The ‘Sunday Scaries’ are real. Here’s how to beat the dread and kickstart your week


For many of us, existential dread consumes our Sundays, and that’s no exaggeration. On Sundays, I cross my fingers and hope that my mind doesn’t wander to the tasks ahead, filling me with worries about whether I’ve got everything in order, done everything I needed to for the previous week, and caught up with friends and family. meant to call But my mind wanders. And then he wanders again the next Sunday.

It’s not just the anticipation, and even fear, of the piles of unanswered emails and responsibilities ahead, but also more long-term concerns about fulfillment and purpose in life. One blogger wrote: “When Sunday comes, you question your entire existence.” The weekend is already passing us by so quickly, why do we spend it feeling so stressed about the week before it starts?

The phenomenon known as ‘Sunday scaries’, which entered the Urban Dictionary in 2009, refers to anxiety about the upcoming work week. Also called the “Sunday blues,” it leads to a variety of symptoms, such as a racing heartbeat, irritability, restlessness, impending negative thoughts, an upset stomach, headache, or sweating.

The anticipation can put us in a “hyperalert state,” which can exacerbate any “minor hiccups” we experience on Sunday and make the day that much more challenging, says Mark Debus, manager of behavioral health services at Sedgwick. Fortune.

Fears also stem from “time anxiety,” or our fear of not having enough hours in the day for our upcoming tasks, he says. Those who have committed responsibilities on Sundays or work as caregivers, for example, and do not have upcoming but constant tasks, fears may not be limited to one day.

With that in mind, here are some expert tips to help you get the day back:

I know you’re not alone

Since the term gained traction and is now in our modern lexicon, countless videos and tips have made the rounds on the internet. ‘The Sunday Scaries Podcast’ presented by will defries it touts itself as “a cure for the Sunday blues” and serves as an outlet for those experiencing the anxiety that Sunday brings, something deFries himself has experienced.

“After seeing again You’ve got mail enough times to sing the soundtrack from memory (in order, mind you), she decided it was time to turn her weekly panic attacks into a creative outlet.” your podcast website read

Sunday routines and tips for managing feelings of doom found an audience on TikTok, where videos using the hashtag #Sundays have garnered over 250 million views: one video saying “If you feel the Sunday Scaries, take a deep breath with me” and another with “mantras to fight the Sunday Scaries.”

What is your game plan for Sunday?

When I wake up with these nerves and I really can’t pinpoint why I’m stressed, I know I have a routine that I can follow strictly or casually depending on how I’m feeling.

“Some of the anxiety you feel about your transition to the work week may be due to the change from unstructured time to very structured time,” says Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, a psychiatrist and medical director of Health LifeStance, which provides face-to-face and virtual care. She says making a plan for Sunday (not a work plan, but an activity plan) can help ease a busy work week.

On Sunday mornings, I’ve been trying out a new coffee or pastry, usually accompanied by my book and sometimes a friend. It’s an easy routine that I don’t have to rely on others for, which has allowed me to enjoy a calmer morning and infuse some mindfulness into the day before a busy week.

Dora Kamau, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher at Headspace Inc., points to the fear many of us have of doing things alone, but says in a virtual event about the podcast she hosts: Headspace’s Sunday Scares, that “choosing when to be alone” can be a powerful tool to rejuvenate and own your time. It can also serve as self-care.

Having something relaxing to look forward to on Sundays is a place to start, says Patel-Dunn. Consider anything from reading, walking, or listening to your favorite podcast. One way to overcome fears may be to take more control over your day and save the day for an activity you enjoy.

“Cooking your favorite dish, meeting a friend for lunch, or spending more time on your self-care routine at home can all be ways to help replace negative emotions with positive emotions,” says Patel-Dunn.

Even committing to no screen time an hour before bed or designing your Monday morning outfit the night before can help create a routine and decrease morning stress, she says.

The thoughts can still be there despite the activities you’re trying to do as a distraction, and that’s why it’s important to combat stress during the week as well.

Manage stress during the week.

Sunday fears can stem from feeling completely overworked and overwhelmed throughout the week, and being terrified of pressing repeat and doing it all over again. Taking micro-breaks throughout the week and incorporating things you enjoy, including mindfulness and gratitude practices, can help relieve some of the stress that can then build up on Sundays, Debus says.

“Our brains need moments of lightness to prevent us from ruminating over stressful situations. Laugh at yourself or with others, find things you enjoy, and give yourself the time and space to do them on a recurring basis,” she says.

Make a list for Monday

Put down a pen and paper and write down what you have to accomplish in the coming week on the Friday before, so you can relieve some of the stress of the unknown. That way, when the work week ends, you have more control over what comes next.

“It allows you to worry about Monday on Monday, instead of occupying your thoughts on Sunday,” says Debus.

Knowing that Sunday and Monday can have that extra jolt of anxiety, it can be helpful not to put work off at the end of the week for Monday, and limit tasks that seem most stressful to the beginning of the week, if possible.

talk to yourself softly

While turning anxious thoughts into action is one way to ease Sunday fears, silencing the voice in your head feels like a different beast altogether, one that still rambles through my mind even if Look Like I’m having fun on a Sunday. I have found it helpful to practice gentle self-talk because I have found that many anxious thoughts come from feeling unprepared for what is to come or not feeling confident in my abilities. It even comes from feeling nervous about things in the future that I can’t control or even anticipate. A phrase as simple as “I’m doing my best today” or “I deserve to feel good today” can help. Just breathing and reminding myself of what I’ve accomplished, potentially making a “to do” list as a form of self-affirmation can reduce stress levels and improve self-confidence.

“If the Sunday Scaries strike like clockwork, there is more we can do than wish Mondays would go away,” reads a blog post on Head space. “Using the basics of mindfulness and meditation, we can change the way we relate to our feelings about the week ahead, learn better ways to deal with worrying thoughts about the future, and feel less stressed while we’re away. of the clock”.

In the virtual session of Headspace, Kamau spoke with Gael Aitor, presenter of the podcast adolescent Therapy, where both remind people to reflect on the times when to have gone through discomfort before. While we always fear the unknown, Sundays come and go, and that’s probably one of the most consistent things we can sustain.

Constant intrusive thoughts can also be a sign of a mental health condition that needs further treatment. It’s important to note that for some, fears are more than just nervousness about upcoming responsibilities, whether it’s due to feeling underappreciated or disrespected at work, or a host of other experiences that can make Sundays, and any another day, be really terrible. While these are tips that may work for some, it is important to seek help from a licensed mental health provider if the situation is more serious.

After many awful Sundays, I slowly began to happily anticipate my Sunday mornings as time spent slowing down and reading or talking to someone on the phone over a cup of coffee, rather than feeling stuck in my space and unable to to give permission to enjoy the day. I’m not naive enough to think that one day I’ll wake up and never worry or fear about the busy culture that consumes so many of us, but it’s important to start small and be mindful of how we talk to ourselves when we face unwanted thoughts. And it’s something I intend to work on.

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