How you can beat the ‘Sunday scaries’


If you’re feeling overcome by a growing sense of dread as the last of the weekend passes, you’re not alone.

Seven in 10 Britons experience ‘Sunday fears’, according to investigation commissioned by the government in 2022.

Suddenly, the task that seemed like a good idea to abandon on Friday calls, a complaining inbox awaits, and the ambitious weekend to-do list remains incomplete.

Work stress, lack of sleep and looming to-do lists were the main causes of feeling stressed or anxious on Sunday.

Sunday terrors are a form of anticipatory anxiety; in other words, worry about something that is yet to happen.

Apparently, the Sunday terrors peak for many people just after 5 p.m.

The distraction tactics people reported varied by age group: 18- to 24-year-olds are most likely to browse social media, 25- to 32-year-olds binge-watch TV, and 33- to 40-year-olds resort to social media. to comfort food.

But one psychologist warned that these tactics can actually exacerbate the problem.

So what should you do to deal with the Sunday night blues?

Do your worst task first

Tackling Sunday night anxiety starts earlier in the weekend.

Workplace wellness specialists Thrive4Life recommend doing your worst tasks on Friday night and Saturday morning, so you don’t get hung up when Sunday rolls around.

Be strict with your relaxation.

Set an intention to rest and relax on Sunday and stick to it, recommends Thrive4Life.

Try mindfulness or meditation

Yes, mindfulness is a mental health buzzword, but it can help you break the cycle of excessive, anxious thinking and ground yourself in the present.

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If you’re worried about ending up ruminating on Monday morning, try using a guided recording through an app.

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Photo: iStock

Work on a project

Working on a project that requires your full attention, whether physically or mentally, is a good way to distract your mind and stay away from bad habits like turning to alcohol, says Mental Health First Aid USA.

That might mean taking up gardening or DIY, or focusing on knitting, a crossword puzzle, or a craft project.

reach out to hands

Similarly, getting some exercise is a good way to keep the body busy so the mind doesn’t race.

And hopefully it will tire you out enough to get a good night’s sleep.

Make a to-do list

This may seem counterintuitive if a to-do list as long as your arm is part of the reason for your anxiety, but prioritizing your tasks on Sunday can help you focus your mind on Monday.

Plan a gift

The age-old need for a “little treat” to deal with daily life has become meme-worthy. Do adults really deserve a cookie just for arriving at the office on Monday morning?

If the prospect of it will make you feel better on Sunday night, the answer is yes.

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What can employers do?

The University of Exeter developed a toolkit for employers to help workers.

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Their tips included hosting free meetings on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons so employees can prepare for the week and finish to-do lists.

They also suggested offering support to their team, being accessible as managers and knowing where to refer colleagues for mental health support.



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