How To Reduce Anxiety on Sunday Nights and Beat The “Scaries”

Whatever your current work-life situation is, chances are you’ve experienced the Sunday Scaries at least once.

That anxious feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when a new week is fast approaching.

Getting the blues can be a real downer, but there’s no reason why you should allow them to ruin your weekend fun.

Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday Scaries and how to beat them.

Aesthetic stock image of an empty bed with green sheets in a bedroom with white walls and a wooden side stoo. The image is purely for decorative use only to support the blog post about how to beat the Sunday Scaries.

Me, my anxiety and I

When I used to work at my toxic “9 to 5” job in London, I suffered greatly from the Sunday Scaries.

During this time I was extremely unhappy. I treated my well-being like shit and I felt my job was sucking the soul right out of me. I lacked the confidence I needed to quit so I remained stuck there for a very long time.

Looking back now I realise that I was extremely burnt out.

My anxiety was at an all-time high and every morning I woke up I would worry about what the work day would bring. And of course, this sick feeling I used to experience was at its most prominent on a Sunday.

Probably because I would spend the entire weekend escaping from my problems rather than dealing with them head-on.

Every Friday night, without fail, I would go out, get drunk and escape from my unhappiness. On Saturday, I would wake up with a pretty bad hangover and head to a boozy brunch with friends to again distract me from my thoughts. The party would continue late into the night, and when Sunday morning came around, I would lie in bed feeling depressed that my fun 48 hours were over.

A feeling of panic would then rush over me as I realised it was time to head back to work the next day.

To protect myself from this growing anxiety, I used to go on a morning run and pick up some goodies from my favourite bakery to cheer me up. I would then spend the rest of Sunday curled up in bed, mindlessly watching TV and drinking wine to numb me from the worry.

But of course, this never did help.

For me, the Sunday Scaries was like a looming dark cloud above my head that never seemed to disappear.

But like with all of my personal experiences, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

The majority of my low mood and anxiety were brought on by my job. And as soon as I left my job, that dark cloud left me.

I’m now on a path that aligns with my vision and is deeply rooted in my values.

I go to bed every Sunday (and every other night for that matter) looking forward to the next day.

And every (Monday) morning, I wake up feeling happy as I’ve finally found a purpose and I get to do what I love.

But although I chose to completely overhaul my life, job and location to deal with my anxiety, there are easier ways to reduce stress and ease the Sunday Scaries.

What are the Sunday Scaries?

Before I dive into the ways you can help beat the Sunday Scaries, let’s first look at what they are and what triggers them.

Also known as the Monday blues, the Sunday Scaries are a feeling of dread or anxiety that can start the moment the weekend comes to an end.

For some people, the Scaries are simply a case of low mood and display minor symptoms of sweating, an upset tummy, headache or trouble sleeping. And for others, the Scaries can bring on a full-blown anxiety attack, depression or in extreme cases, a heart attack.

The potential reasons for feeling anxiety on Sunday nights are varied, but they can often stem from:

  • Dealing with a high-stress job
  • Having a busy week ahead and thinking about the tasks that await
  • Worries about upcoming deadlines, meetings, projects or exams
  • Not handling things the week before
  • Struggling to balance work and home life
  • Thoughts about the general stresses of life such as bills and other responsibilities
  • Getting out of bed on a cold winter’s morning
  • Thinking too much about the future

Experiencing anxiety on a Sunday can be a real downer, but there’s no need to let them ruin your weekend fun. Because life is all about having fun right?!

Keep reading for a few tips on how to beat the Monday blues and enjoy a stress-free Sunday.

9 healthy ways to reduce anxiety on Sunday nights

With a bit of effort, you can beat the Monday blues and enjoy your Sunday worry-free. Here are a few mindful tips to implement the next time you are feeling that new week-ahead dread.

I encourage you to bookmark this page so you can refer back to these tips whenever you need them most.

