Are you looking forward to going back to work tomorrow?
I didn’t think so. Even if you like your job, it’s normal to get a case of the Sunday Night Blues. I’ve had many people tell me that they’re fatigued and anxiety-ridden on Sunday nights as they think about the week ahead.
Sunday night means the weekend is over. It’s time to head back to work, school, appointments, schlepping the kids around, all the hum-drum or stressful parts of everyday life are about to resume.
Are you dreading opening an inbox with 50 million unread emails? Did you love having a slower pace over the summer and feel down about the pressures and busyness coming tomorrow? Do you hate your job, boss, or co-workers, and generally dread going to work?
A certain amount of the Sunday Night Blues is normal and common.
You may feel or experience:
- muscle tension
- headache, stomachache, intestinal issues
Sunday Night Blues and Monday Morning Dread are caused by:
- the end of weekend fun and relaxation
- anticipating Monday stress
- detoxing from too much alcohol or sugar over the weekend
- an unsatisfying work or school situation
Mondays are the obvious day to reboot our habits and begin personal changes. If starting a diet or exercise program on Monday works for you, carry on. However, you may find that anticipating the added stress of a new diet, quitting smoking, or restricting spending is too much for Monday morning. It’s perfectly okay to take Monday to ease into the week, and then begin your new habits or goals on Tuesday.
It isn’t helpful to over-stress yourself with too many changes on Monday.
How to combat the Sunday Night Blues:
Don’t leave all your chores for Sunday. Make Sunday fun, too!
Plan a treat for Monday morning. Bring your favorite tea to the office or download a new audio book to listen to on your commute.
Spend 30-60 minutes preparing for the week. If you invest a small amount of time in reviewing your schedule, organizing, prepping your lunches, etc. it will pay off by decreasing some of the anxiety around getting it all done.
Get some exercise and sunlight. Both have been shown to improve mood. Chances are they will help you sleep better, too.
Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both can interfere with sleep. And heading to work on Monday is worse when you feel like a zombie or you’re hung over.
Schedule some pleasurable activities for the week. Making a lunch date with a friend or plans to play tennis after work will give you something to look forward to.
Actively practice gratitude. It’s easy to fixate on problems and lose sight of the positives in your life. Actively writing or talking about the good things in your life can help put things back into perspective.
Create a relaxing Sunday night routine. We’re great at creating soothing routines to put babies and children to sleep, but forget to do the same for ourselves. Find what works for you – maybe a hot shower, reading, meditating, or journaling.
If these eight steps don’t help, there may be more than a simple case of the Sunday Blues vexing you. You may need to consider changing jobs, working with a therapist to get to the root of the problem, or changing your priorities or routines.
Sharon’s workbook Setting Boundaries Without Guilt is now available on her website.
Originally published on PsychCentral.com.
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