Updated: Feb 16, 2020
I hope everyone is doing well and feeling strong, clear and empowered. For this month’s blog I decided to discuss what some of us think of as the “Sunday Scaries”, a looming feeling of anxiety or an unsettled feeling as the weekend ends, and as we prepare for the upcoming week.
Some of us may be familiar with this feeling, while others might not relate to it at all. I encourage you to think about this with an open mind, because more than likely than not, someone close to you is experiencing the Sunday Scaries. Whether or not you can relate personally, being in a position where you are educated about this phenomenon can be helpful and make you a better advocate for your friend or family member who is susceptible. For those who are experiencing anxiety of any kind, having a safe person to turn to is so important.
What Makes Us Feel So Anxious About Sundays?
Over the years, I myself have seen how the Sunday Scaries have shown up at times for me and my loved ones, along with my clients. It can be a very emotionally charged time that can be hard to identify. When we are in the middle of it, it may be hard to understand why we are feeling so affected and triggered.
Many of us have trouble negotiating our free time with the commitments we have at work, and how we want to spend our remaining time. We often want to stay in our flow over the weekend and keep up the momentum of the week, which may mean that we are not allowing ourselves enough time for rest or recovery.
When trying to find balance within our modern times and higher demands, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed. Sunday seems to have become a time of stress for many. Although it is a day that we may have traditionally dedicated to ourselves and our families, it's now becoming more and more acceptable to let work become a bigger part of our weekend.
Many of us struggle with free time as it is. We either have too little or too much of it. It makes it hard to manage our load of work commitments, mixed in with our personal and familial responsibilities. Often these responsibilities are not only co-existing, they are in competition with each other.
What the Sunday Scaries Feel Like:
The Sunday Scaries usually begin mid-Sunday and stretch late into the afternoon and evening. They may present themselves as a subtle, looming feeling of anxiety, or they may have a more profound effect on how you feel about and utilize Sundays.
Many individuals feel uncertain, aloof, annoyed, and aimless on Sundays, because they are fearful of the upcoming week and what stressors may lie ahead.
When we are feeling the “Sunday Scaries” we might be emotionally moody, feeling irritated, and maybe other visible feelings of despair, and just overall UGHs. It can be hard, again, to identify why you might be feeling a bit OFF on Sunday, and to find ways to reverse the feelings of dread and anxiety.
If you have read my BLOG before, you know how much I promote and advocate for self-care as a therapist. Self-care is often hard for us to fit in, but it is necessary for us to take time for ourselves so that we don’t ultimately burn out and go into shut down mode.
Anxiety for us all is both situational and fluid, meaning that it comes and goes in relation to the things that are happening within our lives at a given time. It’s important to notice the big events or situations that might trigger you while making sure you are attending to what works best for you emotionally. Knowing that, like everything else in life, this feeling is temporary can be a good thought to remember as you navigate Sunday’s..
This feeling is temporary, and this too shall pass.
Feeling disempowered on Sunday can be very disheartening for some; those of us who get pits in our stomachs when we get caught up thinking about the uncertainty of the week ahead. I want to empower you to think that yes, Sundays can offer challenges, but we have the ability to overcome them, while tapping into our tremendous resilience.
How To Face The Sunday Scaries:
Facing the Sunday Scaries may be best handled when we shine our awareness on it, while finding practical and nurturing solutions to alleviate these intense feelings. Again, finding time to incorporate self-care will help, while giving you the outlet to release negative thoughts that are most likely linked to your anxiety.
On Friday afternoons, most of us feel such glee and excitement about the weekend. We make plans to do fun things, or plans to do nothing and to have time to ourselves. No matter how we end up spending our weekends, we can still feel the Sunday Scaries-- whether we were busy the whole weekend doing fun and passionate things, or if we chose to be more mellow and to rest.
Sunday itself seems to be the trigger, because it represents the end of a period of time, and the start of a new period of time. Whatever we are feeling let us remember that we can face it through specific acts of self-care, which I hope you can see as your secret weapon.
In addition to incorporating self-care, I also think planning and being routined throughout the week and weekend can help to reduce the overall angst in regards to Sunday’s.
Here Are Some Tips For Handling the Sunday Scaries:
→ On Friday as you leave your office or close out your work duties, pack up for the weekend. Leave your desk clean on Friday. Have everything ready as you would like it, so that Monday morning is a bit easier.