1 | Talk to someone you trust about your fears

As humans, we are so used to bottling things up as we never want to seem weak or as though we can’t control our emotions. But this ultimately leads to more stress, a bigger burden on our shoulders and darker thoughts.

But talking openly about what’s making you anxious can help to lessen its power over you.

The first step? To identify your triggers.

Spend some time now to dig deep and figure out what is making you anxious. Is it the thought of going back to work? Or maybe you have a looming deadline or exams coming up?

Once you identify your triggers, you can start to finally address them. This makes it easier for you to either deal with your fears head-on or confide in someone you trust about them.

Getting your thoughts out of your own head will also help free up your mind so you can think more clearly. And talking about them out loud to someone you trust can help you make sense of them.

You might even find that they have some useful advice for you.

Remember, there is always support out there if you need it.

2 | Practice gratitude

When I’m overwhelmed with negative thoughts or anxiety, the thing I turn to the most is practising gratitude with The Five Minute Journal. It allows me to focus on all the positive things in my life and the things that continue to light me up inside.

No matter how tedious that thing might be, like being grateful for a warm bed, being healthy or having access to clean water, it’s still so important to not take these things for granted. And by practising gratitude, I am able to appreciate the smaller things in life and focus on the things that bring me joy.

It also puts my worries into perspective. I only wish I had learnt about this ritual sooner!

Practising gratitude is scientifically-proven to help you become happier.

So if you are currently struggling with the Monday blues, then I encourage you now to make a list of all the good things happening in your life. Write down 11–15 simple things that bring you joy and pleasure.

I promise you will feel an instant change in your mood.

3 | Meditate or practice relaxation techniques

One of the most effective ways to relax and de-stress on a Sunday is to meditate.

Meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. So if you regularly suffer from the Sunday Scaries, you might want to consider downloading Headspace and checking out their library of soothing exercises.

Their weekend meditations can help you to load off any weight you’ve been carrying from the previous week and allow you to solely focus on the present.

Another way to beat the Sunday Scaries is to practice relaxation techniques.

This could involve taking some deep breaths, listening to calming music (my go-to is Calming Acoustic on Spotify), or even just spending some time outside in nature.

Taking just a few minutes out of your day to relax can make a big difference to how you feel.

4 | Don’t waste the day!

I spent years wasting my Sundays lying in bed watching Netflix because I was too hungover to do anything. Which in turn actually added to my anxiety as I also had extreme FOMO. I was jealous and resentful of my friends who already had Sunday plans with their partners or family.

But now that I’ve gained control over my well-being, I no longer waste my Sundays and instead use them to their full potential. (I actually prefer to use Saturdays as my rest and reset day, to have a lie-in, catch up on work and just chill).

So get out of the house and spend your day doing something fun.

Make plans with friends or take yourself out on a solo date! And if you’d prefer to stay at home, then spend your Sunday engaged in a mindful activity like scrapbooking, reading, drawing or painting.

Connecting with loved ones on a Sunday can also help to ease your anxiety as being around people you love and trust can help you to feel less alone. They’re also a great reminder to show you that support is available if you need it.

You’ll find that keeping yourself busy on a Sunday will help keep your mind from wandering toward those triggers you identified in tip one.

But whatever you choose to do, make sure you stay off of social media!

Mindlessly scrolling and comparing your weekend to others is enough to trigger some Sunday anxiety.

5 | Turn off work notifications

For 6 years, I worked as a model agent in an extremely stressful environment.

The job itself was practically a 24/7 role and I always had to be checking emails and be ready to reply or pick up the phone.

Even at weekends.

The anxiety this caused me was extremely damaging to my mental health. I would spend the weekend worried that someone was going to call or text. And whenever my phone did ping, my heart used to drop and I’d get an instant feeling of panic in my chest.

(To this day, whenever my phone rings I still get the fear that it’s my boss calling even though I no longer have one!)

Anyway, although this is not as straightforward for all jobs, it’s still so important that you practice better work-life boundaries. To protect your energy and mental space. Because let me tell you, no good will ever come out of answering a work call or email. It just opens up more opportunities for your boss, colleagues or clients to contact you.

