psychological and wellbeing practice Efficacy Ltd, explained that even making small changes to your Sunday routine could help. ‘Replace the activities you usually associate with Sunday night fear, i.e. laundry, checking emails, ironing, with something else; perhaps make time to spend with your family or take up a hobby.’ Dr Hema Ananth, consultant psychiatrist with healthcare platform Medstars.co.uk agreed, saying: ‘Learn not to choose Sundays for dealing with tasks that bring you down and have routines and rituals that help to prepare you for the coming week starting with the hardest jobs first. Then finish the day with a reward – perhaps dining out, watching a film or playing a family board game.’ Cosy.
Don’t just sit and wallow. Yes, we know the couch is comfy, and we know you want to make the most of it while you can (seriously, WE KNOW), but according to Olga Levancuka (known as the Skinny Rich Coach, and author of How To Be Selfish), sitting on your sofa wallowing is only going to make matters worse. She told us: ‘Sunday night can seem like the worst part of the week; with chores to finish and the work awaiting you on Monday weighing on your mind, you can feel flat, but sitting around waiting for your work week to start will only intensify those negative emotions. Instead, do something fun! Start a tradition of having an amazing time – go and watch a movie, catch up with your girlfriends or go for dinner at your favourite restaurant – whatever keeps your mind on something other than the end of the weekend. Not only will you have a great time on the night but you’ll also have something to talk or laugh about the next morning at work.’ Sounds like a plan.
Write it all out. Often, the best way to deal with something is to tackle it head on, and that’s exactly what life coach Jo Emerson thinks we should do when it comes to Sunday fear: ‘Spend an hour each Sunday afternoon or evening preparing yourself for the working week ahead. Write down what you need to achieve, what your challenges will be and how you might overcome them. By writing this stuff down, it’s less likely to plague you and ruin the rest of your Sunday. You will also hit Monday morning mentally prepared and feeling a little more confident about the coming week. Once you’ve done this piece of writing, put it in your work bag and mentally return to the day you are in and think about how to enjoy your Sunday evening.’
Make Friday your new Monday. This sounds pretty rad, but we reckon that when it comes to beating Sunday fear, anything’s worth a go. Olga Levancuka explained: ‘Part of the Sunday blues stems from the idea that you have to save fun activities for the weekends, while weekdays are reserved for work. A great way to trick your brain is to make Friday your new Monday. Friday afternoon, when you’re excited about the weekend, take care of all the annoying chores that will otherwise await you on Monday and go out on Monday evening. This way your brain will associate Mondays with fun, and instead of dreading them you’ll spend your Sunday evening choosing an outfit for the Monday night out.’
Avoid alcohol. Yep, we know, bad times, right? But according to Dr Hema Ananth, avoiding alcohol is a power move when it comes to banishing Sunday night fear. She explained: ‘It’s likely to make your mood worse and will only serve to make the morning commute more arduous if you’re nursing a hangover.’ Tanya Wolf agreed, saying: ‘Be sensible with how much you drink at the weekends; excessive alcohol consumption will only contribute to feelings of dread.’ Sob.
Change your job. Yes, it’s an extreme solution, but if your fear of Monday is getting out of control, it might be a sign you’re in the wrong job. Life coach Jo Emerson explained: ‘When I was doing jobs I hated or work that daunted me I used to suffer terribly from Sunday night fear, but since I’ve been doing work I love, they’ve gone (as have the Monday blues). So, the greatest fix to your Sunday night fear could be finding work you enjoy.’
More than just Sunday night fear? Sunday night fear is one thing, but if you think your feelings run a little deeper, don’t just ignore it. Dr Hema Ananth told us: ‘It’s important to note that sustained feelings of stress or sadness accompanied by palpitations, nausea, headaches, poor quality of sleep or shortness of breath could be symptoms of an underlying anxiety disorder. If you’re experiencing this, don’t hesitate to seek help from your line manager or GP.’ Top advice.
Words by ASOS