I often come down with a condition called the “Sunday Night Blues.” Its symptoms include a depressed mood, discouragement, worry and anxiety typically brought on by the anticipation of the week to come. A day meant for rest and relaxation with loved ones becomes a day of gloom and dread instead. What should be the most celebrated day of the week is often a day that is lost in between the recovery of the week gone by and the preparation for the week to come. As a long time sufferer of the Sunday Night Blues, I’ve accumulated a few ideas for lifestyle changes aimed at making Sunday (and every other day of the week) a day worth eagerly awaiting.
Start Your Day Before You Start Your Day
When morning roles around, I am too often tempted to hit the snooze button, prolonging those last moments of sleep until the last possible second. What I have discovered over time is that those extra few minutes of rest quickly evaporate as a result of feeling rushed and behind as I frantically get out the door to start my day. As a result, I spend my day in a constant state of deficit, always trying to catch up rather than feeling on top of the tasks at hand. Sound familiar? Regularly engaging in this routine increases our anxiety and leaves little room for enjoying the present moment. In addition, it is too much of an adjustment for your body to go from a deep sleep to full work mode in such a short period of time.
So, instead of relishing in those last possible seconds of sleep, try starting your day before you start your day. Wake up an extra hour or two early and do something you enjoy before heading off to work. This might be enjoying a good sweat, reading a book, or preparing a leisurely breakfast. Whatever it might be for you, implement a life-giving activity in order to start your day from a place of rest instead of stress. You’ll find you will anticipate the week with more balance and joy.
Friday = Chore Day
Make Friday your chore day. I know it seems crazy to create extra work for yourself at the end of a long, hard week, but hear me out. There is nothing more likely to kill a Sunday than waking up trying to accomplish everything that wasn’t done the previous week and tackling all the tasks required to prepare for the coming week. Leaving everything for Sunday is usually a surefire way to create more anxiety and exhaustion before the week even begins. Instead, try doing the bulk of your chores in the early evening on Friday.
Accomplishing tasks like laundry and grocery shopping can help you to not only enjoy and relax during the weekend without a list hanging over your head, but also helps you enter the week feeling more prepared. Also, checking a few items off the chore list on Friday evening leaves you plenty of time for a late date night or an outing with friends. You’ll enjoy your weekend more with a few things checked off your list!
Simplify the Schedule
I admit it…I often set my schedule in a way that forces me to survive instead of thrive during my day. I jam as many appointments into one day as I can, which always seems doable at the time until I look at my day planner the night before. My heart starts racing and grows heavy with a sense of dread at the mere sight of 12-14 hours booked solid. We live in a culture that celebrates busyness in women. The busier we are, the more important we seem. Personally, when I buy into this lie, I schedule my days and weeks in ways that leave me feeling overwhelmed in anticipation of attempting to accomplish it all and almost guarantee a case of the Sunday Night Blues. Instead, as women, we must actively fight this lie by scheduling our days in ways that are manageable.
If you happen to have an appointment before work, be sure not to schedule an appointment after work. If your schedule is flexible, set your hours in ways that you are not over-functioning during any one day of the week. A doable schedule will help you to approach the week with a sense of empowerment rather than a sense of anxiety.
Implement Ritual and Tradition
Think for a moment about the traditions you have in your own family. Often we associate rituals and traditions with holidays and celebrations. We participate in these events with mind, body, and spirit in order to remember or commemorate a person, season, or occasion. We often reflect on these rituals and traditions with fondness and excitedly anticipate their repetition. So why not implement these traditions weekly? In their book, Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy, James L. Griffith and Melissa Elliot Griffith say, “Rituals, ceremonies, and, in some cases, spiritual practices signal others messages about ‘to whom I belong”—that one is a member of a particular family, culture, or people…” (165).
Rituals and traditions provide us with a sense of belonging, which can often remind us of our true purpose and priorities in life. Carving out time to partake in an activity with those we love reminds each of us of what life is all about…relationship. They remind us that no matter what happens during the week, we are loved and safe with those who truly know us best. These traditions might include a special meal, a fun outing, or reading from a favorite book with those you love. Whatever this might be for you, it will most certainly make Sunday a day to look forward to.
Balance Your To-Do List
During a busy week, the first appointments to be eliminated are usually the “extras.” The problem is, these “extras” are usually the enjoyable, life-giving elements of our week. When eliminated, there is a lack of balance in the way we spend our time. If calling friends is important to you, carve out time to call. If exercising is a stress release, make a few dates with the gym. It is essential to include these activities on our to-do list, committing to make each of them a priority, just as we would our other tasks. The bonus? We tend to be more productive during our work when we make time for play. In addition, we will view the week on Sunday looking forward to the week ahead rather simply living for Friday.
Life is too short to live in a constant state of anxious survival. Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself if you, too, suffer from a constant case of the Sunday Night Blues, is “why?” Are you living an overbooked life to feel more significant? Are you scheduling your weeks away, always preparing for the next and never enjoying the moment? Is busyness a safety net to avoid what you ultimately fear? I often find that when I alter my perspective on what ultimately gives me my value and change the end goal, my daily choices in turn reflect a healthier and more balanced life—a life I look
forward to living. While all of these ideas may certainly help cure a case of the Sunday Night Blues, it is always important to look at ourselves and our own life, understand how we work best, and set ourselves up for success accordingly. No matter how serious your case, I hope you feel better soon!
Image via Shannon Lee Miller