It’s sad to see a good thing end, which is why most of us feel a little down on Sundays. You’re suddenly aware that Monday is looming, and you begin to feel a sense of dread. Even if you enjoy your work, the anxiety can really bring down your day. This weekend, plan ahead and nip those Sunday blues in the bud.
Schedule Something Fun
Breaking Bad was a great show, but I partly looked forward to it just because it made me forget it was Sunday night. Scheduling something fun on Sunday evenings can take your mind off upcoming work or other weekday obligations. In a way, it feels like you’re prolonging the weekend.
But you might consider something a little more active than watching TV. Researcher Carrie Mogilner tells Real Simple that active leisure will make you happier:
“If you’re engaged in an activity that keeps you moving, you’re absorbed in the moment and your mind has much less room to allow workweek worries to sneak in and take hold,” says Mogilner. So while we’re forever grateful to HBO for transforming Sunday nights, you may want to DVR your favourite episodes and watch them on a night less fraught with anxiety — say, hump day.
You could schedule a Sunday evening date with a friend, invite people over for dinner or visit family — whatever keeps your mind on something other than the close of the weekend. Of course, you can schedule fun activities alone too. But being social might help you get ready for being around people on Monday.
You could try volunteering too. Volunteering can make people happy. You feel a sense of purpose and community, and being engaged this way can make you forget about the Sunday blues.
Also, when you volunteer, you’re usually in work mode. It’s a great way to prepare for being at work without actually being there.
Get Your Work Together on Friday
Sometimes the transition from Sunday to Monday feels like going from 0 to 60, and this can make Sundays especially dreadful. It’s jarring. To combat this, do a little preparation on Friday before you leave work. Go ahead and schedule or organise your tasks for Monday. This way, you’re aware of what you’ll be working on and the weekend won’t end so abruptly. Knowing your Monday is planned can soften the blow of being thrust back into the work week.
Similarly, I sometimes schedule a small amount of work on Sunday. It’s usually something quick and mindless — nothing too taxing, but enough to make me feel a bit more confident as the weekend ends. You might do something as simple as check your work email on Sunday night so you aren’t overloaded first thing Monday morning. It might not work for every personality type, but if you get the blues because Monday seems too daunting, you might give this a shot. It may seem counterintuitive to work on the weekend, but just a little preparation can put your mind at ease and let you enjoy the rest of the day a lot more.
Do Chores on Saturday
The same way it helps to plan something fun on Sunday, it might also help to not plan anything you dread.
We often schedule fun activities on Saturday and leave our chores and obligations for Sunday. If you do this, try switching things around. Chores might make you dread Sundays even more.
Plus, those dreadful activities might not be so bad when you do them on a Saturday. It might actually give you a fresh perspective on them, because you’re in a better mood. As Real Simple puts it:
For example, visiting your great-aunt in the retirement home when you’re already feeling down may remind you of the shortness of life; seeing her with a fresh Saturday-morning mind-set might move you to reminisce about summers at the cabin (happier for her, too).
That also makes for a better, more fulfilling experience, putting you in a great mood on Sunday.
Don’t Schedule Monday Meetings
You have enough work waiting for you Monday morning, so don’t add to it. If you have any control over your schedule, try to make Monday a low-key work day. Don’t put anything too lofty or taxing on your schedule, because chances are you’ll already have enough after playing catch-up from Friday and the weekend.
Of course, you might end up feeling quite productive that day. In that case, you can always take on more work when that time comes. But knowing you have a Monday full of projects, meetings, and obligations can make that Sunday anxiety even worse.
Or maybe there’s a work task you really enjoy doing. If so, schedule that task on Monday. This way, you’ll have something to look forward to other than meetings and your usual busywork.
Consider Any Deeper Issues
There could be a deeper reason for your anxiety on Sunday. For most of us, the Sunday blues are just a natural part of the week’s rhythm. But if you’re dealing with a more complex issue, the blues can be downright depressing.
Maybe you hate your job and know it’s time to move on. That’s a whole other topic (and one we’ve written about), but it can make Sundays worse for you than it is for most people. In this case, you might have to address the real problem, whether it’s learning to survive that job or finding a new one.
Psychology Today points out that the Sunday blues might even stem from childhood anxieties for some of us. Maybe you were ruthlessly bullied in school, and Mondays make you feel vulnerable and unsafe. Maybe Sundays subtly remind you of custody issues with your parents. Whatever the reason, understanding exactly what upsets you about Sunday, if something more serious, could help you work through your depression.
Beyond recognising any issue, Psychology Today says it can help to think of Sunday as part of an ongoing process, not an endpoint. Friday isn’t a beginning and Sunday isn’t an end — they’re simply a procession of days, a part of life. In fact, this can help all of us. Work can be done any day of the week, we only traditionally choose to take Saturday and Sundays off. But they’re days like any other, and there’s nothing inherently final about Sunday. Thinking of the week in those terms might help shed the stigma associated with Sunday.
It’s only natural to feel a little down when the weekend is over. But a few habits and tweaks to your schedule can help shift your perspective and see Sunday for what it really is: just another day of the week.