Remember when you were a child and Sunday nights were so difficult because they meant you were returning to school the following day? Your two glorious days of being able do as you please, to stay up later at night and sleep in longer in the mornings, were over and you were forced to face the realization that school would, in fact, resume for another week.
Unfortunately, for many of us, these Sunday night blues don’t end in childhood. Instead, they come up throughout our lives and the true source of them is usually the same, whether you’re a child or adult:
- You don’t want the pleasure and freedom of the weekend to end
- You have an event in the coming week that makes you nervous or you feel unprepared for
- You did not complete all of the things you had wanted to complete in your free time
- You are working additional hours over the weekend because of busy season, so you feel like you have an even more compressed weekend
The intense foreboding can be significant for some people – beginning earlier than Sunday even. To help alleviate some of the Sunday blues feelings that creep up, consider trying these practices:
- Make a list of the things you’d like to accomplish over the weekend at the onset. In the same way a work-to-do list helps you keep track of tasks, projects and meetings you have in the workplace each week, keeping track of the items you need to get done in your personal life works much better when they’re recorded somewhere outside of your head.
- Understand that you won’t get to all of your tasks on your list. Set yourself up for success by choosing the top priority tasks that you feel have to get done over the weekend and cannot wait until another time and do those first.
- Plan a portion of your weekend to complete these tasks. Allow yourself to block out time to finish the important tasks so that you aren’t worried about when you’ll find time to fit them in.
- Communicate your plan with those in your personal life. Work with your family to make a plan that fits with everyone’s needs and schedule. Share the things you need to complete and discuss the best time and way to take action on those tasks. If you’re working for part of your weekend, which so many of us have to do in our peak periods, it is especially important to make time for your need-to-do tasks and ensure you have leisure time as well. Your family will appreciate having a plan.
- Spend 30 minutes on Saturday or Sunday for work-related thinking and tasks. Instead of harboring feelings of not wanting to see work until Monday, take 30 minutes to write your work-to-do for the week so that you have your priorities and upcoming events clear. If you need to do some organizing or preparation for a task on Monday, take care of it so that you can set it aside mentally and enjoy your weekend as you please. As your free time is more compressed because of busy season, add this planning time into your work session so you don’t have to come back to it later.
- If Saturday or Sunday don’t work, consider staying at work 30 minutes longer on Friday. For some, it is easier to think about the upcoming week at the end of the current week. Work is already on your mind and your thoughts are fresh in your head. This is also helpful for those who prefer to check things off their list as soon as possible. By completing your work-to-do list for the following week and any preparation that needs to be done for your tasks on Monday, you can then feel comfortable leaving work for the weekend.
- If you’re consumed by the Sunday blues, reflect on your weekend so far and think of three things you’re thankful for. My mother taught me this when I was very young and it was a required nightly ritual growing up. I suggest making this a nightly ritual for yourself! Think of three things you’re thankful for experiencing during your weekend so far – for example, catching up on some much-needed sleep, attending your child’s basketball game, or eating a delicious home-cooked meal. When you remember these happy moments, you’ll lessen the impact of thoughts that nag at you for the things you haven’t yet done. And when your weekends are even busier with added work responsibilities, remembering to appreciate the things you have enjoyed is crucial to maintaining your positivity and motivation.
When you have a jam-packed weekend of things planned, especially right now during busy season, these tips will help you stay organized and ward off feelings of apprehension about the coming week. You’ll find it easier to live in the moment and fully enjoy your leisure time. We love hearing from you — please share your thoughts on the Sunday blues and how you’re able to keep them at bay if they arrive.