A: Even if you’ve never heard the phrase Sunday Scaries you have probably experienced them. You’ve had a nice weekend, but on Sunday afternoon an eerie feeling starts to creep in. Your mind starts thinking anxiously about the week ahead - your email inbox, your to-do list, and your appointments. You feel overwhelmed, like you’ve run out of time before you even get started, and you’re already counting down the moments until the next weekend.
Many of us suffer from anticipation, apprehension, and dread when facing the looming workweek. A recent study on LinkedIn showed that 80% of workplace professionals feel some sort of discomfort on Sunday night. In other words, you're not alone.
The good news is this cycle is reversible and even preventable. The truth is our minds are bossy and unruly. It is up to us to be aware of our thoughts and learn how to control them.
Here is a practice that can help:
1. Awareness and Recognition
Sit in a comfortable, quiet place. Set a timer for 3 minutes, put pen to paper, and do a thought download. Write out everything you are thinking – what you’re looking forward to and what you’re dreading. Nothing is too small or silly. Name it. Getting it out on paper gets it out of your head.
Look over your writing. How does reading this download make you feel? What sensation are these thoughts giving you? Are theyhelping you? Are they necessary? Question with curiosity not judgment.
When thoughts feel big or scary your brain recognizes this negative thought pattern and wants to perpetuate the cycle because it's familiar. To break the cycle of doomsday thinking, notice the thought, breathe into your body, and ask yourself direct and simple reframing questions, like “How do I want to feel tomorrow?” Naming the feeling will help you choose your next steps.
4. Empowered Action
Once you know how you want to feel, take action that reflects that feeling. For example, if you want to feel “prepared,” take a few simple steps that will make you feel ready for Monday. Write out your schedule. Plan something fun to look forward to. Pack your bag and set it by the door. If you work from home, tidyyour workspace. Schedule time for a walk with a friend or set aside time for a funny podcast.
Now that you’ve taken these steps, come back into the moment. It’s still Sunday. Take 5 deep breaths. Settle into your body and environment. Enjoy your Sunday evening knowing you are prepared for the week.
Cass Ghiorse is an integrative health coach and the founder of MIDLINE. She has been on staff at NIKE, Eileen Fisher, and Google among others. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.findyourmidline.com and on Instagram @cassghiors
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