OMG, it’s Sunday already!
It’s 1 p.m. on Sunday. You’re walking up the front steps of your home, hands full of grocery bags. There’s a game on later you’ve been anxiously awaiting all week! Perhaps it’s a full day of meal prep and cooking with your spouse. Or maybe you’re looking forward to a peaceful afternoon alone with a good book and a stiff drink.
It doesn’t matter what you may be doing, there’s a persistent underlying feeling of panic just below the surface. It might be a subtle gnawing dread or a tangible chilling anxiety. Maybe it’s just a case of butterflies in your stomach or a gut-wrenching angst. Whichever way this uneasiness presents itself, the fact remains that you’re not fully present. Despite having a relaxing day of free time, it just doesn’t feel like you’re free to enjoy it.
Welcome, my friend, to the Sunday Scaries.
The Sunday Scaries, an age-old phenomenon, dates back as far as the workweek itself. It happens like this:
“I don’t have to work today.”
“Ahh. I have the day off to do something I love.”
“Uh, but tomorrow I do! And, TOMORROW IS MONDAY, AND THAT MEANS BACK TO THE WORKWEEK!”
“Everything I left there last week is waiting for me this week. I have to wake up early, be on time, and be on my A-game!”
“How can I enjoy today knowing that tomorrow is coming?”
“It’s fine though, um, yeah. (Nervous inner laughter.) YEAH, IT’S TOTALLY FINE!!!!”
Of course, not everyone suffers from the Sunday Scaries. But if you do, we have a few practical tips to alleviate your suffering—and a few questions in case the issue is more predictable than just one Sunday afternoon.
Put your anxiety into context: Remember that test you failed in middle school? Probably not. BUT, at the time, it was probably all you could think about. Remember that time you had a crush on that certain someone and finally got the nerve to tell them, and they casually shot you down? Maybe, but you probably couldn’t care less now. Today’s anxiety will be quickly forgotten tomorrow. Remind yourself that whatever’s waiting at the office is perhaps of so little consequence that you won’t remember it in a month, let alone a year.
Set boundaries: Do you drink beer and watch sports at work? Do you catch up on your Netflix binge-watching during staff meetings or shop for your children’s Christmas gifts on the clock? Likely not. The same way we respect “work time,” we must learn to respect “personal time.” That email you didn’t answer? The assignment you’ve fallen behind on? The big meeting you’re leading? Work time stuff. Allow the thoughts to enter your brain and lovingly allow them to pass through by setting the boundary that Sunday is for YOU. Not work.
Sometimes it isn’t that simple, though. Sometimes the Sunday Scaries are more than a bit of anxiety and stress. IF what you experience on Sunday is dread—and the thought of heading back to the office makes every fiber in your being scream out for an escape, it might be time for a significant change. To understand if this is the case, ask yourself the following:
• During what activities do I feel happy, fulfilled, and engaged?
• What activities make me miserable?
If your tasks at work are primarily the second answer, it’s time to polish up the résumé. You only live once—do something you don’t dread! Do something you love and you won’t feel like you’re going to work at all.