How to overcome your Sunday scaries
According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, most Australians are working longer hours – spending more time on the job than on their household activities, caring for family, education, meals, personal care and leisure combined. If this grind sounds familiar, you probably don’t need scientific data to tell you how much Mondays can suck (though back in 2011, University of Vermont researchers used Twitter data to confirm indeed, we all hate. Mondays the most). In recent years, these Monday blues have crept into our off-the-clock hours, too: a phenomenon that’s increasingly coming to be known as the ‘Sunday scaries.’
Five reasons this ‘anticipatory anxiety’ happens
“The Sunday scaries is an overwhelming feeling of dread and anxiety about going to work or school the next day,” says clinical psychologist, Dr Renée L. Goff. Depending on your schedule, this anxiety doesn’t necessarily have to hit on a Sunday, but whenever you’re spending what’s meant to be personal time stressing about upcoming work.
And what do the Sunday scaries feel like? “Some people describe it as a heaviness they can feel in their body, while others feel so jittery they could jump out of their skin,” Dr Goff says. “You’re also very aware of the time ticking away and the freedom of your weekend coming to a close.”
It’s also extremely common. Based on different polls, 75 to 80 per cent of people experience the Sunday scaries, says therapist Amanda Stemen. But just because it’s widespread doesn’t mean it’s not manageable. Here’s how experts say you can ease your Sunday anxiety.
Structure your Sunday
“Structure can be a best friend when [you’re] feeling the Sunday scaries,” says psychotherapist, Angela Ficken. “Instead of sitting on the couch and watching the clock, go do something that you enjoy.” You might still get whiffs of that sense of dread, but that feeling is harder to hold onto when you are engaging in something that makes you feel good, she says. Plus, research tells us that adding structure to our days can help give us a greater sense of control and improve mental health. That’s why it’s not just important to structure your Sundays, but to be consistent with it, Ficken says.