From Weekends to Weekdays

Beating the Sunday night blues.

Posted May 29, 2017

Let's face it. Most of you are coming off a long weekend and are most likely feeling just a bit of dread about transitioning back into the workweek tomorrow. And, from where I am I can almost hear a collective set of gasps and sighs about this transition. And therein lies the problem. Transitions are not easy. In fact, they range from just a tad bit difficult to moderately difficult. And for many of us transitions are fraught with all sorts of anticipatory anxiety about what this workweek will bring. Let me be clear that you may not be transitioning to a 9-5 job. You may instead be transitioning to a week of taking care of your kids and all that is associated with running a home. You may even be transitioning to some other variant of the workweek. Look, there are many permutations of the workweek and way too many for me to list so as you read this article focus on what your unique week looks like.

Why, you may wonder do we feel these Sunday night blues after so many years of experiencing this particular night? And, why is this night so different from every other night? Well, let me explain. Most of us feel that while we have a great deal of control over what happens during the weekend we feel significantly less control over what the workweek will bring. Is this true? Maybe not. Nonetheless, since we have believed this for so many years we are inclined to hold on tightly to old beliefs. Perhaps there is some truth to our beliefs but maybe not. It is possible that we hold on to our beliefs because we are creatures of habit, yes?

So, if we want to feel less of a sense of dread on a Sunday night or on the night at the end of a holiday weekend then what on earth should we do to feel better. Should we simply plan to call in sick and them make Monday or Tuesday night our new Sunday night or should we try to think a bit more creatively? As a clinical psychologist I am always inclined to encourage individuals to tweak the way they think so that anxiety and distress lessen.

So, here is what I suggest. Do not talk yourself into thinking that the weekend and workweek have such significantly different levels of predictability. Figure out ways that you can exert more control over your workweek. Do a little bit of planning on Sunday. I am not talking about ruminating about Monday morning on Sunday night while you are trying unsuccessfully to fall asleep. Instead, I am suggesting putting together a short kist of what you might like to accomplish on Monday. And, I must issue a warning here. Do not make this list too long or complicated because as we all know that is a set-up for feelings of frustration. We all know that our best planned agendas will inevitably be interfered with because that is the nature of work. Inevitably, tasks come up that we did not anticipate. 

I also suggest learning how to let go. Let go of your feelings that everything must and will be accomplished. I do not think that I have ever met anyone who completes everything either during a weekend or weekday. If you think that you are alone in having to deal with the zigs and zags of the workweek then you are simply not aware that you are in good company.

Try to focus on the positive aspects of the workweek. Surely, there is at least one person who you will be happy to see and who you would love to share a good story with or perhaps even lunch. You may want to tap into your creative skills and plan at least 1 positive thing that you are looking forward to each day during the week. 

Sunday night does mark the beginning of a shift but lots of good and exciting things happen during the workweek and perhaps we need to remind ourselves of that and focus on the positive aspects of the week and what we give gratitude for.

This set of ideas may be easier for some than for others. I am very aware of that. You may even decide that this way of looking at things is not for you but instead for the Pollyanna in the next office. Nonetheless, consider printing out this article and glancing at it on Sundays. Please let me know your thoughts.

Dr. G.

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