Up until recently I’d never heard the term “Sunday Scaries”. It’s not that it didn’t exist but before the internet (yes, I’m old enough to remember that) but there really wasn’t a name for it. And to be quite honest I don’t think it was nearly as pervasive as it is now. There’s something about the high stress, high pressure world we live in that has everyone running a million miles a minute. So, it makes sense that on Sunday, the day most people devote to rest and family time the sense of doom and anxiety would become oppressive. It’s like the immobilizing leg cramps people get if they take a break while running a marathon. While I can’t help with those leg cramps… sorry guys. I can give you some tips to eliminate the Sunday Scaries.
Tactical Steps to Eliminate the Sunday Scaries:
Being prepared for the week ahead is enormously beneficial. These steps help you get everything planned and ready to go and set you up for a successful week.
1. Front Load Your Week
Let’s start with the most practical tip of all (but not the most important), creating your schedule and taks lists. I’ve been talking a lot about time lately and you can totally get my Newsletters to learn more about how to plan for success and front load your week. But let me summarize. Pick a day every week, I do this on Sundays and get yourself set up for the week ahead.
- Review your progress from last week. (Do NOT beat yourself up, this is just so you know what’s working and what’s not and have some idea of what needs to be carried over).
- Review your upcoming task list. (Just jot down anything that comes to mind in a notebook or the back of your planner, so you don’t have to remember it).
- Fill in your schedule for the upcoming week. (Using tips, you can find in my 10 Tips to Master Your Schedule post).
- Chill! (Once you’ve finished making a plan for the week set it aside and move on. If you think of a task you’d forgotten about just add it in or start a new task list for next week).
2. Meal Prep
I don’t like to grocery shop on the weekends, so I tend to do this on a weekday evening (luxuries of working from home) or Saturday instead. That said, meal prep is essential to making those busy weekdays run smoothly. In addition, eating nourishing healthy food enables you to be more productive, intentional, and checked in. Plus, it helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The BIG Shift to Eliminate the Sunday Scaries:
Now that we’ve gotten those pesky tactical steps out of the way, let’s address the root of the problem. Eliminating the Sunday Scaries is really all about mindset and it’s time to make a BIG shift! Check out these steps to creating a positive mindset about your upcoming week so you can kick back and relax!
I have an affirmation practice I engage in every day and I hope you do too. That said, I lean into them particularly hard if I’m going through a difficult season or stressful day. Every Sunday I like to review my affirmations and add anything I think may help me in the week ahead. I also look up motivational quotes to post around my house (and office) and write them into my planner for the following week.
4. Move Your Body
One of the best ways to combat anxiety in general is to get moving. Sunday is a great day to get a project done around the house or take the kids (or dog) to the beach or park. Being active, particularly out of the house helps decrease cortisol levels and increase happy hormones. Plus, it’s a great distraction and will help you get an amazing night’s sleep.
5. Sunday Celebration
Did you get through last week? Did you accomplish anything? Maybe you took a shower, got a workout in, or did your job? YAY!!! It’s time to celebrate! Listen, adulting is hard! If you’re adulting the best you can, you should celebrate that!
Celebrating your small wins signals your brain to calm down and be happy. It causes a little dopamine release that soothes you and makes you feel awesome. And guess what, if you consistently celebrate your small wins, you’ll create a mindset shift. That shift will cause you to look for your successes, strive for more, feel proud of your accomplishments, and celebrate even more. There is no better way to eliminate the Sunday Scaries than to train your brain to do it for you automatically.
How should I celebrate, you might be thinking? How’s about some self-care! That’s right, good old-fashioned self-care! Cuddle up with a book, binge watch some Netflix, take a bath, or grab coffee with a friend. Do something that feels indulgent and pampering. Remind yourself that you’re worth it!
Sunday is an excellent day to detox from your devices. Get off social media, which is usually a pressure pit. Shut down your computer. And power off your cell phone (yes, I am for real). I’m convinced that the internet and constant access and communication is bad for you. And I’m not the only one! It creates a consistent hum of distraction and fills your life with external pressure and demands. If you aren’t ready to shut it down for the whole day, at least take a break. Set specific hours that you will unplug and write it in your calendar.
8. Enjoy Your Hobby
Here’s a thing I’ve noticed, far less people have hobbies nowadays (no, I’m not really old enough to use words like nowadays but go with me here). Until Covid Isolation came around most of the people I know didn’t really have hobbies. They were too busy being ping pong balls bouncing from place to place and demand to demand to even consider what they might want to do in their spare time. Afterall, you have to have spare time to even consider a hobby. Here’s the thing though, hobbies are important. Not just to our mental health but to our physical health as well.
Finding something you enjoy enough for it to become a hobby can be tough though. Especially with today’s impossibly high standards. So, let me just get this out of the way and let you know up front that you don’t have to be good at your hobby. Not even remotely. As a matter of fact, having a hobby you love but kinda suck at when you start out is a great way to break perfectionist tendencies and learn to give yourself grace (both of which are factors in the Sunday Scaries). Just be sure you know when to put it down… we aren’t trying to fill your Sunday with frustration.
9. Write a Love Letter
Please, please, please… if you do NOTHING else on this list do this one! Take the time to write yourself a love letter. Start off by doing it every Sunday. And keep them all. You can write in a journal or just put them in a binder. But one of my favorite things to do with them is put them in an envelope and write on the outside “for when…”. So, for example it might say “for when you’re fearful”, “for when you’re facing a big challenge”, or “for when you need a happy thought”.
If you don’t know what to write about, don’t worry. Take a moment with your morning coffee or tea and think back to a time you felt great or really accomplished and jot down everything you remember. Write a letter to your younger self encouraging and supporting her through a difficult time. Remember some challenge you overcame and praise yourself for your perseverance, hard work, and creativity. You might not realize how far you’ve come. You may forget or doubt yourself sometimes (maybe even right now). This is a great way to stay mindful of your personal triumphs.
Writing these letters to yourself on Sunday morning or afternoon will infuse your day with feelings of confidence and increase your self-esteem. By the time you finish your letter even the most daunting week won’t scare you! And you’ll also be building a library of encouragement, support, validation and motivation. Get these letters out and reread them when you need to. Remind yourself of how amazing you are!
Imagine big flashing lights over this one… you are a human being, not a human doing. It is so important to just be. It is so important to nurture and care for ourselves. As a matter of fact, everything depends upon it. Your health, your career, your relationships… everything. Remind yourself that the time you take to rest, to just be, to celebrate yourself, practice self-care, build your confidence, play with your kids, etc. is time very well spent! We are not the sum of our accomplishments and we certainly aren’t the sum of our worries. Your legacy will never be what you do. It will be who you are. So, stop living in the future, eliminate the Sunday scaries. Prepare for it the best you can then let it go and allow yourself to just breath and be!