Welcome to our easy guide to warding off those weekend worries
A recent global poll has revealed that 76 percent of us suffer sadness and angst on a Sunday evening. Not only is it anxiety-inducing to think of the fact that your relaxation time for the week is well and truly over, but most of us struggle to spend our Saturdays and Sundays genuinely unwinding in the first place, due to our crazy and chaotic schedules. If you’ve spent the weekend socialising somewhere far away, taking your brood to and from swimming lessons or simply swinging your shopping trolley around in various supermarkets, it’s vital to leave time to relax and unwind pre-Monday grind!
It’s easy for many of us to turn to a tipple if we’re feeling glum, but Sunday night drinking sessions are not the answer. Not only is alcohol a depressant, exacerbating any feelings of anxiety, but it also forms connections that will create a negative association in your head, making the cycle of sad Sundays an even harder one to break. Often feeling lonely is a catalyst for anxiety, but alcohol is not a worthy companion. “Don’t drink alcohol as it countermands the benefits of being alone,” says Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder of Nosh Detox (noshdetox.com). “Getting tipsy is a way of avoiding being by yourself.” If you crave a refreshing beverage, try swapping that Baileys for a bowl of strawberries and cream or an alcohol-free alternative.
“It’s not breaking news that staying fit is an effective form of stress relief, but many people associate gym classes and scheduled physical exercise with their weekday routines, forgetting to leave time on a Sunday for any feelgood fitness activities. “When you train on a Sunday night, it ups the endorphins in your system for around 24 hours — increasing the likelihood that you’ll wake up on Monday feeling positive about the week ahead,” says Keith McNiven, founder of Right Path Fitness (rightpathfitness.com). He suggests a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session on a Sunday night for the most effective endorphin release, allowing you to feel accomplished and renewed as you get into bed.
“Put pen to paper, have a journal and release all your worries,” says Danielle Collins, world leading face yoga expert. “Write down the best and worst case scenario. The best case scenario helps you put it in to perspective and feel positive about this most likely outcome, the worst case scenario makes you understand that, if the worst happened, you could handle it.” Seeing Monday morning as an opportunity to start afresh, and making a list of things you’d like the new week to bring, is a great way of venting your frustrations with how you’ve fallen short of expectations in the past, and working out how you might achieve what’s important to you in the future.
Sometimes a stressful Sunday evening can be the result of leaving everything to the last minute – we’re only human, it happens. If meal prepping, ironing and packing school bags are tasks that loom over you like a dark cloud that’s about to burst, then get them out of the way. Sunday evenings lend themselves to waves of worry. Get all of your life admin done in the morning and spend the evening taking your mind off the fact that you have work tomorrow. If you’re having a lie-in on a Sunday, not only are you going to find it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep before Monday, but you’re also less likely to achieve tasks that might be playing on your mind throughout the day.
Feelings of anxiety often arise due to our most loathed foe: fear of missing out (FOMO). Looking at photos of friends and family meeting up over the weekend without you can lead to worry that you’re being excluded. “My top piece of advice to combat Sunday stress is to switch your phone off, and don’t look at it again until Monday,” says Melanie Lawson, founder of Bare Biology (barebiology.com). “Dedicate the evening to doing something for you. Read, or attend a yoga class!”
As you’ve already got your irksome chores out of the way by midday it’s time to get drafting ideas (rather than shopping lists) for something slightly more fun. Organising a trip to the cinema with a friend, attending a group exercise class, making Sunday night date night or an evening of board games are all extremely beneficial ways of curbing those cravings for a replay of Friday. If you’re looking after the kids or simply can’t be bothered to get dressed up and leave the house, give a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while a video call. Hearing a familiar voice and seeing a friendly face for an hour or so will automatically relax you and put you at ease, as it’s human nature to feel comfortable around people or things that we can anticipate the behaviour of. Talking is great therapy, too! If there’s something particular about Monday that’s making you melt down, speaking to someone that you feel close to can help you gain some valuable perspective.
Try to understand exactly what’s triggering your troubles each time a new week approaches. Organising yourself in advance is a great way to stave off counterproductive thoughts. Although your mind may be on the bottle of Merlot and chicken madras you’re planning to pick up en route home, get those tasks completed and make sure your Friday self looks after your future self! However, it’s important to be kind to yourself, as psychotherapist Jane Barnfield Jukes explains. “If you’ve mentally set yourself the task of preparing for Monday on Friday night, but end up forgetting, don’t worry all weekend and beat yourself up mentally.” Cheer yourself up by putting together your favourite outfit to slip into on Monday, something that you feel good in. Clothes can make a significant impact on confidence and mood, we often stitch happy memories to our favourite garments. If your top five fashion items are in the wash, why not organise to go for lunch with a friend or colleague on Monday? This will take your mind off of aspects of the day that you may find daunting.