It’s Sunday night, you’ve just had a relaxing fun weekend with friends and family. But then it hits you: tomorrow is Monday aka time to go back to work. Sunday night anxiety or the ‘Sunday scaries’ is something many people experience and is a form of anticipatory anxiety (opens in new tab).
It’s not unusual to feel apprehensive, stressed or scared about the week ahead. In some cases, people with Sunday night anxiety will experience anxiety symptoms like restlessness, irritability and stomach issues. Sunday night anxiety isn’t as uncommon as some might think, and there are many reasons you might be feeling this way. For example, you might have a busy week ahead, your job is stressful at the moment or your home-work balance is off.
If you tend to worry on a Sunday (or any day), here are 7 things you can do to ease your feelings of anxiety and start off your week feeling happy, productive and stress-free. It’s important to note that if your anxiety feels like it’s getting too much, speak to your GP or a counsellor, but the following tips can help the ‘Sunday scaries’ feel more manageable.
1. Check in with yourself
First, if you’re feeling extremely anxious throughout the day, take a moment to check in with yourself. While Sunday night anxiety can be down to not wanting to go back to work and needing an extra day off, your stress could stem from a deeper reason. Pause what you’re doing and try to trace these feelings to a single cause. By identifying the cause, you can manage your feelings better, take steps to solve the problem and ultimately, make the root of your anxiety easier to tackle or cope with.
2. Have a Sunday reset
This next tip is something I’ve started doing every Sunday and wow, does it make a difference! A Sunday reset is described as a day or routine that you dedicate to preparing for the week ahead. Having a Sunday reset can clear your mind and make the next week look less scary. Start your day by writing a Sunday reset checklist of things you want to get done. Writing this down will calm your thoughts and ticking things off when you complete them gives you a sense of accomplishment. The best thing I found when planning a Sunday reset was to add fun things that I wanted to do along with important tasks, for example, I don’t particularly enjoy ironing or cleaning but I enjoyed ticking them off so I could have time to myself to bake or do a face mask.
3. Get active
Exercising or going outside for fresh air can make a world of difference to your mood, especially if you’re feeling anxious. Exercise like running, hitting the gym or following an energising yoga flow (opens in new tab) produces endorphins which release and reduce stress, as well as improving general wellbeing. If you’d prefer to get outside for a Sunday walk, this helps you feel refreshed and delivers a boost of serotonin due to sunlight. Getting active also improves your sleep as it encourages your body to shut down and recover properly.
4. Prioritise sleep
Having a good night’s sleep on the best mattress (opens in new tab) is important for your physical and mental health, so you should make this a priority on Sunday night. Stick to a comforting bedtime routine and try to get the optimal amount of hours you need so you feel refreshed the next day. Sunday is also a perfect time to change your bedding so strip your bed and remake it with the best sheets (opens in new tab). If you struggle to sleep due to stress, check out these 6 ways to sleep better when you’re anxious (opens in new tab).
5. Avoid alcohol
To keep Sunday night anxiety at bay, refrain from drinking alcohol. While alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it lowers your sleep quality and disrupts your sleep cycle, which can lead to a rough start to the week. Alcohol can also increase feelings of anxiety and panic, which isn’t what you need if you’re already feeling stressed. If you really want a drink, try a soft drink that’s packed full of flavour or give these 9 alcohol-free drinks (opens in new tab) a go.
6. Set aside time to relax
Similar to adding fun things into your Sunday reset plan, take time to relax! If you’re feeling anxious, chances are you don’t want to do anything strenuous to make your stress any worse. Instead, set time aside for yourself for some much needed self-care. Popular ways to relax and calm your nerves are meditating, having a bath, reading, cooking a wholesome meal or using the best essential oils (opens in new tab) to create a relaxing atmosphere.
7. Prepare for the week ahead
The week ahead is probably what’s stressing you out, so make it less scary and stressful by preparing for the week ahead. Try simple steps so as not to overwhelm yourself, like looking over next week’s schedule, packing your bag for the office and planning your workouts or social events. Not only does this make you feel more in control but it gives you a chance to check if you’re overbooking yourself and if you can move things around to make your Monday go smoother.