Dealing with Sunday Evening Syndrome

If a wave of anxiety washes over you as the weekend draws to a close, know that you are not alone, it is a researched problem and there are simple ways to tackle it.


If a wave of anxiety washes over you as the weekend draws to a close, know that you are not alone, it is a researched problem and there are simple ways to tackle it.

It is actually a fairly basic translation of “for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Sunday Evening Syndrome is indeed the flipside of Friday’s characteristic euphoria.

What are the signs of Sunday Evening Syndrome? Well, very simply, it is identified by a distinct sinking feeling associated with Sunday Evening. It emerges from the fact that a whole week of work awaits you but more often than not, you will not be able explain why you’re feeling anxious, sad or jaded. Researchers say that often Sunday Evening Syndrome may start as early as when you open your eyes on a Sunday.

Why does it occur? Because Sunday marks the end of the “fun times” just as surely as Friday marks the start of them. However, the intensity of Sunday Evening Syndrome spirals upward drastically if you have chores leftover, if you’ve taken off leaving tasks incomplete on Friday or – believe it or not – if you haven’t got something fun planned for Sunday. The fact that tough economic times have most of us overworked and stressed isn’t helping things.

What’s worse is the outcome – Sunday Evening Syndrome results in binge drinking, insomnia and general unpleasantness. This is turn has a bearing on how Monday, and consequently the rest of the week, comes along.

However, fear not! Once recognized, Sunday Evening Syndrome can be dealt with fairly easily. A few simple moves can help alleviate the sadness associated with bidding goodbye to the weekend.

Fix it on Friday

Indeed, everybody gets charged on Friday and there is a tendency to put tasks off until Monday. However, resist temptation and finish what you have scheduled for the day so that you aren’t overburdened on Monday. Also, creating a task-list for Monday will allow you to tell yourself “I have everything charted out for tomorrow” should you begin fretting about the rigorous week ahead on Sunday.

Clean your work station before you leave the office on Friday. That way, when the thought of Monday pops into your head on Sunday, you’ll envision a clean, peaceful zone rather than a cluttered and therefore more stressful desk.

Spend a few minutes listing chores to be completed over the weekend before you embark on the partying, movies and socializing.

Be prepared to tackle the blues

First and foremost, finish the worst of your chores on Saturday. Don’t leave them for what some refer to as the ‘Sunday Witching Hours’ i.e. between 6pm and 10pm. Laundry, grocery-shopping, banking/ paperwork and anything remotely chore-esque should not be relegated to these rather delicate hours of the weekend’s close.

Don’t give into temptation. Drinking on a Sunday evening pretty much emerges from a need to extend the weekend. Recognize this inherent, rather childish need and say no. It will only worsen things on Monday morning. Also, don’t over-indulge… an ice-cream or chocolate binge will only add guilt to the whole equation.

Instead line up an interesting activity for Sunday evening. Plan ahead: remember that it is families’ day out so you might not be able to get movie tickets if you wake up from your Saturday night hangover and decide to turn up at the theatre. A dinner plan might call for a prior reservation. Whatever it is don’t sit alone and allow yourself to be blue. Theatre, music and comedy gigs, getting outdoors, catching up with family (online or in person) are great ways to keep your mind occupied.

Sunday Evening Syndrome is often more intense among singles – a feeling of loneliness is said to set in as the humdrum of the previous two nights fades away. If you’re in this group make sure you book time with other single friends on Sunday evening, or get hold of a really gripping book (no self-help tomes here; pick one with a plot that will hold your attention) or find a hobby that will keep you occupied every Sunday. If nothing else works out plan and prepare an elaborate dinner for yourself. Or pamper yourself and book a massage. You can also use the spare time to exercise. This option offers triple benefits: You avoid an idle mind (be sure to line up a playlist with your favorite, positive music for company), you stay fit and you release adrenaline which is a sure-shot mood-booster.

Last, make sure you sleep early. Staying up is yet another pointless bid and avoiding Monday and only results in a groggy, foul-tempered start to the week. And it’s a window of opportunity for negative thoughts.

You could also plan and look forward to a quick, fun activity on Monday. For instance, most TV shows run Monday to Friday, so you could always get yourself to look forward to your favorite soap or sit-com.

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