Inevitably on Monday mornings I have messages on my office phone that were left for me on Sunday evening or night-more so than any other day of the week. Why? The answer is simple: People stress out on Sunday nights more than any of the other six nights. It's a time when they focus on everything they dislike about their work, their lives, and relationships. They ruminate over deadlines, projects, and satisfying their managers all while neglecting their own health. Despite their best efforts they can't seem to turn off the worrying about what lies ahead and finally get to sleep.
Here's what you can do to beat the Sunday night blues:
1. Decipher fact from fiction.
What makes you anxious about returning to work? Is it based on reality or on something you imagine? For example, did your manager actually say you need to work at home over the weekend or are you assuming he or she expects you to? Focus on what's within your control, not on what's beyond it, and certainly not on that which might be based merely on fiction.
2. Prepare for Monday every Friday.
At the end of each work week, take 5 or 10 minutes to prepare for the next week by straightening up your work space, tying up loose ends, and making a to-do list. Investing the time now will help ease your mind for the next 48 hours.
3. Relax as much as you can.
When planning your weekend, don't over schedule and certainly don't leave stressful activities for Sunday.
4. Plan your Sunday according to your mood.
If you ordinarily feel depressed on Sundays, then arrange a fun activity such as a special restaurant dinner or hanging out with friends. If you typically find yourself edgy, then indulge in something relaxing such as a movie or reading.
5. Balance your sleep patterns.
If you get up at 6 a.m. during the week but sleep in on the weekends, you may not be tired come bedtime on Sunday. Leave Saturday for sleeping in. On Sunday try not to deviate too far from your regular wake up time.
6. Stop staring at the clock.
Turn your alarm clock away from the bed so that you aren't reminded of your approaching workday. Have confidence that it will wake you at the appropriate time.
7. Count your blessings.
Before you go to sleep, identify three positive aspects about your job or day ahead. Drift off to sleep looking forward to what you like about your job rather than dreading what you don't like.