The Sunday Scaries: Strategies for Embracing Sunday Anxiety

sunday scaries

I’m no stranger to panic attacks on a Sunday, or as they’re more commonly known, The Sunday Scaries.

There have been many Sunday afternoons and evenings where I’ve been a complete mess. I struggle to eat, my cortisol levels are through the roof, and I dread the next day.

It was way worse when I was in high school and university, and it has gotten better as I’ve started working.

But the other day, I got hit with the Sunday Scaries.

Honestly, it had been so long since I’d felt Sunday anxiety that it came as quite a shock. But as soon as my palms got sweaty and I felt that sinking feeling in my stomach, it all came rushing back. My anxiety was back (again)

Understanding the Sunday Scaries

Sunday nights can often be overshadowed by an overwhelming sense of anxiety and restlessness. This Sunday anxiety (or, in some cases, Sunday depression) really wrecks the weekend and leaves you feeling apprehensive for the week ahead.

The phenomenon, commonly known as the “Sunday Scaries,” arises from the anticipation of the upcoming workweek (or school week) and the challenges it may bring.

If you’re feeling more despondent about the week, this can also be known as Sunday Blues or Sunday Night Blues.

sunday anxiety

What are the Sunday Scaries?

The Sunday Scaries refers to the feelings of anxiety, stress, and dread that people experience as the weekend draws to a close. This phenomenon can be caused by a whole bunch of things. Here are just a few:

  • Uncertainty: Anxiety and uncertainty go hand in hand. And the unknown challenges and tasks of the week ahead can lead to a sense of apprehension and unease.
  • Work-related stress: Lingering work-related issues from the previous week or the thought of tackling upcoming tasks can contribute to Sunday Scaries (and even lead to Monday anxiety).
  • Transition disruption: Shifting from the weekend to the week can be jarring, especially if you’ve had a super relaxing weekend and your week ahead is structured or busy. This can be jarring, causing discomfort (and, of course, anxiety).
things to do on a sunday

Anticipatory Week Anxiety

Anticipatory week anxiety is closely related to the Sunday Scaries (and is often the root cause behind those feelings). It involves worrying about future events, responsibilities, or outcomes, which can manifest as physical and emotional symptoms.

Some common sources of anticipatory week anxiety include:

  • Fear of failure: The worry that upcoming challenges may be too difficult to handle can lead to anxiety.
  • Perfectionism: This is one of the overlooked signs of anxiety. Setting excessively high expectations for oneself can create anxiety about meeting those standards.
  • Lack of control: Feeling overwhelmed by the uncertainties of the week ahead can trigger anticipatory anxiety.

Strategies to Overcome Sunday Anxiety

That Sunday anxiety isn’t going to go anywhere unless you face it head-on and deal with what’s going on behind the scenes. Here are a few techniques you can use to make your Sundays less scary.

facing the sunday scaries

Mindful Reflection

Take some time on Sunday to reflect on the positive experiences and accomplishments of the past week. Practicing mindfulness can help shift your focus from anxiety to gratitude. You can also use the FEAR acronym to determine what barriers are preventing you from facing Monday.

Mindfulness isn’t easy. Sometimes you need a push to get there.

Plan and Prioritize

I love lists, and whenever I feel overwhelmed, they’re my go-to. Create a to-do list for the upcoming week and prioritize tasks. Breaking down larger projects into smaller, manageable steps can reduce feelings of overwhelm. It’s worth setting time aside to conduct a mental health check-in.

Self-Care Sunday

Dedicate Sundays to self-care activities that rejuvenate your mind and body. Engage in hobbies, practice yoga or meditation, take a walk in nature, go for a massage, or simply unwind with a good book.

If I’m really struggling, I either try to attend a Sunday evening yoga class or try doing some yoga at home.

Set Realistic Expectations

Recognize that perfection is unattainable, and it’s okay to face challenges and setbacks. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that mistakes are integral to growth.

Reach Out for Support

Share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or qualified therapist. Voicing your anxieties can provide relief and offer valuable perspectives.

Create a Positive Monday Ritual

Kick Monday anxiety to the curb. Instead of viewing Mondays with dread, establish a positive ritual, such as enjoying a favorite breakfast, listening to uplifting music, early morning yoga, or practicing affirmations.

Break the Routine

Make Sunday evenings enjoyable by engaging in activities you look forward to. Attend a social event, watch a movie, or try a new hobby to create positive associations with Sundays. Make a list of things to do on a Sunday evening and do them.

Sunday Anxiety and Depression

sunday depression

There have been many times when I’ve complained to friends and families that Sundays are the worst. What’s meant to be a day of rest and relaxation is usually a day of anxiety, panic attacks, and a lack of sleep.

A bad Sunday can result in a bad Monday, which becomes a bad week. Embracing Sunday and all it brings up for you is an important part of growing.

Understanding where your Sunday Scaries are coming from is the first step in combating the anxiety and depression that can come with the end of a weekend. None of us want the weekend to end, but we can’t control the passage of time.

By understanding the factors contributing to these anxieties and implementing practical strategies, we can approach the new week with an optimistic outlook and a sense of empowerment.

Gentle Reminder

It’s natural to feel some apprehension about the future. But with self-compassion and a little bit of planning, you can transform Sundays into days of self-care and readiness for the adventures that lie ahead.

the sunday scaries

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *