How to manage workweek anxiety
Monday. That word can bring up a feeling of dread and anxiety specifically related to starting your work week. The “Sunday Scaries” are a very real form of anxiety that can start on Sunday afternoon and evening, related to the beginning of the coming work week.
So why do we experience the Sunday Scaries?
Work is a major life stressor for many people. Not only is work generally tied to one’s livelihood, it also can embody a lot of one’s self identity.
In media, TV shows, articles, music, books, even the Sunday comics, work is portrayed as a nearly intolerable place where all adults spend 8-10 hours per day, 5-6 days per week.
When someone’s job is framed in this way, of course going to work is going to be an anxiety provoking event.
Monday is the day that is furthest from the weekend, and on Sunday evening, the work week can seem to stretch out forever. This anxiety is preemptive – meaning we feel anxiety while anticipating something that is going to happen, but not something we can do anything about in that moment.
Worrying is not an insurance policy.
When you feel anxiety, you are not preventing the worrisome event from happening. This is especially true when it comes to anxiety about your work week. Being miserable on Sunday does not make Monday come any less quickly.
How do I manage the Sunday Scaries?
Try thinking about work in a different way.
While work can be challenging at times, it does not have to be an awful place all the time. Try to reframe how you see your work week.
- What do you look forward to throughout the day?
- Do you have any friends or confidants at the office?
- Did you bring something fun for lunch?
Thinking about work as somewhere you sometimes enjoy being can drastically reduce work stress.
Make Sundays a day you look forward to.
Plan something fun for Sunday afternoon or evening. Sunday evening can feel like time where you are just waiting for that inevitable moment when the weekend is over, but Sundays also have potential to be relaxing and fun.
Plan dinner with a friend, go see a movie, or play a board game with your partner. Even looking forward to watching a short television show can help to make Sunday evening feel less anxiety provoking.
Use Sunday to plan for the week ahead.
Being prepared is a great way to reduce preemptive anxiety. Plan out what you’re going to wear to make sure you are not rushed while getting ready, make your lunch for the next day, and make sure you’re prepared for any meetings that you have.
Once you are prepared, allow yourself to relax and do something fun. Try making Sunday morning the productive part of the day, rather than waiting until Sunday night.
Sleeping in can be tempting, but this makes the day feel shorter, and can make sleeping on Sunday night more challenging. Try getting up at a (semi) early time, and taking care of your to-do list then, so that you can relax later in the day.
Work does not have to be a place we dread being, but anxiety is a normal thing to experience prior to starting your week. If your Sunday Scaries start to become Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Scaries, it might be time to think about addressing the anxiety in a new way.
If your anxiety feels completely unmanageable, consider talking to someone to figure out additional coping skills that might help the work week feel more tolerable.
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