Unless you work in the emergency services, no one is going to die if you don’t answer that call or email.

Honestly, the number of pointless calls I used to get from work was ridiculous.

I’ve since realised that everything can wait until Monday.

So turn off your work notifications and enjoy a more peaceful Sunday knowing that you won’t be disturbed.

And practice what you preach! If you don’t want to be disturbed at the weekend, then don’t disturb others. Treat people how you want to be treated.

6 | Create a Sunday reset routine

They don’t call it Self-Care Sunday for no reason!

Taking some time to relax and recharge before the work week begins, can help ease you into the week ahead with a positive attitude.

Additionally, setting aside time on Sunday evening to plan out your week can help you feel more organised and in control.

Make a plan. If you’re worried about an upcoming project or exam, then map out your next steps. Break this down into more manageable chunks so you know what you need to tackle in the coming week. By having a well-thought-through and realistic action plan, you can feel less overwhelmed by it.

Also, think about using your Sundays to prepare your “life” admin for the week. Do all your washing, clean the house, get your meals sorted for the week, schedule your non-work related activities, etc.

And then spend your downtime in the evening indulging in some calming activities.

Take a long hot bath, pamper yourself, cook a special evening meal or join an online yoga class.

By focusing on doing something stress-free, you can help to counterbalance your anxiety.

7 | Leave white space in your weekly schedule

No one wants to start the week knowing they have a jam-packed schedule full of meetings, deadlines and tasks to complete. That’s enough to overwhelm anybody and trigger anxious thoughts on Sunday evening.

Instead, turn your week into something you can look forward to by leaving some breathing space.

I like to call this white space.

White space is dedicated time for you to do whatever and is essential in allowing you to pause between your workload and nourish your well-being. So pencil in some white space and take the time to have a break, reflect, relax and recharge.

You’ll also find that scheduling these little moments for yourself will make the biggest difference to your mood.

Sometimes it’s the small things that mean the most.

8 | Treat yourself to Monday morning perks

Make Mondays your favourite day of the week by treating yourself to some morning perks.

Wake up early and get yourself outside for a breath of fresh air and a nice, long walk in nature. Or enjoy a cup of coffee and a sweet treat from your favourite coffee shop. You can even listen to a funny podcast on the way to work.

These little things can make a huge difference to your mood and help make Monday mornings more enjoyable.

Just be aware of the dopamine hit you get from a treat as this euphoric feeling will soon wear off.

I suggest you pair this step with the other tips in this list for added benefit!

9 | Consider seeking professional help

If you’ve implemented these tips and you still feel as though you are struggling with the Sunday Scaries, I encourage you to seek professional help. A therapist can help you get to the source of your Sunday anxiety and provide tips for overcoming it.

Remember, asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a person.

You never have to go through this alone.

And be considerate towards others!

Maybe a friend or someone you know is also experiencing the Sunday Scaries. Be mindful of their feelings and ask them if they need some company. Maybe take them on a walk or spend a cosy day inside with them.

You can even forward this blog post to them if you think it will benefit them. #sharingiscaring

Final thoughts

I would like to point out that I am in no way medically trained on this topic.

This blog post was written with my past experience with the Sunday Scaries in mind and I share these tips in the hope they will help you in some way. Whether that is to make you feel less alone, give you support or encourage you to make yourself feel better, even if it’s just for a moment.

Remember, you are not selfish for prioritising your mental health.

If you need any further guidance or advice please feel free to reach out to me via email.

My inbox is always open.

Until next week,

♡ Thalia xx

Disclaimer: Please note, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links then I will be rewarded at no extra cost to you. Any money earned through affiliates will be put towards running my blog and newsletter.

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Notes by Thalia

Notes by Thalia

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Here to help you mindfully navigate and balance your day. Notes on self-care, mindful productivity, mental well-being and wellness.