Sunday anxiety is real. We’ve all experienced that shuddering, “gosh it’s nearly Monday” feeling. It’s a form of anticipatory anxiety that creeps up as time ticks by on Sunday and edges closer to Monday. We feel a deep sense of dread or a feeling of impending doom about the upcoming school week, even though it hasn’t started yet!
As the minutes pass on Sunday, you’ll probably notice you feel restless or uneasy. This feeling is often the catalyst for stress and anxiety for your whole week so it needs to be nipped in the bud. We all react differently to anxiety, so it is important to find some coping mechanisms that work well for you.
Here’s some ways to cope with that dreaded Sunday anxiety:
1. Unleash your stress
Many of us suppress the feeling of stress instead of addressing it. Provisional clinical psychologist, Victoria Tarratt says “Suppressing your emotions, whether it’s anger, sadness, grief or frustration, can lead to physical stress on your body. The effect is the same, even if the core emotion differs. We know that it can affect blood pressure, memory and self-esteem.”
Writing down any stresses in a journal, practicing calming breathing exercises or simply sitting with and acknowledging the stress instead of running from it can all help to dissipate the detrimental effects of stress on your mind and body. The heightened panic stress can cause you to feel often dissolves when it is not suppressed. So don’t avoid it.
2. Organise your thoughts to combat Sunday anxiety
Monday is often harder for people because it differs so much from our weekend routines. The laid back, less structured nature of the weekend makes the first day of the work week seem so overwhelming. It can be difficult to get back into the swing of things because we’re still running on weekend brain which, let’s face it, is much more fun! Work often bombards us with new information, tasks, and responsibilities before we’ve been able to organise our thoughts.
The anxiety that we feel often leads to negative thoughts about completely failing, not doing enough or not being able to manage. That’s why we always feel like we are running ten steps behind. Try and catch yourself when these thoughts pop up. Notice them and remind yourself that negative “what if this happens” thoughts are a waste of time because they aren’t real! Why waste your precious Sunday driving yourself mad with fear. Appreciate the moment and instead of dramatising the future.
3. Make Sundays more fun
Even though it’s the coming week we’re dreading we can also lose out on enjoying Sunday because we are so anxious. Prioritising making Sunday enjoyable can help relieve some of your stress. There’s no time for overthinking the week ahead when you’re having fun.
Try and pace yourself. It’s important that you do not overwhelm yourself with a to-do-list of 101 things on the weekend. Dedicate Sunday to relaxation and fun. This could include activities like self care pampering, dancing, dining out with loved ones or curling up and enjoy a good Netflix series. Enjoy your down time by being fully present and savouring the fun moments.
4. Focus on healthy eating to smooth Sunday anxiety
The unstructured nature of the weekend is usually in our food choices as well. After five good days of healthy meals there’s no harm in indulging a little. The problem only arises that that little becomes a hell of a lot! Unhealthy food has a major effect on our brains and health. A weekend filled with junk can leave you lethargic and unmotivated for the week ahead. Excessive fast food consumption is linked to anxiety symptoms such as panic attacks and insomnia. Two things we definitely don’t need as teachers! By no means are we saying only eat leaves but just be aware of your habits. Eating well is magic for our bodies.
5. Make Mondays Special
The feeling of sadness that the weekend is over is something we can all relate to but Monday doesn’t have to feel like a prison sentence. Creating a pre-work Monday morning routine will help to reduce the rat race stress we usually feel. We need to change the way we view Mondays. Make a habit of easing yourself into your days. Whether that’s by journaling, meditating, enjoying a loving breakfast or a cup of morning coffee!
When we are stuck in that get up and go, go, go mindset we just get burnt out. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.
If you find yourself experiencing Sunday night anxiety understand that it’s completely natural and common. Believe me we can all relate. Consider trying some of these strategies and soon Monday will be a day to look forward to!
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