You've had a great weekend--until about 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. That's right around the time that anxious feelings about heading into the work week begin to set in.
A 2015 global poll conducted by Monster reveals that not only does the U.S. lead in an apparent race to a nervous breakdown, but all the respondents indicated that their case of Sunday night blues is "really bad". A full 76% of those surveyed (up from 73% in 2013) suffer sadness and angst throughout their Sunday evening.
Why let the blues ruin a perfectly fine, even awesome, weekend? There are things you can do during your work week, as well as throughout your weekend, to fend off the blues.
1. Identify the triggers
I've heard many people say they are anxious on Sunday, but "don't know why." Sure you do, you just don't want to think about it. If Sunday sadness sets in on a regular basis, carve out the time to analyze the cause. Put pen to paper and make a list of the things that may be triggering you. Is it that you don't like your job? Are you concerned about a lack of growth in your business? Do you feel overwhelmed by your work load? Some psychologists say that people who don't have enough to do at work also feel blue on Sunday nights. Do you lack clarity or feel bored at work? Once you identify the problem you have a better chance of fixing it.
2. Do an end-of-the-week recap
I know you're eager to ditch the desk on Friday afternoon, but take a few minutes to update your project status and task list(s). When you organize your thoughts on paper (or app), your brain won't feel as burdened come Sunday afternoon. If there is no need to sort out what needs to be done on Monday morning, you'll feel less stress on Sunday.
3. Keep a journal
If you don't understand the reason for your blues, begin tracking your thoughts and feelings on paper. Even if they are random thoughts, you'll see a pattern after a while.
4. Break an old pattern
Is there no apparent reason for your angst? Some people continue an old pattern of anxiety on Sundays, merely out of habit. If you once held a stressful job, but love what you do now, your Sunday blues may be a product of the past. Neural pathways in the brain hold on to old patterns, well beyond their expiration date. There are many ways to break these patterns, including the Emotional Freedom Techniques, affirmations, journaling, and therapy.
5. Resist the urge to work
Feeding the anxiety with more stress, like spending the entire evening behind your computer, can lead to workaholic tendencies. If you do your Friday recap and remain organized with your workflow, re-entry won't be as difficult on Monday morning. If you must check emails or do a bit of work, keep it under 30-minutes. Of course, there are the occasions when working on the weekend is necessary, just do your best to keep it to the occasional weekend.
6. Have some fun
Do you see Sunday evening as a time to spend alone and unwind? If you turn to worry and angst perhaps you'd be better served to schedule simple plans for the evening. I'm not suggesting avoidance, I'm suggesting that it's easier to slump into depressive thoughts when we're alone. Be sure to examine your situation, as I suggested, but also have a little fun on Sunday nights. You can schedule times to rest in smaller chunks throughout the weekend.
7. Exercise and eat well
Were a glass of wine or beer, a pizza, and a pint of ice cream may have been on the menu this weekend? There's something about the weekend that opens the door to unhealthy eating patterns, and in moderation, that's fine. At the very least, make sure to supplement the junk food with salads and other veggies to keep your body and mind in good shape. Most people don't realize the impact that unhealthy foods can have on their mood and energy. Don't neglect a good workout or two on the weekend. Studies show that regular aerobic exercise can decrease tension, elevate and your stabilize moods, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. All it takes to stimulate the anti-anxiety effects of exercise is about five minutes of aerobics.
Monday isn't a bad day, it's just been given a bad rap. Begin your morning with a smile and a TGIM (thank goodness, it's Monday) cheer.