Sage receptionists and staff room philosophers have long taught that every day has its own emotion. Your week progresses from a case of the Mondays through Wednesday Hump Days to Thank God It’s Fridays, looping around to the Sunday Blues, also known as the Sunday Scaries or the Sunday Sads. You survive that weekend anticlimax because you know everybody deals with it. Except some of them don’t.
Photo by Gianfranco Blanco
The Sunday Blues are a cultural given; sites such as Bustle, BuzzFeed, The Muse, Real Simple, HuffPost, the New York Times and even Lifehacker have all written about how to fight them. I asked Dr Ali Mattu, clinical psychologist and host of The Psych Show on YouTube, about the science behind the phenomenon. It turns out, there isn’t much.
Dr Mattu points to a telephone survey with 340,000 respondents, which found no strong “day-of-week effects” apart from a better mood across the weekend. This study found no significant difference between people’s average Saturday moods and Sunday moods. While earlier studies found evidence for Sunday Blues, this study’s authors blamed those results on small samples mostly composed of university students.
This is also just a tough area to study, says Dr Mattu. “All of these conclusions depend on how you ask people about their emotions. We’re horribly inaccurate when it comes to remembering how we felt in the past and predicting how we’re going to feel in the future.” He points to another study indicating that people adjust their memories of daily moods according to stereotypes such as “blue Monday” or “TGIF”.
Of course, none of this means that you can’t feel sad on a Sunday, even for all the reasons cited around the internet: Hangovers, FOMO, weekend disappointment, dread of a new work week. The Sunday Blues are real for those who experience it, but they’re not inevitable. So go ahead and try to beat them.