The Sunday blues, Mondayitis; call it whatever you want but we’re all pretty familiar with that sense of looming dread that suddenly appears as the clock ticks down to the end of the weekend and the working week creeps closer.
Don’t worry; you’re definitely not alone. In fact, one global study found more than 75 per cent of us suffer a case of the “Sunday scaries” almost every week.
The causes can be different for everyone, but one common culprit is that underlying feeling of stress about all the tasks you’ll need to achieve in the coming week. For others, it’s the knowledge that “your time” is coming to an end, and that you’ll be back on the clock in a matter of hours.
And when you combine all of that with a couple of late nights and a few extra drinks — both of which are pretty common on the weekend — you’ve got the perfect recipe for a case of the Sunday blues.
Whetever the reason, it is a real and damaging phenomenon. But with the right tools, you can fight them off.
According to Dr Alice Boyes, author of The Anxiety Toolkit, one cure for the Sunday blues actually begins on a Friday. Dr Boyes says we need to treat our weekends as a genuine break from work, and the easiest way to do that is to clear as many of your outstanding tasks on a Friday afternoon as possible.
“Mondays often feel worse if you have to make a cold start on an overwhelming task,” she says. “Preparing for Monday on the prior Friday will give you the feeling that your week is off to a calm and organised start, before you even step foot into your workplace.”
Yes, it’s always tempting to sneak off for an extra-long lunch on the final day of the week, but by buckling down and closing off as many tasks as you can before you leave for the day, you’ll reclaim more of your weekend, knowing that as you go to bed on a Sunday, you’re facing a clear schedule for the week ahead.
CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE
One of the easiest ways to keep your Sundays free of stress is to ensure your Monday schedule allows you to ease into the week ahead. So move those early morning meetings to the afternoon, and make sure there are no big decisions to be made before lunch. That way, you can spend your Monday morning worrying about them, rather than your Sunday night.
HAVE A GRATEFUL WEEKEND
It’s time to change your mindset about weekends. Rather than worrying about how short your break is, try feeling grateful for the time you got to spend with your family and friends, or just relaxing away from work. When you go to sleep on Sunday, replay your favourite moments from the weekend, and start thinking about what you’ll do on the next one.
RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES
While there isn’t much in the way of detailed research into the Sunday blues, plenty of experts agree that lifestyle factors play a role. If you’ve spent your weekend drinking and partying, or even just eating more rich food and sleeping less than you would during the week, then that will all play a role on your state of mind on Sunday evening.
I’m not a huge drinker, but I’ve found as I’ve gotten older, my hangovers have gotten worse and worse. It seems like I can’t even have a glass or two of wine with dinner without feeling terrible the next morning. Is there anything I can do?
Hydration is key here, and you should be aiming to match every alcoholic drink with the same amount of water. And while I never usually recommend soft drinks, a major study in China found that, of 57 beverages tested, Sprite was the most effective at breaking down the alcohol enzymes. So remember, it’s water the night before, and a glass of Sprite the following morning.