Here’s The Reason You Always Get So Anxious On Sunday Nights
We need to talk about Sundays.
Unless I’m disgustingly hungover, I usually wake up feeling pretty great on Sunday mornings. Just like the morning before, I don’t have anything to do or anywhere to be.
I can pull the covers back over my head and sink into my bed for a few more hours. I can lace up my sneakers and go for a run without worrying about being late for work. On Sunday mornings during the winter, I love brewing a huge pot of coffee, lighting candles and curling up on the couch with a novel for a few hours.
Then, I leisurely make breakfast and drink more coffee before heading out to meet up with a friend or take a yoga class.
Up until this point, Sundays are really top-notch days.
But around 5 pm, something starts to shift. I start to feel vaguely anxious. “What’s up with the weekend only being two days?” I think to myself.
Then, a million thoughts start to flood my brain, and none of them are good.
Crap, I forgot to organize my closet. That was on my list. Should I make a to-do list for this week so I don’t fall short again? I’m so lazy. Did I really need to have three glasses of wine on Friday? I’m supposed to be drinking less. God, I’m such a horrible failure. I can’t do anything.
Sound familiar? Even if you’re lucky enough to not hate your job — and, by the way, I don’t — Sunday nights are rough. In fact, 76 percent of people in a 2016 Monster survey reported suffering from the “Sunday Night Blues.”
Here’s what’s going on.
You know that sad, let-down feeling you get at the end of a really great vacation? A mini version of that basically happens every single Sunday night.
Here’s the thing: A lot of the happiness you get out of a vacation comes from the anticipation, and the same can be said for weekends.
Think about how happy you feel on Friday mornings when you still have full workdays ahead of you; you always have some awesome plans for the weekend, even if those plans are just sleeping and eating (hey, sounds pretty awesome if you ask me). You’re full of anticipation.
On Sunday nights, you come down from your “I’m free!” high, and all you’re anticipating is being chained to your desk, waking up too early and combing through mountains of emails. Freedom never felt more far away.
On top of that, you’re not really doing anything on Sunday nights. Most people leave those nights open to relax before the long weeks ahead, but that may be a mistake.
As Steven Meyers, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University explained to Huffington Post,
Feelings of anxiety and depression are most common when the person is not particularly busy.
By the time you’re sitting at your desk drinking coffee and doing your work on Monday morning, all your anxious Sunday-night thoughts will probably seem pretty irrational.
Sunday night sadness and anxiety may be common, but you don’t have to live with them.
Here’s what you can do.
One ridiculously easy way to bust Sunday-night anxiety is to take on whatever you’re anxious about.
If you can’t stop thinking about how many emails are waiting for you in your inbox, start reading, organizing and replying to them.
If you feel like you have way too much to do in the week ahead — whether it’s work- or life-related — start making lists. Set specific days and times for your tasks, and actually do some of them on Sunday night if you can.
If the very thought of cutting your weekend short like that makes you depressed, just spend Sunday night distracting yourself, taking care of yourself and pretending it’s not Sunday night.
Ask your best friend if she wants to grab a glass of wine with you (but just one! There’s nothing worse than being hungover on Monday morning) or make a date night with your SO. If you want to keep it chill, do something crazy relaxing like take a bath, light candles and meditate or take a late yoga class.
Last but not least, your week really is what you make of it. It doesn’t have to be going to work, eating a sad desk lunch, going home, eating a sad TV dinner, going to sleep and doing it all again.
Make a fun plan for Wednesday night you’ll truly look forward to, or make lunch plans with your favorite coworker.
And, trust me, Monday isn’t so bad. You’ve survived it before.
So long, Sunday scaries.