Ahh Sunday scaries… I’m assuming if you are reading this article you in some way, shape, or form have experienced this phenomenon. People experience Sunday scaries in different ways but for those who don’t know it’s the unsettling feeling that one gets when they realize the work week is about to start and the weekend is coming to an end. Anxiety starts flooding your head and taking over the precious weekend you have left.
I too have suffered from the overwhelming uneasiness of the feeling known as the Sunday scaries. Around 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon, I would start watching the clock and thinking about what I needed to do to get mentally prepared for Monday. Sometimes I found myself counting the hours until my weekend was done, sometimes I would panic and my brain would go into hyper-drive playing out artificial scenarios of what is going to happen, and sometimes I would feel guilty because I was lazy all weekend and didn’t prepare myself to teach my lessons for the week ahead. It happens to the best of us. I am here to tell you how I have learned to prevent the Sunday scaries from happening and maybe they will help you.
Sunday scaries only exist because you allow it to. Let me repeat. Sunday scaries only exist because YOU allow it to. It’s a mindset that you create. If you worry about what the future will bring then your body and brain will react with anxiety. Thinking with the mindset that I create the feeling of Sunday scaries has transformed how I overcame my own anxiety. Hopefully, by reading this article, you too can find ways to prevent Sunday scaries and live your best life.
7 ways to prevent Sunday Scaries
- Get all your work done before leaving on Friday.
One of the major ways I took back my weekends is making sure I work throughout the week so I was ready to go for the upcoming week. I have all of my lesson plans written, papers all printed, and Google Classroom assignments scheduled before I leave the school building that Friday afternoon. I organize all of my assignments, print my plans and schedule, and have my classroom ready for Monday before I start my weekend. I am able to make my weekend about me instead of thinking about what I want my week to look like. Next Friday, try organizing your school work ahead of time so you are ready to conquer the next week.
2. If you need to do work over the weekend, make it a priority to do it first thing in the morning.
Okay, so sometimes getting all your work done by Friday is just not going to happen. Teaching during a pandemic has taught me that there are very few hours in the day to get all of the tasks completed. Let’s say you were swamped with meetings and other things throughout the week or you want to create an amazing unit that you want to plan from beginning to end, sometimes you just have to bring work home to make that happen. I was, and sometimes am, still bringing work home to make sure my upcoming week was ready. When I do bring work home, I make sure that it is on the top of my priority list. Work now, play later type of thing. I started waking up early on Saturday and completing everything I needed to get done first things so I could enjoy the rest of my weekend. Plus, I feel so accomplished when I already have a list full of tasks checked off my to-do list. I feel ready to conquer my day and so will you.
3. Fill your day with things you love.
Distract yourself. Fill your day with things you want to do, what makes you happy, and what you know will be your best self for Monday. Is it shopping? Is it cuddling on the couch with some warm tea and a good book? Is it binge watching a Netflix show? Is it spending time with family or friends? Distraction is the best thing to do when you don’t want to think about things you don’t need to think about.
This one took me years to actually do. All of the articles and blog posts I have read throughout my teaching career mentioned to practice mindfulness. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I started putting this into action. Trust me: DO IT. If you end up disliking it or it doesn’t work for you, no harm done and you can stop anytime.
This has transformed the way I approach my Sunday’s and ease my rustling brain when I’m trying to sleep. After practicing meditating for several weeks, I have gotten to a point that I am able to fully embrace the meditative state and I do it most nights before going to bed. I no longer worry about what tomorrow will bring, I no longer have anxious thoughts, and I no longer suffer from Sunday scaries, all because I started practicing mindfulness. It has been a powerful tool to use when I want my brain waves to sit down and shut up. On Sunday’s, I often find myself meditating around 2 o’clock because that is the time where my Sunday scaries start to occur. Now yours might be earlier or later than mine but practicing mindfulness truly have made my life better and my anxiety subside. I highly recommend practicing mindfulness.
5. Quit Worrying About The Future
I recently read You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (she has several books that you need to put on your reading list this year). She explains that worrying is a waste of time because you are not living in the moment when you worry. You are pretty much praying for stuff you don’t want when you constantly think your anxious thoughts. Your brain is thinking about what you need to do, what you should do, and what you could do. STOP. Stop giving yourself permission to worry. You are wasting your time worrying about something that may or may not happen and as a result you are not living in the moment. This was such a huge part of how my Sunday scaries subsided because I started living in the moment. I stopped worrying about what the next day will bring. I started thinking about what I am doing now and what I want to do now. You are not doing yourself or anyone any favors by thinking about tomorrow. Start focusing your energy into the present moment. You will become happier and healthier.
6. Plan an easy day or plan something to look forward to for Monday
Make Monday a day to look forward to. Plan stress-free lessons or create a fun and engaging lesson that you just can’t wait to see how students will react. You don’t need to make your lessons boring and uninteresting but you can make them enjoyable and easygoing. Just because a lesson was simple to create doesn’t mean it can’t be the best lesson you’ve ever created. Your mental health will benefit and you won’t feel as anxious and overwhelmed.
7. Make a to-do list and review your calendar
So Sunday comes around and you’re still feeling nervous and anxious for the week ahead? Make a to-do list and review your calendar. Write down all the tasks that you have yet to do and make a list. Put in your planner, on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror. Tell yourself when you want to accomplish this to-do list. Can it wait until tomorrow or would you feel better knocking a few tasks off the list right now? What will help you better be prepared for the future? What is going to help you be present in the moment? I normally will grab my planbook sometime after dinner and scan what I have planned. I walk myself through each class, visualize how the lesson will play out, make any changes that I feel needs to be made, and then put everything away. No more of my time now needs to be focused on something I can do tomorrow.
My social media is flooded with friends and teachers expressing their Sunday scaries… their feelings, their worries, and their coping mechanisms. Sunday scaries should not be a norm and that is why I wanted others to learn how they can prevent it. When one doesn’t work, try another. What is there to lose?