9 Ways To Stop Sunday Scaries In Their Tracks, According To Experts

by Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro
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Have you ever had a great weekend, only to be met with an achy feeling of unease and a pit in your stomach on Sunday evening? Do you dread the work week, and think about all your upcoming assignments, projects, and deadlines on a loop as the weekend comes to an end? If you nodded "yes," you're not alone: This feeling of nervousness or sadness that happens on Sunday nights, aptly dubbed the "Sunday scaries" (or, Sunday blues), is all too common. In fact, as CBS reported, a 2017 survey revealed around half of people around the globe experience Sunday scaries, and nearly 76 percent of Americans alone claim to experience this feeling.

"We experience such freedom over the weekend, and the ability to reconnect with ourselves, that when Monday comes around, there is an internal alert and clock that reminds us that 'the grind' begins again," Tal Rabinowitz, the founder of The DEN Meditation, explains to Bustle. "It’s enough of a reminder that our body begins to get in to 'fight or flight' mode. Yet we aren’t attacking a lion, but rather, our weekly to do list. The adrenaline will set off anxiety, and begin to prepare our body."

If you find you're filled with dread come 5 P.M. Sunday like clockwork, you probably have a case of the Sunday scaries. Luckily, there are tools and tricks you can use to make this feeling more manageable. Here are nine ways to stop the Sunday scaries in their tracks.


Rule Out An Anxiety Disorder

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"The first thing you want to try to rule out is that you don't have an anxiety disorder anyways, or if you are depressed. You want to address those if that's where [your Sunday scaries] are coming from," says Dr. Sherry Benton, the Founder and Chief Science Officer of TAO Connect. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), an estimated 18.1 percent of U.S. adults have some type of anxiety disorder. If an actual mental health disorder is the root of your Sunday dread, you may want to consult with your doctor or a mental health professional on how to best tackle your anxiety in general, not just on Sunday evenings.

"If you find you are getting crippled by the Sunday scaries, I would start taking inventory on what you really want in your life. Sometimes the anxiety can also mean you are not in the right place. If some of the above exercises which should help you reconnect with you do not help, start looking at what you need to make yourself happy," says Rabinowitz.


Plan Relaxing Activities For Yourself

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Rabinowitz suggests one way to overcome the Sunday scaries is by scheduling personal time throughout the week to make your work tasks seem less daunting, and to promote relaxation. "Try and schedule daily 'you' time during the week," he says. "This will not only give you things to look forward to, [but] it helps you manage your stress through out the week."


Change Your Perspective

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"Try to reframe your perspective," Jamie Price, co-founder of the app Stop, Breathe & Think, tells Bustle. "Intentionally call to mind what actually is meaningful about school or work, how it challenges you, and what it enables you do to. Each Sunday, write down three things you appreciate about it. Try not to repeat yourself."


Make Mondays Feel Less Monday-ish

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Mondays can be a drag. But incorporating activities typically reserved for the weekend into the first day of the week can make it more bearable. "Change your Monday morning routine," says Dr. Benton. "On Monday, how do you take care of yourself? Make that Monday routine really focused on self-care so that you are arriving at work feeling positive and energized."

This practice can extend to after work, too. "Try and make Monday night another version of Sunday night," suggests Rabinowitz. "What would you normally do on a Sunday night to take advantage of that time? Is that your night for a massage, dinner with friends, or movie night? Prolong elements of your weekend through Monday, and retrain your brain that [to know] you can stay in touch with yourself throughout the week."


Try A Breathing Exercise

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Breathing exercises are obviously not a cure for anxiety, but they can definitely provide some relief — especially if the anxiety or nervousness your experiencing is a case of Sunday scaries. "While you are breathing deeply, place your hand on your heart. Notice the sensations there — maybe there is a sense of warmth, or your heartbeat," says Price. "Whatever you feel, regard it with a sense of kindness and understanding. Next, check in with how you are feeling. [...] Sometimes, the simple act of naming can create some distance and perspective, which can alleviate stress and anxiety."

Further, Rabinowitz says to "Take at least five minutes to do some slow and deep breathing; you can count to four on an inhale, and four again on the exhale [...] This will help you when you start to get anxiety, you will be able to identify the anxiety without letting it overwhelm you."


Or, Try Some Yoga

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"Another way to help relieve feelings of anxiety is to practice yoga, to consciously relieve tension in your body and get your blood moving," Price explains. "Yoga has been proven to reduce anxiety, and is a great way to feel grounded and present, which is a natural antidote to the getting caught up anxiousness."

If Sunday nights tend to make you feel stressed, try to find a weekly yoga class that you can attend over the weekend. Or, download a yoga app so you can find your zen in the comfort of your apartment.


Practice Gratitude

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As Forbes reported, practicing gratitude can improve your mental health, help you become more empathetic, and even boost your self-esteem. If the Sunday scaries tend to sadden you, keeping a gratitude journal and appreciating the small things may be a helpful way to keep your mind from going into overdrive.

"Right when I wake up, before I get out of bed, I just say silently in my head what I am grateful. It really helps to center yourself and remember all of the great stuff you have," explains Rabinowitz. "If it’s a Sunday night and you are feeling [overwhelmed], take a breath, and make a gratitude list in your head. It will help."


Finish Up What You Need To On Friday

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It can be super easy to procrastinate at work, or with school assignments, when you know it's the weekend in just a few hours. However, if you leave a bunch of important work unfinished on Friday, there's a good chance it could haunt you over the weekend — especially on Sunday evening. Dr. Benton suggests, "Don't leave big overwhelming projects on your desk. Do what you can to get as far as you can on Friday, so it doesn't feel like there's a huge thing looming for when you get back [to work] on Monday."


And Make Sure You Actually Relax Over The Weekend

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"People may not have given themselves enough down time to actually relax and recharge, so they just don’t feel up to whatever they have to face on Monday, or they don’t want to leave friends or family," Price says. Try a digital detox over the weekend, unplug from your work phone, and leave any non-urgent work responsibilities in the office. Balancing work and play could be the key to creating calmness on a Sunday evening.

Sure, it's totally normal to feel some dread at the start of the work week even when you love your job. However, if your Sunday scaries are persistent — despite any efforts to decrease your stress - it may be time to reflect on your lifestyle, and figure out whatever is triggering your anxiousness. Tight deadlines? A mean co-worker? An unhealthy work environment? Don't let the anticipation of Sunday scaries stop you from enjoying your weekend, or keep you from doing what you to get done at work or school. You may not be able to fully shake off the feeling of unease that precedes the week, but trying a few of these expert-approved tricks is sure to help.