“Sunday Funday” turns into “Sunday Scaries” faster than we’d like. It’s no secret that Sunday night might be the saddest time of the week. More often than not, the dread of Monday coming up causes us to hate Sundays.
But turning Sunday around is possible. Here’s how to combat those end-of-weekend blues, no matter what type you experience.
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1. If You Feel Nervous
Maybe you have a presentation, interview or review in the coming week. It’s natural to feel worried, but you don’t want this stress to ruin your much-needed recharge time.
“Scan your future week for positives, which switches the part of your brain that is processing the week from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex,” says Shawn Achor, positive psychology expert. “This (changes your brain from) stressing to searching for meaning and solutions.”
Practicing a speech you will give or going over interview questions with a friend will also make you feel more prepared, which can help stave off worries.
2. If You Feel Dread
Achor suggest finding a happiness booster.
“The brain cannot process both negative and positive at the same time, so replace the negative thought with a positive attention grabber,” he advises. “Watching even a short YouTube video or a funny sitcom activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which rebuilds your body and focuses your brain.”
See? Those mindless (yet amazing) cat videos really do make a positive difference.
If you still feel a sense of dread, try doing something active, like taking a walk or doing a short workout, will boost your endorphin levels. This might shake you out of that funk.
3. If You Feel Anxious
It’s easy to feel anxious about the week ahead, especially if you have a lot on your plate — whether that’s multiple deadlines or laundry that still hasn’t been folded. One tactic that will help you shed that anxiety is to step back and celebrate.
“Take a moment to think about all of the accomplishments you had in the past week,” says psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser. “Pat yourself on the back, throw some confetti, and celebrate the good moments.”
Then take some time to set positive goals for the week so you can move forward to greater success and happiness.
If your past week was terrible and triggered those anxious feelings you have now, call a friend and vent. Getting your feelings out, instead of keeping them bottled up or replaying thoughts over and over in your mind, will help ease those twinges of worry.
LISTEN: How to Let Go of Financial Stress, Shame, and Guilt on the HerMoney podcast.
4. If You Feel Lonely
When you’re single, it might feel like weekends tend to be reserved for partners and families. In these moments of loneliness, make plans.
“I always try to schedule something I look forward to on Mondays and Tuesdays,” says public relations professional Jessica Douglas. “Whether it’s lunch with a friend, a favorite workout class, or a FaceTime date with a pal who lives out of state, having something to look forward to helps so much. Instead of dreading Monday morning, my energy shifts to anticipating my fun plans.”
If you need something more immediate, surprise a friend by writing them a letter, or stock up on birthday cards you can send to wish friends and family happy days in the future.
5. If You Feel Disorganized or Unproductive
Perhaps Sunday night suddenly comes and you’re annoyed at yourself for not getting anything done.
“Sometimes we set lofty goals for what we can or should accomplish on the weekends, and often projects and errands take longer than expected,” says Carrie Krawiec, licensed marriage and family therapist. “We may feel like a failure if we don’t get everything accomplished.”
Feeling more organized can come with a little to-do list. Putting it in writing can give you some guidance on hitting goals (even small ones).
“Write down what you want or need to accomplish that week and put it in your calendar,” says Paula Felps, science editor at the magazine Live Happy. “Making to-do lists can sometimes seem overwhelming because it reminds you of what you need to do. But it also makes the tasks more manageable because you can organize them. And you’ll feel great as you tick off each item you’ve completed.”
To feel instantly productive, take the easiest, most fun, or least time-consuming thing on your list and do it right away.
6. If You Feel Burned Out From the Weekend
You’ve just had two glorious days off work but, for some reason, you feel totally drained. Recharge by giving your brain a rest, suggests Achor.
“Burnout occurs when your brain resources have been depleted,” he says. “The best way to replenish them is to decrease the amount of information your brain is processing. Try to decrease the noise in your life by just 5% by muting commercials or turning off the radio for the first five minutes in a car, or meditating for two minutes.”
Another cause of burnout could come from having a little too much fun on Saturday night. Increased alcohol consumption on the weekend, and the resulting poor sleep, will definitely affect how you feel Sunday night.
“Tiredness is going to leave us susceptible to irritability, low motivation, fatigue and other symptoms of depression,” says Krawiec. Drinking lots of water and getting some exercise will help combat this sluggishness.
7. If You Feel Unmotivated
Maybe the reason you’re feeling not-so-stoked about the week ahead is rooted in the fact that you no longer enjoy or believe in what you’re doing.
“People can become dissatisfied with their jobs and feel an overall lack of fulfillment and purpose in what they do each day,” Rose says. “Many people are not living up to their potential and it can become an erosive emotion.”
If your current job isn’t inspiring you, maybe it’s time to look at ways to motivate yourself outside the job, Felps says.
“Look for volunteer opportunities [because] helping someone else can be an excellent way to change your perspective and reignite the fire inside,” she suggests. “Or consider the value of education. Learning something new, whether it’s continuing education related to your profession or pursuing a hobby or craft you’re interested in, is a great way to re-engage the brain.”
If you really just need to start looking for a new job, dedicate some time on Sunday evening to researching options for your next move. Doing this probably won’t make you look forward to going into the office the next day, but you’ll be taking a step in the right direction for your future happiness.
8. If You Just Feel Unhappy
In some cases, you might not be able to pinpoint exactly how you’re feeling and it’s just more of a general sense of unhappiness.
“It may sound cheesy, but count your blessings,” Felps advises. “Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re happy for. Then, focus on those throughout your day. For example: Think about the rewards your job gives you, like paying for your car or allowing you to work with people you like.” This practice could lead to regular journaling, which can be an effective way to work through your feelings.