The HNP Guide to your Sunday night blues
It’s hard to put your finger on the exact moment when the weekend stops becoming the weekend. But somewhere, between batch preparing lunches for the next five days and finally tackling that mounting pile of laundry, it happens.
You feel that slow creep of dread, before the sinking feeling sets in and that’s you all out of good vibes for the remainder of your allocated leisure time. You got the Sunday night blues, and you got them bad.
Of course, they have other aliases: Sunday night dread, #sundayscaries (144k+ tagged posts on Instagram - and counting), or the especially foreboding ‘The Sunday Feeling’.
‘While not a new phenomenon, Sunday night dread does seem to be on the increase - it’s something I hear from clients in my therapy room on a regular basis,’ UK-based therapist Sally Brown tells HNP.
‘For many, it comes from the sense of overwhelm at the sheer amount of information we need to process as part of our working day and the fragmentation we feel when working reactively, in response to the demands of our inbox,’ she explains.
‘Others may feel under-stimulated by the work or that they have to fake enthusiasm for it, which can create a sense of existential “Is this it?”,’ adds. Sally ‘Or it may be a side-effect of a tendency to overthink and catastrophize and may be one of many triggers for anxiety.’
The first step to better managing your weekly mood dive is to identify what’s causing these feelings for you, personally.
‘Any emotions that become debilitating and start to affect how you function are worth paying attention to,’ she continues. ‘This may be a sign that it’s time to move on from your job - or a symptom of problems at work, such as conflict, feeling out of your depth or underappreciated.’
If that’s the case for you, it’s worth noting that change comes from tackling the cause of the problem, with the help of a friend, therapist or your line manager - probably not on a Sunday evening.
But if this is just you operating as normal whilst feeling less than enthused about your 6:30am alarm and high-pressure morning meeting? Sally says it’s likely nothing to worry about. Instead, try out some of her expert techniques below.
Four ways to fight the Sunday night blues
1/ Remember thoughts are not facts
When you have a thought such as ‘I can’t cope’ take a moment to pause and then say to yourself, ‘I am having the thought that I can’t cope’. This creates distance between yourself and the thought.
2/ Move your body
Thoughts, emotions, physical reactions and behavior all feed into your anxious spiralling in a sort of vicious cycle. You might not be able to change your thinking when feeling anxious, but you can change your behavior by getting up and distracting yourself with a walk or workout.
3/ Distract yourself
This is your time - so spend those last few hours of the weekend with purpose. Speak to friends who make you laugh, get engrossed in a box set or light a candle and practice yoga. Whatever you feel will nourish you at that moment.
4/ The golden rule: don’t ruminate
No good ever comes of trying to analyse yourself out of an anxious or low mood. The brain puts a negative filter on thoughts at times like this and is also likely to conjure up other times you’ve felt overwhelmed/anxious about work. If you want to do some self-reflection about where you’re at, great, but do it when you’re feeling okay and can look at the situation objectively.
All good? Great. Here’s to a happier Sunday.
by Claudia Canavan & Roisín Dervish-O’Kane, @allupinyourfeelings