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Fighting the Sunday Scaries: How to Change Your Relationship with Sundays

How do we change our relationship with Sundays? How do we reclaim our well-deserved time to rest and recuperate? Let’s talk about fighting the Sunday Scaries.
Woman holding needlepoints that have reassuring sayings. New blog from Evoke Wellness "fighting Sunday scaries." Wilmington, NC

By Juliana Stanfield

Picture this: it’s Sunday afternoon, about 3:00. You’ve finished your grocery shopping and cleaning. Now you’re relaxing at home, snuggled up on the couch under your favorite blanket, maybe indulging in your latest Netflix obsession, when all of a sudden it hits you: that oh-so-familiar sense of dread rears its head again. “Ugh, I have to go back to work tomorrow,” is a sentence you find yourself muttering under your breath just about every week now.

Maybe you’re so accustomed to the “Sunday Scaries” that you already expect them to ruin your day. You might find it hard to even enjoy your time off because you’re feeling so much anxious energy about the week that’s approaching. So, how do we change our relationship with Sundays? How do we reclaim our well-earned and much-deserved time to rest and recuperate? Let’s talk about it.

Own Your Feelings

Like any other feeling, the first step to moving on from it is to own it. You can’t heal what you’re not allowing yourself to feel. You might be confused because you love your job and have convinced yourself that you shouldn’t feel the Sunday Scaries at all. But, there is no “could,” “should,” or “would,” when it comes to feelings. Sometimes they just are what they are, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by shoving those feelings down and pretending like they don’t exist. Step one is to see those anxious feelings, recognize that they’re there, and give them a wave. Greet them kindly, almost as if they are an unexpected guest in your home.

woman holding coffee cup that says "more self love." New blog "fighting the Sunday Scaries" from Evoke Wellness, Wilmington, NC

Examine the Types of Rest You’re Practicing

Let’s be honest, two days of rest after a jam-packed week probably isn’t gonna cut it. But what we can do is examine the types of rest that we’re practicing on weekends to make sure we’re making the most of our time. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, writes that there are actually seven different types of rest: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, and creative.

You’re most likely not able to practice all seven types of rest in one weekend, but let’s take a look at each one to see if there’s room for you to incorporate even a little bit more rest into your Sundays.

Physical Rest

Physical rest includes getting high-quality sleep and low-impact exercise such as yoga or going for a walk. Listening to your body is just as important as listening to your mind. Your brain might be craving some downtime, but your body is begging to be moved. Make sure you turn your attention to both needs.

Mental Rest

Mental rest might look like taking short, but very intentional breaks throughout your day to practice mindfulness, clear your mind, and be present in your environment. (Think breathing exercises in the cereal aisle — yep, you’re that person now!)

Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest means practicing the activities in your life that make you feel fulfilled and whole. Finding and staying engaged in the things that matter to you and make you feel like life has purpose could remind you that your 9-5 doesn’t define your existence.

Emotional Rest

Emotional rest involves being real, vulnerable, and authentic about your feelings and experiences. Sometimes life is hard, and giving yourself permission to be heard and validated by someone who cares might restore a sense of calm for you.

Sensory Rest

Sensory rest involves unplugging from technology, maybe allowing yourself to sit in silence, and reducing stimulation. We are living in a technological world — but the brain is not meant to take in information all day every day. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes each Sunday, turn off your phone, turn off the T.V., dim the lights, light a candle, put on your favorite comfy clothes, and just be.

Social Rest

Social rest, despite its name, does not necessarily mean spending time alone. By all means, if you’re in need of alone time give yourself that, but make sure you’re not isolating yourself. Social rest involves regularly examining the quality of the company you keep to make sure those relationships are reviving you instead of draining you.

Woman holding needlepoints that have reassuring sayings. New blog from Evoke Wellness "fighting Sunday scaries." Wilmington, NC

Creative Rest

Creative rest, similar to spiritual rest, is indulging in experiences that remind you of all the wonders of the world. Spending time in nature, getting in touch with your artistic side, sitting in warm, peaceful spaces, and appreciating the human experience to the fullest exactly as it is.

More Tips for Managing the Sunday Scaries

Restructure Your Schedule

If the Sunday Scaries just aren’t budging, consider restructuring your weekend. Sometimes a change of pace and change in routine is the refresher we need to be able to breathe a sigh of relief again. Are you doing all your cleaning, shopping, meal prepping, and other responsibilities on Sundays? Consider trying to spread some or all of these tasks throughout the rest of your week/weekend so that your Sundays are truly just a day of rest. Can you do one load of laundry a day throughout the week instead of all in one day? Can you do your grocery run before your date night out on Friday? Even eliminating a couple of tasks off your Sunday to-do list might lift a weight off your shoulders. Or vice versa – if you’re a person that likes to keep your mind busy, be more intentional about resting throughout the rest of your week and do all of your adulting on Sundays.

Create a Reward System

You could consider a reward system. If your first instinct is to couch-potato all day, practice one to two different types of rest first. Go for a walk, call your bestie, or sit in the sunshine before starting that next Netflix binge.

Plan Ahead

Plan your week! It’s possible that all the trepidation that you’re feeling about the week ahead is just information overload in your brain looking for a place to go. Get a paper planner, or whiteboard for your kitchen, or use a calendar app on your phone and structure each day of the approaching week. Set goals and intentions for what you hope to accomplish personally, professionally, or mentally and emotionally, and make sure you reflect on the week that has passed to celebrate all the wins that you’ve had — big or small.

If you’re finding that the Sunday Scaries are all-day or all-week scaries — reach out for help. There’s something to be said for sitting down with someone to be heard and validated, and to have someone brainstorm more specific ideas with you that fit your individual needs and unique lifestyle. If you’re interested in chatting with us, reach out today.


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