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Wrap up your weekend feeling calm and ready for the week ahead.

Who doesn’t look forward to the weekend — those two days when we’re free to do whatever we like? 

Relax. Meet up with friends. Get our errands done. 

But when the close of the weekend draws near, you might have some anxiety or stress, also known as the “Sunday scaries”.

What are the “Sunday scaries?”

The Sunday scaries are more than just a cute name. Also called Sunday anxiety, it’s the sense of dread you may feel as the end of the weekend approaches. 

“Sunday blues refer to a common feeling of anxiety that builds up throughout Sunday afternoon and evening,” says Tracy Hacker, behavioral health case manager at  Geisinger Health Plan.

If you get the Sunday scaries, you might have some of these symptoms:

  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Changes in mood

Causes of Sunday anxiety

Sunday dread can be tied to several things, like your upcoming work week or just wanting the weekend to last longer. Especially if you didn’t have enough time to relax.

“This feeling is a byproduct of anticipation of the week ahead,” Ms. Hacker says.

Keeping Sunday fun: How to combat the weekend blues

The close of the weekend doesn’t have to be so frightening. With a few minor adjustments to your routine, you can soak in the weekend a little bit longer. 

1. Prepare for the week

To make Monday less hectic, handle any chores for the upcoming days beforehand. And start these tasks early in the weekend to get them out of the way.

  • Laying out clothes for the week
  • Meal prepping
  • Getting gas
  • Packing lunches for the next day
  • Setting the coffee maker

To make your chores less daunting, tackle one or two at a time. “Breaking up your tasks into smaller, bite-sized chunks takes away some of the strain,” Ms. Hacker suggests.

2. Delegate responsibilities

Look at everything that needs to be done that weekend. Divide tasks into 3 categories:

  • Must-do
  • Would like to do
  • Things that can wait

Attend to the most important things right away. And ignore anything that isn’t urgent. Then divvy up, or, if possible, hire out the tasks someone else can help complete.

For example:

  • Use a grocery shopping app and have your order delivered 
  • Book a dog walker
  • Hire a lawn service or local teen to do yard work
  • Skip cooking one night and order takeout

3. Schedule wind-down time

To help reduce anxiety about the upcoming week, schedule some wind-down time. To keep it on the agenda, add it to your calendar. You can even set a reminder on your digital assistant. By incorporating it into your schedule, you’re more likely to commit. And having it on your calendar gives you something fun to anticipate.  

4. Go off the grid

To savor every last bit of the weekend, turn off your electronics. This can put a stop to disruptive notifications. Another benefit of turning off your devices? A mental break from mindless scrolling, which can help you stay present.

5. Practice saying “no”

When you have downtime, you might be tempted to overschedule. “It’s normal to schedule a lot of activities on weekends,” Ms. Hacker says. “But doing too much can be more stressful than fun.” 

Instead of cramming your calendar with activities, pick and choose what you do during those precious 48 weekend hours. 

6. Treat yourself

Give yourself a small reward each week to keep the Sunday blues at bay. “Find activities you enjoy to decompress,” says Ms. Hacker. Making time for these things can reinforce feelings of well-being and reduce stress.

Not sure where to start? Consider these options.

Take a nap
Get your nails or hair done
Eat your favorite snack
Start a crafting project
Watch a movie
Go for a walk
Buy yourself flowers
Chat with a friend

“As in most cases, when we have stress and anxiety, proper self-care is key,” Ms. Hacker reminds us.

Still feeling down? Help is available

Occasional anxiety about the week ahead is normal. But if it’s interfering with your daily life, it may be time to ask for help. Consider talking to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can help you find different ways to cope and start feeling better, so you can enjoy Sundays to the fullest.

Next steps: 

Looking for a few ways to improve your mental health? How about 8?
Don’t ignore these signs of depression
Feeling burnt out lately? Here’s what you can do about it

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