How to Overcome Sunday Fear

Sunday Fear, the Sunday Sads, or if you’re feeling fancy, Dimanchophobia. You know what it is: it’s that feeling of dread that hits you on a Sunday when you realize you’re less than 24 hours away from having to go back to work. In fact, you probably can’t remember a time when you didn’t have it, unless you were really popular at school.

See Also: Escape Work: The Best Weekend Getaways

Since there’s no medical cure (and alcohol’s not always the solution, as being hungover will only make Monday worse), Sunday fear is more of a disease that you should try to avoid, like catching a cold. There are a number of things you can try, from doing as much preparation as possible on Friday to taking more extreme measures if they’re more Sunday Mads than Sunday Sads, but there’s no guarantee that you can truly escape it; all you can do is try to make it as painless as possible.

So, stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself that you have to go back to work soon (and think of all the unemployed people who would love to have your problem!) and try these methods for taking back your weekend and avoiding the Sunday blues:

1. Have a Fun Ritual

bubble bath

If you’re the type of person who can’t imagine preparing your to-do list any earlier than Sunday afternoon, then accept that fact but stop making it something to dread. Who says prepping for the week ahead can’t be enjoyable? You probably shouldn’t try to do it while doing something as distracting as watching your favourite TV show, but why not do it over a (big) glass of wine? Another excellent idea is to dictate to your phone the things you need to do while sitting in a nice bubble bath? It doesn’t have to mean pen, paper and chair.

If you tend to spend your Sundays worrying about what all the things you need to do the coming week, then make sure you go through the effort of making a to-do list as bothersome as it may be: getting it on paper will reassure your brain that you won’t forget anything so that you can get a good night’s sleep. Try to keep your list to a manageable ten items and you will be much better prepared for a productive and well organized week. If necessary, bribe yourself by having a treat that you aren’t allowed to enjoy until you’ve done it.

If you do any scheduling, do it wisely. Ease yourself into the week by making Monday as pleasurable as possible, whether it’s by focusing on the things you like or avoiding the things you don’t, move deadlines to later in the week, and never schedule a horrible meeting for 9am Monday. Give yourself a chance to get back into the work mindset before you start tackling the things you hate.

2. Sunday Funday

Be honest, which sounds more sensible: sitting around on Sunday feeling gloomy that it’s Sunday, or getting out and doing something fun? When making your weekend plans, stop arranging all the fun things for Saturday and leaving Sunday for chores, or otherwise all you’re succeeding at is adding to the reasons you hate Sunday.

Get your chores done on Saturday, or at least plan something fun for Sunday so you have a reason to look forward to it; see a friend, get out of the house, have a marathon viewing of your favourite TV show or simply make sure to have a proper family dinner, at the table, with cutlery and without devices. Try to plan according to your mood: if you usually get depressed, plan something fun, and if you usually get edgy then plan something relaxing.

3. Unplug

Checking your email inbox 350 times will not make your Sunday more enjoyable. Checking it once can be dangerous as it could make you aware of problems you’ll need to deal with first thing Monday morning. Limiting your screen time before sleeping is common advice, but limiting your screen time throughout Sunday is also a good idea: get away from the computer and go and have fun. The more you do, the more tired you’ll be; the more tired you are, the better you’ll sleep, and the better you sleep the better prepared you’ll be to face the week.

When we’re sitting at work wishing we were doing something, anything else, we’re often thinking of our hobby or something enjoyable. Then the weekend rolls around and we end up spending it on chores, Netflix, or worse, doing nothing because we want to do as little as possible before heading back to work. That isn’t the answer, as you just end up sitting around watching the clock: you should get out and socialize or even treat yourself to a solo movie, whatever you would enjoy doing that would keep you so busy that Sunday simply disappears and you have no time for the Sads. 

4. Look back, Not Forward

We look forward to the weekend all week, and then all weekend we dread the week. We look forward to birthdays, we dread that mid-week presentation, we count down to next year when everything will be better. All of those things are about wishing time would move slower or faster toward things that are about to happen; what we don’t do often enough is look back, and when we do it’s usually to remember bad things.

Stop digging up bad old memories and start focusing on the good things: every day make a quick note of good things that happen to you, and then every Sunday compile those notes into one big list that you decorate and savour. Thinking about good things will cheer you up, and you could think about how you could recreate those things or have even better things happen the following week.

Just before you go to sleep, think of three positive things for the week ahead, whether they’re things you’re going to do, see, wear or put yourself in a position to discover. It will give you much nicer dreams than thoughts of meetings and presentations, and nice things are more likely to happen if we’re looking out for them.

5. Use Your Fridays

If you’re spending your Fridays watching the clock and bolting as soon as it’s acceptable, then stop; any time you have to spare should be time you’re using to prepare for the following week. I know you want to get on with your weekend rather than thinking about next week, but since you’re already at work, aren’t you in the perfect location to keep up the work momentum?

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If there are any tasks you can get out of the way, do so and don’t leave them as more things to do on Monday morning. Tidy up your desk, fill in your calendar, write and schedule any emails that you don’t want to send on Friday afternoon, go into the office kitchen and make Monday’s lunch. (Okay, you probably can’t do that.) Everything you get done now is something you don’t have to do on Sunday and will help you have as productive a week as possible.

See Also: 4 Ways to Break the Monotony of Your Job

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone; the Sunday Sads, Fear, Dimanchophobia, or Weekend Ugh is something that lots of other people experience every week. While the answer might be to change your job in extreme circumstances, most of the time it just calls for a simple attitude adjustment: stop thinking of Sunday as the end of the weekend, but the progression of life. Stop accepting that Sunday should be a stressful day of preparing for the week by not leaving all the preparation until the last minute; everyone gets stressed at the last minute, it’s the only way procrastinators ever get things done.

Do you experience the Sunday Fear? How long have you been suffering, and what do you do to cope? Let us know in the comments section below.