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How To Beat The “Sunday Scaries”

Having a case of the Mondays is a common enough feeling. It’s normal to occasionally wish the weekend would never end. For many people, this common feeling of anxiety and frustration can creep into your Sunday.

You may know this feeling as the “Sunday Scaries.” Albeit, not a scientific term, there is some science behind why so many people struggle with the start of the week. According to a study that reviewed 50 million Twitter posts for happiness sentiment over a period of time, Monday posts had the lowest levels of happiness. And, a Monster.com survey of Americans reported that 76% of respondents have really bad Sunday night anxiety.

It’s time to reclaim your Sundays and enjoy Monday. Here are some tips to reclaim your weekend and beat the Sunday Scaries.

Move weekly planning to another day.

If Sunday is your day to do grocery shopping, clean the house and prepare the family for the week, it could contribute to a less than relaxing Sunday.

If you can’t get away from some chores on Sunday, that’s understandable. But shifting some of the big items to another day can reduce your stress and anxiety and keep Sunday for rest and relaxation. Rena Szabo, director of the psycho-oncology program at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, suggests planning for one, time-limited chore for Sundays and shifting the rest to other days.

Make meal prep a family activity.

“Meal planning, whether it is for grab-and-go lunches to take to school or work during the week can help make life easier, but can also help stick to any goals that have been set - weight loss of overall health,” says Nicole Hahn, lead clinical dietitian at Banner - University Medical Center Phoenix. Hahn has these tips lower meal-time stress:

  • Get the family together and make a shopping list. To save even more time, many grocery stores, like Walmart, offer free grocery pick-up so you don’t even have to go in the store!
  • Designate a different day for meal prep – it doesn’t have to be Sunday!
  • Prep your ingredients for each recipe and place in storage containers, so you and your kids have healthy options to grab for breakfast and lunch.
  • Prep your dinner ingredients and store in the freezer or fridge so they can easily be pulled out and prepared during busy weeknights.

“If your food is ready for you, you’ll rethink that trip through the drive thru,” Hahn says. “Avoiding dining out has many benefits. It can save you money and aid in your health and wellness goals.”

Shut off phones and devices – at the very least, work email.

While some of us may be good at stopping work at 5 o’clock on Friday, others may struggle with not staying in touch over the weekend—especially if it’s an email from your boss. Now with our smartphones, we are connected to work and people 24/7/365. But, research shows this isn’t good for your mental health.

Get enough sleep.

Sleep is a fundamental building block for health. If you aren’t getting enough and/or trying to recuperate sleep on the weekend, your health is being impacted. “People need to stop thinking of sleep as a balance sheet,” Dr. Szabo says. “Essentially what people are doing when they skip sleep on weekdays, with the idea they can make up for it on the weekend, is they are increasing their health risks. Sleep hygiene needs to be practiced every day.”

Make Monday better.

Create a Monday “vibe” or routine that eases you into your week and lifts your spirits. You may want to create a motivational music playlist as you get ready in the morning, have a cup of your favorite coffee, meditate or break a good sweat in the morning at a workout class.

“Physical activity helps increase production of endorphins and makes you feel good,” says Hahn. “It can also help you relax your mind and forget about a stressful day and focus on other tasks at hand.”

Try shifting your usual Monday tasks to Tuesday, so you can focus on easing into the week. Over time, you may begin to notice a little more pep in your step as you start your week—and a little less dread.

Take time to figure out what works best for you and work toward lowering your anxiety about the upcoming week. With a little planning and self-care, you can better enjoy your entire weekend and the week ahead.

If you have a hard time doing so, you can consult a licensed therapist who can work with you to get your Sunday Scaries under control once and for all. To find a Banner Health specialist, visit bannerhealth.com.

Anxiety Behavioral Health Stress