Strategies & Tactics

How to Overcome the 'Sunday Scaries'

August 1, 2019

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More than three-quarters of Americans report having “really bad” Sunday-night anxiety (81 percent), compared to just 47 percent of people around the world, according to a survey by Monster. The “Sunday scaries” or “Sunday blues” can be caused by anticipation of the week ahead, psychologists say, leading to a trigger of hormones associated with work-related stress and dread.

In a poll by Sleep Judge, 95 percent of respondents who experience Sunday anxiety say it’s because of anticipatory work stress, 63 percent say Sunday night is their most restless night of sleep and 62 percent say Monday is the most dreaded day of the week.

“The scaries are so, well, scary, that 39 percent of people admit they’ve called out sick on a Monday due to Sunday symptoms like debilitating anxiety, poor sleep/insomnia, depressive moods and even headaches,” according to Real Simple.

Rather than lounging on your couch all weekend and letting stress and apprehension overcome you, try watching a movie or TV show, spending time with friends and family, working out, doing something outdoors or crossing items off your to-do list. And avoid alcohol if possible — 46 percent of people who suffer from Sunday anxiety also say they drank heavily throughout the weekend.

“While a nice mimosa at brunch or glass of wine at dinner can help take the edge off, having too many cocktails can increase anxious thoughts and mess with your sleep,” says Real Simple. Instead, distract your mind from the impending workweek with active leisure, such as doing yoga, going to the movies, taking a bike ride or meeting for book club.”

Here are a few more ways to combat anxiety for the week ahead.

  1. Exercise or do something active.
  2. Watch TV, movies or other entertainment.
  3. Spend time with friends and family.
  4. Participate in outdoor activities.
  5. Do chores, complete to-do list or organize things.
  6. Read, play video games or meditate.
Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.

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