How to Beat the Sunday Scaries

My Sunday night anxiety is nothing new. As a kid, I remember laying in bed wide awake, gazing up at the glow-in-the-dark stars that stylishly dotted my ceiling, and wondering how it could possibly be that I had to wake up at 6 a.m., get on the bus, and trudge through another week of seventh grade. I could sense the freedom of the weekend slipping through my fingers, only to be replaced with feelings of dread at thoughts of homework, gym uniforms, and general 12-year-old social angst that rendered me sleepless.

RELATED: 8 Small Ways to Calm an Anxious Mind

The Sunday scaries have accompanied me into adulthood, and in my 20s, they get a bit more complex. Anxiety over the looming workweek ahead gets all mixed up with the regret of what didn’t get accomplished over the weekend. As I try to cram all of my weekend to-dos into an hour on Sunday night, questions flood my mind. Why didn’t I clean my apartment while I had the time? How do I possibly have so many meetings on the calendar this week? And honestly, how did I spend so much money on brunch?

Whether your Sunday scaries look more like weekend regret or week-ahead anxiety, there are some easy ways to prevent that familiar fear. Here are a few ideas:

Get organized

Before your weekend even begins, take a few minutes and make a list of things you would like to accomplish. Scheduling actual time to do things like laundry, grocery shopping, and running errands earlier in the weekend can free up the rest of your break for real downtime. Plus, writing things down means you (hopefully) won’t be panic grocery shopping Sunday night as the store closes.


Make real downtime a priority by limiting your screen time over the weekend, and avoid spiraling down the social media rabbit hole. If you can make it through the weekend without checking in on work, do it. Creating a true separation from your weekday online behaviors will allow you space to look at the weekend as a time of relaxation and renewal.

Don’t overdo it

The weekend is obviously a great time to meet up with friends, go out, or hit up a house party, but remember to enjoy yourself without going overboard. Staying out until 3 a.m. and drinking too much means you miss out on the chance for rejuvenative sleep. Your Sunday morning headache could turn into a weeklong one when you begin the work week feeling worn out.

Think small

There’s something to that old “one day at a time” advice. If you’re thinking about the week ahead and already overwhelmed with the amount of meetings, work, and personal events on the calendar, think a little smaller. Take a shorter-term approach, and consider ways to make your Monday awesome. Make your lunch ahead of time, lay out your clothes for the morning, and go to bed in time to get a full eight hours of sleep.

Make Sunday spiritual

Approaching Sunday mindfully can help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with the Sunday scaries. Go to Mass and spend an extra 15 minutes before or after in quiet reflection. Exercise your body along with your spirit by taking a calming yoga class, or spend 15 minutes before bed in quiet prayer or meditation. Wind down the weekend by quieting your mind, and head into Monday feeling refreshed and renewed.

Originally published April 28, 2017.

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