The beginning of the weekend comes with a feeling of freedom and opportunity, but somehow it always flies by and then it’s Sunday once again. Some people might take it as a sign that it’s once again time for the Sunday blues. On the last day of the week, unpleasant feelings may start to come up such as anxiety, restlessness, frustration, irritability, as well as dread regarding the suddenly all too near Monday, but why does this happen?
Fear of the Expected
This is likely anticipatory anxiety, which is fear about something that you are expecting to happen. The first step to managing this fear is to narrow it down, what exactly about the upcoming Monday or upcoming week that is making you feel this way, is it a particularly difficult task or a stressful event? Specifying the issue can make it easier to think about what you can do to solve the problem or make it a little less challenging. This can involve breaking down larger tasks or problems into smaller ones and prioritising demands, to tackle the most urgent ones first.
Another factor which might fuel the Sunday blues is having a fixed way of thinking regarding how the week is planned. If all the work is reserved for weekdays and all the fun is reserved for weekends, then this can create pressure to have a plan-packed weekend. Sometimes however this doesn’t work out as expected, with friends potentially cancelling or the weather not permitting certain activities. This can lead to frustration, disappointment and feeling like you wasted your weekend. Additionally, having your weeks planned out this way and sticking very rigidly to this schedule week after week can become repetitive and easily lead you to get fed up with the routine.
Reframe Your Perspective
Reframing your view of what Sundays, weekends and the whole week are meant to look like can help to keep you from becoming overtired during the week due to focusing only on work and this can reduce pressure from filling the weekend with fun outings and elaborate plans. This also stops you from ruminating on Sundays about how you weren’t satisfied with the weekend and aren’t looking forward to the impending Monday and new work week.
Enjoy Your Weekdays!
It may be beneficial to spread out both enjoyable activities as well as time for resting throughout the weekdays, and perhaps allow time to think about the following work week during the weekend. This can create a sense of balance throughout the days, ensuring that your resources are replenished continuously and that you are less likely to become overwhelmed while also reducing the sense of doom and gloom that comes with the Sunday blues.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Lisa Scalpello is a trainee professional offering therapy sessions to clients who are experiencing struggles in different areas of life such as work, studies or relationships, that put a strain on mental health. She is trained in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Raypole, C. (2020, May 17). Meet anticipatory anxiety, the reason you worry about things that haven’t happened yet. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/anticipatory-anxiety
Raypole, C. (2020, August 25). Sunday scaries are real – here’s how to cope. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sunday-scaries