It is October, which means one thing: It’s officially spooky season.
It’s time to play all your favorite horror movies and TV shows on repeat, decorate your home with pumpkins and spider webs, and set up that haunted house to frighten trick-or-treaters.
While these are the kind of scary things we love, there is another kind of scary thing that lasts year-round; something we’re not too fond of: The Sunday Scaries.
Ah, the Sunday Scaries—something many of us have experienced at one or many points in time.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, Headspace details, “The Sunday Scaries (or Sunday blues, as they’re sometimes called) are feelings of anxiety or dread that happen the day before heading back to work. According to a LinkedIn survey, 80 percent of professionals say they experience the Sunday Scaries, with over 90 percent of Millennials and Gen Z reporting they feel it.”
Maybe it’s 8pm on a Sunday and we’re shuddering at our to-do list for the week, or it’s 3am on a Monday and we awaken from a nightmare about an upcoming presentation. Whether it’s the number of projects, meetings or difficult conversations that spin your head around before the work week begins, rest assured, you’re not the only one experiencing these levels of stress and anxiety.
So, what can you do to defeat or mitigate the Sunday Scaries?
Have no fear: Progress’ People Team wants to help you. Read below for tips from a few of our People Team members from around the world.
“First things first: Why are Sundays scary for you?”
Courtney Gagne, Inclusion and Diversity Program Manager (U.S.) suggests you think about that question to get to the root of your fear.
She continued, “Are you overall burned out? Is there a major project coming up? Is your Monday full of too many meetings or stressful ones? If you can pinpoint any potential stressors, try to address them with your manager, restructure your schedule or possibly even get outside support.”
Ani Girgitsova, Talent Management Director (Bulgaria), also recommended understanding where your feelings come from.
“Reflect on what stands behind the feeling of dread or anxiety,” she said. “Is it because of a long to-do list for Monday, a specific work issue or maybe an unpleasant task? Or perhaps it’s the FOMO of all the fun things you could be doing instead of going to work. Sometimes just by calling out the trigger, you can reduce the intensity of the emotion.”
If your brain won’t go quiet as you try to fall asleep Sunday because you’re thinking about your upcoming tasks for the week, don’t let your thoughts keep spinning—write them all down.
“It really helps to do a ‘Brain Dump’ list before going to bed,” said Lauren Walters, People Experience Parter (U.S.). “Writing all your to-do’s down will help your brain not spin when you’re trying to go to sleep.”
Piyali Bandopadhyay, Manager, People Experience & Operations (India), expanded on this tactic. “Break down your tasks into manageable steps and set realistic and achievable goals for the week,” she said.
And you don’t need to wait for a Sunday evening to roll around to prep for the week. Instead, maybe consider setting aside time on Friday to prep for the upcoming week.
Courtney recommended, “Prep a to-do list on Friday to set you up for success Monday. You can separate it into: 1) Imperative tasks to dive right into, 2) what can wait and 3) what you need help with.”
You worked hard throughout the week; let yourself rest for the weekend and do things that bring you joy.
Ani suggested, “Build a pleasant Sunday routine. For some of us, this may mean ’me-time’ for things like reading a book, meditating or booking a massage. For others, maybe it means seeing friends, going to brunch or hosting a dinner.”
Piyali also agreed on the importance of unwinding for the weekend.
“Give yourself time for self-care activities like engaging in hobbies you enjoy,” she said. “Try not to dwell on work-related thoughts and enjoy your Sunday evening with your family and loved ones.”
And this “logging off” tip remains straight through Sunday night when your head is on your pillow trying to fall asleep. Lauren recommended, “try no screen time at least a half hour before bed.”
Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed about the week ahead, but if you begin your Monday in a peaceful way or give yourself something to look forward to, you could reduce that stress you’re experiencing.
Courtney shared, “Create a Monday morning routine that helps you feel calm and prepared.” This could involve waking up 30 minutes earlier than needed so you can go for a walk, journal, practice meditation, or even watch an episode of an adored sitcom.
In addition, Ani suggested, “Make Mondays something to look forward to. You could try a new coffee brand, treat yourself with your favorite breakfast, or wear your favorite outfit.”
Maybe you’re thinking you work remotely and there’s no need to wear your new blazer. Wear it on Monday. See how you feel.
One more piece of advice for reducing your Sunday Scaries.
“Let’s think about our accomplishments from the past week to boost confidence. Consider the beginning of a new week as a week full of opportunities,” Piyali said.
It can be easy to let your head and heart spiral into a state of self-doubt as the looming deadlines and tasks leave you questioning your ability to accomplish everything. But as these feelings arise, as Piyali calls out, remind yourself of all the good you’ve done previously.
Remember that time when you presented in front of a crowd of people and handled the Q&A with ease? Or when you met a big deadline on a project despite a few bumps along the way? Or that time when you were anxious about leading a meeting but managed it well in the end?
Sunday Scaries are only scary if you let them be. Remind yourself of all you’re capable of, write down what needs to get done, and have confidence in your abilities. Soon Sundays will simply be another day of the week.
Danielle Sutherby is a senior communications specialist at Progress, where she supports Progress’ employer brand efforts, raises awareness of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts, assists in PR activities, and strategizes employee engagement activities worldwide. Danielle is also the co-founder of the first employee resource group at Progress, Progress for Her, which aims to empower women at the company by providing leadership and networking opportunities. When she is not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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