You are not the only one feeling anxious every Sunday

Your Sundays don’t always need to be so dreadful. Here are some easy ways to cope with those Sunday blues.

Myupchar November 17, 2019 07:00:17 IST
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You are not the only one feeling anxious every Sunday
  • Surprisingly, people reported feeling less happy on Sundays than on any other day of the week

  • We often underestimate how much downtime of doing nothing we might need to feel refreshed for the coming week

  • Wrap up anything you think might make you panic over the weekend on Friday

Monday blues are well-known: most of us wake up a little grumpier and a little sadder on the first weekday. And it’s understandable, too. Even if you love your job, the weekend is over and you have to leave your comfortable bed for your less-comfortable office chair. 

But now those feelings aren’t limited to Mondays. Studies show that office-goers are feeling an increased amount of anxiety on Sundays, too. Research published in 2009 in Social Science Research Network, a peer-reviewed journal, noted that Sundays tend to be “blue” - surprisingly, people reported feeling less happy on Sundays than on any other day of the week. 

You are not the only one feeling anxious every Sunday

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Many times this anxiety has to do with the to-do list for the next morning: most of us have our office emails and messengers on our phones, and as the number of unread messages rises, so do our anxiety levels. Other times, the anxiety arises from not having accomplished everything that you planned to do over the weekend. You wanted to go to the gym, meet your friends for drinks, clean your room, call your mom, do the laundry… Wait, is that a doctor’s appointment that may have slipped through the cracks? 

We often overestimate the number of things we can get done in two days - maybe because we often underestimate how much downtime of doing nothing we might need to feel refreshed for the coming week. 

This anxiety is often called “Sunday sadness”, and it is a form of anticipatory anxiety. Just like the best part of a great event (like a birthday or a holiday) can be the countdown to it, the worst part of a workweek can be the lead up to it, starting sometime Sunday afternoon and heading well into the night.   

Don’t worry - all hope isn’t lost. Your Sundays don’t always need to be so dreadful. There are some easy ways to cope with these feelings:

1. Start with your Fridays.

It’s possible that the cause of your "Sunday scaries" is the pile of work waiting at your desk on Monday. One way to deal with this is to end your Friday on a better (re: organised) note. Don’t be in a rush to get out of the door. Clock in an extra few minutes if you have to, but make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Make a list of the things you’ve managed to accomplish in the week and plan out your goals for the next week. Wrap up anything you think might make you panic over the weekend. Basically, try to leave work at work when you walk out of the office building. Even if you have Friday night plans that you might be running late for - a few extra minutes of work can give you two whole stress-free days. We think that’s a fair trade. 

2. Get some chores done during the week.

Some people have a clear distinction in their minds - weekdays are for work and weekends are your personal time. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Your weekdays from 9 to 5 (or whatever your work timings are) are for work. There is time before, after and even during your lunch breaks that’s your personal time. You can easily fit some chores in there. Lunch with a friend on Monday, a grocery run after work on Tuesday, a quick trip to the mall on Wednesday, post-work date night with the SO on Thursday… It might sound hectic but it will leave your weekend wide open.

3. Must find a hobby. Even if it’s something as simple as colouring. 

"An idle mind is the devil’s workshop." The more you keep yourself engaged, the less time you’ll have to feel anxious. A hobby helps you do just that - it doesn’t even have to be a hectic one like a sport or dance form. It can be an at-home one like adult colouring, which has been proven to help ease an anxious mind and reduce stress. 

4. Experiment with coping techniques: meditation, deep breathing, PMR, etc.

Everyone is different and you must find a coping technique that works for you. This helps with the really bad days when you think you’re just spiralling down a rabbit hole. Some find meditation to be helpful, others just don’t have the patience for it. Deep breathing is one we all turn to in hard times; remember to do this when you feel like you’re losing control over your thoughts. PMR stands for progressive muscle relaxation - it helps a great deal when anxiety starts affecting you physically. It only takes 10 minutes a day to practice and involves tensing different muscles in your body (one by one), holding them that way for a few seconds and then releasing. 

5. Start associating Mondays with something happy. 

It might sound very simple but can be a very powerful tool. Give yourself something other than work to associate with Mondays. It could be your favourite dish for lunch, a dance class, or even a trip to the local animal shelter. Maybe "adopt" a dog outside your office - shower him with attention and nibbles come Monday. Pet therapy is known to work wonders to beat the blues. 

Don’t just stop with Mondays - you can start associating your Sundays with something fun too. Like a self-care day! You can set aside 2-3 hours of the day to pamper yourself and do all the things that make you feel great.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Anxiety: Causes and Remedies.

This is the first article in a series on Self-care Sundays.

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