Have you ever felt distressed on a Sunday afternoon, thinking about a workday ahead? Similar to feeling blocked to take a decision you don’t feel certain about. Has the anxiety ever visited you just before returning to the office, school, or work after holidays?
If yes, then that’s a feeling many call The Sunday Scaries, The Sunday Blues, or similar. By the way, they actually can happen on any day of the week. What is it? Essentially, it is your whole body and mind sending you a soft reminder, or actually even screaming:
“Hey, I’m not ok and even the thought of what or how the upcoming stuff is planned is dreading”
In short, that’s a clear and alarming signal that something isn’t truly right.
One of the usual suggestions on how to cope with it is planning a relaxed Sunday, or scheduling something fun for Monday. To me, that sounds like that shallow suggestion to address a burn-out by a spa day. Or advising someone who’s fuel tank is low to turn on the music and drive.
Although one can silence the alarm for a while if a core reason isn’t treated… Well, the tank will be empty sooner or later, bringing some more alarming consequences along.
I don’t recommend ignoring the Sunday (or Anyday) Scaries. They are Your intuition sending signs, speaking to you from within. It’s your compass! Don’t stand in your own way by silencing it.
To hear what the intuition is trying to tell through the alarming Scaries, one firstly needs to stop and listen. Listen and try to understand the lesson. The dialogue with intuition will always give some valuable insights.
Can you for instance crystalize the key triggers behind this feeling? What is the situation you’re anxious to think about? Why not to write it all down to yourself, or talk about that with someone you trust, before you decide how to address it?
To shortly answer the question from the header of this article. The Sunday Blues can teach you to listen to your intuition and apply the precious insights to improve your life.
To not leave you with a beautiful and inspiring statement but no practical examples, I will list some of the possible causes and ways to address the Sunday Blues. However, these are just some very common reasons. The list of all what can cause people anxiety or fear before a certain day or decision is not limited to these.
Only You can identify the specific reasons, real root causes of the situation triggering your Sunday (or anytime) Scaries, and address them properly.
- Possible issue/trigger: Being involved in activities or with people that drain your energy and don’t bring a sense of fulfillment.
- Possible solution:
a) If there’s something you can stop doing, can you stop? Saying No doesn’t have to feel bad, you can find my tips for that at my article about the power of saying No.
b) If there’s something you cannot stop doing, like grocery shopping, plan those kinds of errands in a way that won’t cause you extra stress and won’t tempt you to procrastinate. For instance, if you can’t stand shopping live, why not start ordering home delivery from the grocery store?
- Possible issue/trigger: Feeling stuck in a role you’ve outgrown, but not taking actions for change.
- Possible solution: What does a meaningful job mean to you today? What’s the next step in your path towards it? One usually cannot change a job role the next day, but that’s ok. Be proud of yourself for acknowledging the fact that you are not content – it’s a first step of transformation. Ask yourself what’s the one thing you can do now that would initiate a change of the situation. For example, deciding when to prepare to apply for the role you’ve been thinking of. Talking to your manager about growth opportunities. Discussing with someone you trust how you feel, and ask for advice. Joining the community of people in the field you are thrilled to think about. In any way, dare to live your life not to please other people but to feel freedom and fulfillment on your own terms.
- Possible issue/trigger: Experiencing imbalance in how your time is spent. For example, due to lack of sleep for quite some time already and – oh dear – now there’s another intensive week ahead.
- Possible solution: This one is about setting boundaries in your schedule. Social media & Netflix until midnight may give you a short term satisfaction that night, but if you do this everyday your brain won’t be rested. What are such parts of your life that are neglected? Time to free some time and prioritize what will make you feel better.
Like one of my role models Melissa Wood says “How bad do you want to feel good?”
- Possible issue/trigger: Doing what you like only on weekends, which – whoops – always pass away too quickly.
- Possible solution: Describe how you imagine life that you wouldn’t need to take weekends to rest from, and commit to taking action to design that life in reality. Or would it all be satisfying if you balanced your activities better throughout the week? Revise your schedule and adjust accordingly. If there are small irritating in your routine that cause this, you can find some tips in my article about management of micro-stressors to improve wellbeing.
- Possible issue/trigger: Drawing worst-case scenarios for something that’s planned the next day and not feeling confident or prepared.
- Possible solution: If that’s for example a presentation, take time to record yourself and review. Or rehearse with a colleague and ask for advice. If you’ve already invested enough time for preparation, remind yourself that you are actually prepared and you’re presenting to a group of human beings. You don’t have to control exactly everything during the presentation as it may become too robotic, and you cannot and should not expect to please everyone. It’s another time too shine and become even more professional next time.