→ Have a Monday morning work routine. As you clean up your desk Friday, jot down a few things you want to tackle on Monday. This might give you a good, motivating pick-me-up, and an easier feeling about starting the week.
→ Be aware of how the Sunday Scaries are affecting you. Journal about how you are feeling at certain times. For a month or so, try rating how you are feeling on Sundays on a scale from 1-10 (1 being super anxious, upset, and frustrated, and 10 being happy and in a state of complete peace and ease). If you do this for a few weeks, you may start to notice specific activities or people that are perpetuating your Sunday anxiety, which will give you insight into how you can decrease unnecessary stressors.
→ Try my “Life as a Pie Chart” exercise. When we are feeling overwhelmed, this exercise can help us to clarify and understand our priorities. Check out the example here, and create your own pie chart, making sure to include self-care as one of your sections!
→ Make Sunday your STRONG SELF-CARE SUNDAY! Practicing self-care is important throughout the week, but if you seem to really struggle on Sundays, make self-care a huge priority on this day. You can choose a number of self-care strategies to not only connect to yourself but also to prevent some of the Sunday Scaries.
Here Are a Few Quick Self-Care Hacks:
Have a Sunday morning routine that makes you excited!!!!
Attend a frequent community connection on Sunday… Decide to get out there and into the community, and dedicate Sunday to this task. This could mean going to a Sunday morning spin class at 10 AM, getting a manicure, making a scheduled call to a friend; it's all about finding someone or something familiar to connect with. I love my Sunday morning yoga class with a passion; I love knowing that it's there for me consistently, and that I always feel empowered and aligned with the ritual of this act of self-care.
When you are spending a significant amount of time with yourself, take a moment to recognize your self-care, while showing gratitude for this gesture of kindness.
Meditate, journal, exercise, use affirmations, and repeat until feeling calmer.
Go to a movie.
Do something cultural (museum, concerts, or other performances).
Crafting! So much to do from coloring to knitting to scrapbooking, and now something called lettering is popping up which seems like fun!
Meal prep for the week. This will help you to be creative while also being practical. Spending time meal prepping for the week is a terrific way of working smarter not harder!
Spend time with children! Spending time with kids can be a great way for us to connect and feel aligned. Spending time with animals can be therapeutic as well.
Organize your home… Hello, anyone heard of the fascination of Marie Condo and her phenomenal The Art of Tidying Up?! This can be truly a liberating experience.
Watch television that is purposeful. Watch something that makes you feel excited and inquisitive. So many great shows are now on Sunday evenings, thanks to HBO which revolutionized Sunday television content. I always looked forward to spending Sundays with Carrie Bradshaw, didn’t you? Find a show that meets what you're looking for in the same way, and make it an antidote to your Sunday Scaries.
Read a good book! Simplicity at its finest.
Movement is so important, and is one of the most accessible ways to face anxiety. Use your anxiety to your benefit and MOVE! Whether its a spin class, a walk, yoga, a run, whatever works for you and gets your endorphins activated.
Be quiet. When you are feeling the Sunday Scaries, acknowledge it while also finding time to slow down and be quieter both in your surroundings and in your mind. Sit with being uncomfortable for a period of time, knowing that you’re doing this in order to feel comfortable soon, and for longer periods of time.
These are just some things that I have seen work to overcome the Sunday Scaries. I can’t guarantee that they will work for you, but there is always room for you to honor what does work for you. Don’t be hard on yourself, you already are struggling, and these suggestions are here to make you feel better, not worse.
Shine Your Light On Mondays…
Monday will always come. We have the opportunity each week to face our fears, and to respond with logic, happiness, and ease of mind. When we do this, we find ourselves in a more authentic space, living the truth of who we are and where we are.
Embrace the fact that you have an opportunity to reset each Sunday, knowing that it can be a great time to invest in yourself. One of my all time favorite therapeutic hashtags/metaphors is you have to #InvestToManifest…. This means making sure that you are doing the work that needs to take place in order for you to manifest your visions. Whether you need to invest financially, time-wise, emotionally, or in other ways, making this investment is what ultimately leads to achieving what you desire.
We are all works in progress, and we are all triggered both in good ways and in not so good ways. It's all about being committed to the process of being aware of these triggers so that we can respond lovingly and intelligently. Be kind to yourself first and foremost. Rome was not built in a day, but the awareness you need can be achieved.
This Motto always helps me…
“A Sunday well spent, Brings a week full on content.”
Till next month… take amazing self-care,