How To Beat The Sunday Blues
The Sunday Blues, or Sunday Scaries, settle in for some as the weekend starts slipping away on a Sunday afternoon, and can be anything from feeling unusually anxious to a sense of impending doom and destruction.
Vague and varied in description - some scientists have extrapolated that the blues are brought on by weekend activities that disrupt our internal biological clocks (staying out til the early hours, waking up later than normal). This can mess with our circadian rhythm - for instance your alarm goes off on Monday at 7am, but your body reacts with dread as if it were 4am. Others hypothesise that it is the prospect of large stretches of unscheduled time that spins some people into an abyss (enneagram 1’s I see you), while some believe adrenal withdrawals to be the main culprit. For those with high pressure jobs, the removal of the stressful environment for two days can leave the brain demanding adrenaline - which is really no surprise with all this talk about millennials being the ‘burnout generation’. For others, feeling overwhelmed by the return to work/school/study and the workload that comes with it is to blame.
Regardless of the reason - if there is one thing we have had drilled into us on our self-care journey it’s that to work well we gotta rest well; which is kinda hard when you’re mid existential-crisis under a duvet at 4.47pm. So we put the word out to therapists, friends and readers and compiled some of their top advice on how they fight the feelings, or don’t.
“Since starting my own thing, I don't get Sunday blues/anxiety etc. I just deal with it constantly, cos my mind doesn't truly stop thinking about work. So, I have created times that are my "firewalls" where only a ‘someone is on fire emergency’, will get me to pay attention to work during those times So my Sunday is a firewall day. No work emails, limit the work chat if someone asks and just give myself permission to not be thinking about work and be really present in what is happening for my Sunday.
I find what keeps me sane is scheduling in breaks, rather than scheduling in business. I have to write a to-do/schedule my week if my anxiety is based in being overwhelmed. If I have general lowness, then I light a scented candle because you can train your mind to associate scents with feelings and hello French pear, you are trained to make me feel relaxed. Also, if it's really bad, I see what I can remove from my week and replace with something that I would look forward to more like a night in or drinks with a bestie or a massage.
I think identifying what causes your blues really helps - is it boredom at your job? Or being thrown in too deep? Or sleep deprivation for too long? Or the lack of purpose that your job brings you? Having the language for why, is really key to breaking this cycle.”
“Learn to have compassion for yourself and realistic standards, it also helps to close off work stress use realistic expectations for yourself. Try catching the negative thought patterns as soon as you notice them, and then practicing self soothing techniques and good stress release strategies. Balancing your thoughts is also a good practice to get into, alongside planning effectively and using coping strategies when you know there is a particularly stressful week ahead. But most importantly - learn to let go!”
“1. Take care of yourself on Saturday night. Drink a lot of water and if you’re out check in with yourself to make sure you’re having a good time. As soon as you’re not, get yourself an uber and go home bc Saturday nights in bed are to be relished, not feared.
2. Don’t set an alarm, let your body wake you up.
3. Importantly, get out of bed when you wake up. Make a cup of peppermint tea and have a chat with a pal if anybody is around. Some of my best conversations have been on Sunday mornings. Going back to bed after this is an option that I usually seize !! If u can’t on Sunday when can you???
4. Go to yoga! Slows me right down, reminds me to be in my body and when I do it every week I can see myself growing which is cool because it reminds me that most things in life are like that. Show up; grow slowly.
5. Lately I’ve been trying to buy less things wrapped in plastic and so going to the organic vege market in Parnell is how I look after my stressed out too busy Wednesday night future self.
6. Sunday afternoons are for friends and/or being outside. Human connection makes me better, I have to have it.
7. If I’m feeling stressed about work/anything I will usually sit down and do what I can for an hour or two, then realise that the task isn’t as insurmountable as I first thought. And it feels good to have a head start on the week.
8. Early night is the key here, I’m talking 8pm lights out. But don’t be regimented about it! But also know that it’s ok to look after yourself, and usually that means getting a good nights sleep.”
“The Sunday blues are such a thing for me, and not for any particular reason. I enjoy my job, but the idea of the impending week can still sometimes feel overwhelming. I try to trick myself by breaking down the week into the smaller things that I actually need to do – meetings I need to be at, tasks I need to complete, and things that I’m looking forward to. I find that thinking beyond an amorphous blob of being busy helps me to realise that I’ll be able to control whatever is coming at me in the week.
