Think back to last Sunday. What were you feeling? Can you remember?
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Back to last Sunday. How were you feeling?
“Do you experience elevated anxiety on Sunday in anticipation of Monday?” 81% of working Americans answered “Yes” to the question. What about you?
I’ve been polling a few people I’ve bumped into this week. Everyone I talked with has a time when their Sundays were hellish because of what they were anticipating on Monday. Even people I thought had not a worry or anxiety in the world had stories of stress and struggle.
According to this survey it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or how happy you are with your job or how well you get along with your boss, Sunday anxiety about Monday’s work creates problems for many of us.
59% reported symptoms of Anxiety.
43% reported Poor Sleep.
37% experienced Depression.
On and on down through the reported symptoms of “Panic” “Sweating” and “Headaches” to “Nausea,” “Crying,” and “Nightmares” for 6% of the respondents.
The dread can begin on Sunday morning but for most, evenings are when the anxiety-related dread lands.
What about you? Do you experience the “Sunday Scaries”?(That’s the survey’s phrase). If Sundays are difficult for you, you’re not alone. In fact, it appears that if Sundays aren’t rough for you, you’re in the minority.
This flavor of anxiety is a lonely desperation.
Anxiety with bursts of insomnia has been an ongoing struggle for me through the years. Often Sunday nights were the worst. Sunday evening was the starting line for the weekly anxiety Grand Prix I’d hold in my head as I rolled into my workweek.
Years ago, one of my coping strategies was a Sunday night binge of ice cream and BBC reruns while postponing bedtime to the point of absurdity. I’ll admit to sitting in front of the TV with that tub of Blue Bell and a long spoon, trying to convince myself I was feeling better as those old BBC comedies rolled past midnight.
It didn’t work. On Monday, I was sleep deprived, anxious and dealing with an ice cream hangover.
The survey indicates that booze is a popular coping mechanism. Not only do many Americans use alcohol on Sundays to deal with anxiety, alcohol might actually make the anxiety worse. I’ve tried all sorts of over-the-counter chemistry…mostly it made it worse.
If this is familiar ground to you, what do you do? Hit reply, you’ll reach me. I’m curious what works for you.
In this season of my life I have the Sunday Scaries managed (mostly). My work is joyful and fulfilling but has significant pressure. It’s not as cushy as I’d prefer some times. But Sundays aren’t chewing me up the way they have at other points in my life. Maybe what works for me will help you if you’re swirling on Sunday.
For years now, I’ve had an ironclad, no exceptions Sunday night routine that involves carefully managing my thinking, my intake, my emotions and bedtime. No work, no work discussions and no email. Before Sunday evening, I spend a moment on the calendar to be sure I know what the week ahead holds. (At times just seeing those tough meetings and looming deadlines would start the spiral). Because of that, as much as possible I separate Sunday night from my work pressures of the week ahead.
And exercise. If I get enough exercise I’m much, much better. And I often make Sunday a harder or longer workout. Endorphins and fatigue are a great combo. For some, exercise gets in the way of sleep. Not me, I can drop right into that runner’s high and conk out. Again, know yourself.
A bedtime routine increases the odds that I can sleep. I’m more careful and rigid on Sunday evenings. You will rarely find me doing something social after dinner on Sunday night.
You’ll read experts that recommend a variety of tricks and methods. I know my devotions and meditation in the mornings anchor my thoughts. Mindfulness meditation has increased my ability to throw the control rods on the swirl of fears and “what ifs” that used to hijack my attempts to sleep.
Knowing yourself is the key. I know how much sleep I need. I know my reactions to caffeine, alcohol, sugar and other remedies (none are particularly helpful to my sleep). And I pay attention to how I’m doing emotionally. When it’s tough I lock down and increase my margins as much as I can. Experimentation is key.
I hope you’re not churning on Sunday nights, but if you are, try a different routine to interrupt the pattern. I’d love to know what you think. You can hit reply and reach me. Thank you for this connection.
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