Welcome to our series #SaveOurSundays, where we tackle the Sunday Scaries and anxieties about the workweek head-on. Check back every week to learn how to take back your weekend and start your Monday on a better note.
Original Illustration by Haobin Ye
Fact: Weekends are way too short. Just as soon as they start, they're on their way out. So can someone kindly point me in the direction of the national suggestion box so I can slip in a note about moving toward three-day weekends? They're proven to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions (less commuting and machinery output) and drastically improve our mental health and well-being. Sure, we have much bigger fish to fry than mandating a four-day workweek, but the thought is nice, isn't it? Another reason we'd benefit from longer weekends is that when the Sunday Scaries hit, the downward mental spiral that ensues thereafter is crippling.
"A lot of people not only feel anxious about the workweek ahead but can even feel depressed about the weekend ending," explains Heather Silvestri, an NYC-based psychologist.
So much of Sunday evening is spent wistfully mourning the weekend, rather than anticipating the upcoming week, so how do we change that? For me, it was as simple as making a small addition to my schedule.
One week, I serendipitously scheduled dinner with a friend for the following Monday night. I usually reserve Mondays for a beeline to the subway before parking myself on the couch for a night of reality television—needed recovery from what would probably be a stressful day. Alas, both of our schedules only allowed for an early-week rendezvous, so I logged it in my Google Calendar. What I'd soon learn, though, was that forcing myself to go out at the very start of the week would ignite a breakthrough. The Sunday evening before, I was actually excited for the week to start knowing I had a delicious meal, inevitable wine, and quality friend time to look forward to the next evening.
On the train home from the restaurant, I kept thinking about how good it felt to start the week on such a positive note, so I scheduled a movie date to see A Quiet Place with another friend the following Monday. While John Krasinski and Emily Blunt battled demons, I sat back in my chair, popcorn in hand, content I hadn't needed to fend off my own the evening before.
Of course, it's tricky to plan an outing every Monday considering schedule discrepancies, so in those instances, I'll plan something at home, even if it's as simple as saving the latest episode of The Handmaid's Tale for Monday night or cooking a nice dinner with my boyfriend. Regardless of the activity, planning something I know I'll enjoy for the least popular day of the week makes the loss of the weekend far less dramatic.
To set your mind at ease even more, try these calming products on Sunday evenings.
A bath is the cheapest and easiest form of therapy. Next time you run the tap, pour in a few drops of this blend of lavender, ginger, rosemary, and black pepper to soothe tight muscles and set off the serotonin.
Wellness editor Victoria Hoff calls this, to put it simply, soap "heaven." Incorporating it into a steamy shower is reminiscent of a Moroccan hammam, a luxurious bathhouse, with its strong scent of eucalyptus and soothing olive oil base.
Himalayan pink salt softens the skin while lavender eases the mind in this intoxicating blend of bath salts. Take a long soak before you hit the sheets, and your snooze time will be infinitely more restful.
According to the product description, in a clinical study, 89% of users found they were able to fall asleep faster after spritzing this blend of chamomile, lavender, and patchouli on their pillows. If work anxiety is keeping you up at night, a good night's sleep may just be a few spritzes away.
For more tricks to fend off weekend work anxiety, try these eight science-backed tricks for eliminating Sunday Scaries.