How to stop the Sunday night blues

How to stop the Sunday night blues

When you wake up Sunday morning, are you overcome with sadness that the work week will soon be beginning again? When the evening rolls around, are you filled with dread over the next day?

A 2015 poll found that 76 percent of Americans experience “really bad” Sunday night blues, defined as “depression over the fact that one night’s sleep stands between you and a new workweek.”

Dr. Laura Bein, a clinical licensed psychologist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., attributes this to our problems staying present and enjoying the current moment.

“We start worrying about the work week – which causes us to miss out on Sunday night – when we aren’t even at work. We also worry about everything that needs to get done all week, rather than taking things one piece at a time, which is significantly less overwhelming,” she says.

Dr. Bein also says our language use coincides with negative feelings toward Sunday.

“When we talk or think negatively, like ‘why do weekends always go so fast?’ or ‘Mondays are always awful,’ these things not only can often be untrue, but they do have an impact on our mood,” she says.

Surprisingly, many people who love their job still experience Sunday sadness.

“We do have a tendency to always feel like we should be better, do more, etc. So even when we love our job, we notice our frustrations or where we struggle rather than just experiencing the satisfaction of our job in the moment.”

Dr. Bein says there are steps you can take to make the most of Sunday.

“Focus on who you want to be, your roles and your values. Do you want to be ‘parent,’ ‘friend,’ ‘dog-owner,’ engage in these values and feel like you were tuned in to the important things in your life? Or do you want to be ‘Sunday night worrier,’ and feel even more disengaged from the important things? When we spend our energy worrying about other things, it takes us away from what we find important in our lives, leaving us dissatisfied.”

On Friday, take a moment to prepare for the week ahead before bolting out the door. Dr. Bein recommends writing down things you need to complete when you return to work.

“A list can be a powerful thing. It lets our minds off the hook a bit; we can write a to-do list that will be waiting for us on Monday when we come back, and we are free to forget those things over the weekend, using our energy instead for enjoyable things that bring us satisfaction. You can also focus on the next hour, like what you’ll do to wrap up on time and get home rather than focusing on three days from now.”

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One Comment

  1. Um…no, I do not feel Sunday sadness. I am too busy to be sad. Plus, I have a job that is good. Mondays are pretty much no better or worse than any other weekday, in my opinion. Does something really awful HAVE to happen on a Monday? Maybe see if you can move it to Tuesday and, ya know, hold off for another day on it…no?

About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.