What meetings do I have tomorrow?
What do I need to get done this week?
Sound familiar? This may be a common inner dialogue for those of us who experience the Sunday night blues. These are sometimes dubbed the Sunday scaries, or feelings of melancholy or anxiety at the thought of the oncoming week. In other words, from when the Sunday blues arrive, we spend the remainder of our weekend in anticipation of the stress which could be on the horizon in the coming week.
And it’s not necessarily an indication that you despise your job. Sunday blues happen to us all, not because the work week is starting, but because rest and recharging is almost at an end for five more days.
If you’ve ever felt sad or even lethargic come Sunday afternoon at the thought of the end of another weekend, or you struggle to sleep on Sundays more than any other night, you’re not alone. One of the most recent studies into the Sunday scaries by The Sleep Judge found that 81% of people questioned felt anxiety on Sundays in anticipation of Monday. In addition, 63% said that Sunday night was their most restless night of sleep.
Our weekends are well-earned and extremely important to help us slow down and recharge. The Sunday night blues, however, effectively cut that recharge time short. We’re skipping ahead to next week, losing focus on the present moment.
Below, we share ideas for reclaiming your Sunday afternoons and evenings with slow living-inspired tips for beating the Sunday night blues.
5 Slow Living-Inspired Tips for Beating the Sunday Night Blues
1. Make More of Sunday Evening
This goes for both Sunday evening and during the working week. If Sunday evening is just dedicated to preparing for Monday, there’s no surprise why we start to think ahead. Plan something enjoyable, whether that’s as simple as catching up with a friend or cooking a meal that takes time to prepare.
2. Create Moments for Slow Living and Self Care
If you don’t fancy heading out on a Sunday evening, you can still reclaim that time for yourself. Take a bath, read, listen to a favourite podcast – the options are endless. Start associating Sunday evening with calm activities that help you feel rested, especially if you’ve had a busy weekend. Whatever your calming activity, make it a weekly ritual which you start to look forward to, and Monday morning will feel that little bit further away.
3. Don’t Leave Everything to the Last Minute
Winding down is part of a relaxing bedtime routine or ritual. Increasing stress and being active by completing last minute chores, such as ironing your work clothes or starting the task you keep putting off, is likely to leave you feeling wired before bed. This also dedicates the last hours of your weekend to your least favourite tasks, many of which may be related to getting ready for work.
Try to get those jobs done earlier, if possible, and break the association of Sunday night with boring to-dos. Instead, take Sunday evening at a slower pace.
4. Practise Mindfulness or Creativity and Unplug
The same too can be said for work admin. Many people feel anxious leaving diary and meeting management to Monday morning. We sometimes feel much better jotting something down or sending that quick email reminder. But those distracting thoughts across the weekend pull us away from the moment.
One way to refrain from getting stuck into next week’s challenges would be unplugging from messages and work email (perhaps by temporarily switching off notifications).
Instead, try scheduling and managing the next week on Friday morning and leaving work with a written list of ‘leftover thoughts’ for Monday morning; it provides that extra bit of closure to leave those unfinished tasks in the office and really focus on bringing our minds back to the present.
Try meditation or yoga to feel more calm about the impending week, or make time for a creative activity that distracts your mind and keeps you focused on what you’re doing with your hands. This time can be a great way to nourish our right brain, the side considered more creative, visual and intuitive.
5. Find a Better Work-Life Integration
The notion of work-life balance is outdated, or perhaps it never really ever made much sense. Juxtaposing work and life in this way creates the assumption that work isn’t part of our lives. It’s unrealistic to think that the two can be exclusive of each other. Balance also implies a 50:50 split, which is also extremely difficult to achieve, thus setting us up for failure.
If your Monday to Friday feels like a different life to your weekends, try embracing better harmony between the different areas of your lifestyle. Thought leader on work-life integration, Professor Stew Friedman, talks about four-way wins – actions or shifts in mindset that create a ripple effect to benefit the four main areas of our lives: our homes, our communities, our work and ourselves. This might be trying flexible working hours so you have longer evenings to exercise or pursue hobbies. This could give you greater fulfilment during the week, which can only benefit your approach to work.
If your Sunday night blues stem from a perceived lack of time to do the things that make you happy during the working week, perhaps thinking about how you can better integrate wellness activities and hobbies with your work schedule is a good place to start.
If you’re reading this on a Sunday and are feeling anxiety about the coming week, we hope these small slow living-inspired tips will help you regain the rest of your weekend.