Oftentimes, when I have a busy weekend and haven’t got my life admin sorted on Saturday (thanks Friday night), I’ll feel worse on a Sunday. Keeping on top of that helps. Sunday is one of my favourite days of the week. I go to church, see my family, see friends, eat good food and generally enjoy life. Despite that, I’ll be dealing with Sunday blues for the rest of my working life. I think ultimately, it’s a weird tension between how great the rest of the weekend/Sunday is and a reminder that without the stress and tension of a normal week, the weekend wouldn’t even be worth celebrating.”
“I would say it’s important to find a way to release yourself from guilt. Because if you are having the Sunday blues and then you’re reading this article about ways people manage, and you're like “wow this is so healthy but hard work…” and then you don't do it and feel guilty because apparently it’s so fixable and you feel like it's your fault - you end up in this whole cycle. Deep down you know the tools to get out, but you don't always use them cos you're a human. It's okay to be human. And feel the shit of life and not do anything about it because you're a bit broken and 10 steps seem like 10 too many to manage today.”
”I think I get anxious about work and also the additional commitments after work on top of it. But if you compartmentalise and actually break down work and after work events - it isn’t as much as your brain makes you feel it is. Perspective helps - I have to tell myself sometimes that I do love what I do and I’m lucky that I get to do this for a job and that the craziness does eventually pass. As for after work events and dates with friends during the week - I think it’s perspective again. Moving to London I’ve realised the importance of having a network and your people around, so being able to spend quality time with friends is actually a blessing and not something we should be umming and ahhing about - easy to forget sometimes when all you do is feel like cancelling, but it’s actually v good for the soul to get together, have a hug and a cackle and some words of support. But on the flip side, spend some time alone and self care - get a massage, get your hair or nails done, read a book by yourself in bed. It’s all about balance and figuring out what works for you!
I also make sure I spend time doing things I like that actually make me happy, hobbies like cooking, spending time with family and friends (animal friends included), brunch, eating! I think it’s super important to take the time to be healthy and look after your body, I love a big blow out with my pals every now and then but it’s not really sustainable, and also makes the anxiety worse when you feel shitty on a Monday. Works been quite hard and stressful lately because new job and imposter syndrome...so I make sure I get enough sleep, water and I’ve actually started exercising (yoga, netball - social sports yay friends) and diet! I’m vege now and eating way less sugar which I find has made me feel way better and more energy.”
“I’ve found the only way to beat them is to book fun stuff throughout the week, not just the weekend, especially on a Monday. I feel like we really need to get away from the mentality of only “living’ in the weekends. Easier said than done, but I’m slowly working on that change of headspace.”
“My 'Sunday Blues' kicks in around 1:30 on a Monday afternoon, because Monday inevitably means another weeks worth of tasks and reminders I didn't achieve enough the week before. Sundays are big days as I’m involved with a church, so they are a little different for me than the standard 25-year-old male. Rather than recovering from the night before and spending a day lazy brunching and afternoon drinking I’m well and truly working (I usually MC some services in the morning and then run the logistics of an evening service). So with that in mind, I have a nap every Sunday afternoon for at least 2 hours. NON negotiable! Always nap.”
“Rom-com cures for Sunday Blues:
Julia Roberts: Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill (also see Hugh Grant), Runaway Bride, America’s Sweethearts, Erin Brockovich (not a romcom but a JR must)
Hugh Grant: Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones (all of them), Love Actually, Two Weeks Notice (see Sandra bullock)
Meg Ryan: When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, City of Angels
Sandra Bullock: Speed 1&2 , Miss Congeniality, The Proposal, Practical Magic, The Lake House
J-Lo: Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, Monster in Law , The Back Up Plan
Miscellaneous: Titanic!!! How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days , Ghost, Dirty Dancing, Ps I Love You, The Bodyguard, Before Sunrise, Sliding Doors, Serendipity, Never Been Kissed, PS I Love You , The Notebook, About Time , 10 Things I Hate About You, Say Anything , Sixteen Candles , New York I Love You , Save the Last Dance, Step Up , Honey.”
“Plan something fun for Monday night! My trick is to make Mondays a little less mundane. Maybe that is by spending Sunday evening and afternoon cooking a roast and extra veggies which I then blend together for a delicious bowl of soup to look forward to at lunch the next day. It also makes for quality chat in the workplace about your domestic goddess-ness.”
“If all else fails revert back to basics - have you eaten something today? Showered? Have a glass of water - take a panadol.”