4 Ways to Beat the Sunday Blues

4 Ways to Beat the Sunday Blues

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By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer


As of about 4pm every Sunday, a very large collection of nine-to-fivers across the country begin to develop signs of acute discomfort when faced with the reality of having to confront another week of work. This sense of dread or foreboding has, over the years, morphed into a widely accepted condition; this so-called “Sunday night blues” is characterized by feelings of anxiety, helplessness and depression towards the week ahead. While this affliction is not medically recognized, it is very real for many people; in fact, according to a recent Monster poll, 54% of Canadians characterized their Sunday night blues as “very bad”, with only 23% saying that they were not impacted at all. When compared to our friends to the south, we seem to have an easier time of it: to wit, 72% of US respondents who have the Sunday night blues report they are “really bad”. So, if such a large number of us are feeling so poorly, what can be done to fix the problem?
 
Identify the problem
If you are having a hard time, say, falling asleep on a Sunday night, try and identify the major elements that are pre-occupying your thoughts. Often, people confuse correlative and causative effects, which end up confusing them further. For instance, you may have to endure a terrible commute to a wonderful job. Over time, the burden of the commute may lead you to have negative feelings towards your otherwise wonderful job. I have fallen to this type of thinking in the past: there were very specific (and fixable) elements in my daily life that caused me a great deal of anxiety but I was unable to act upon them as I was not able to clearly identify the issues. If you are able to tease apart the specific details of why you are not feeling positive about the upcoming week, you will take huge strides towards resolving them.
 
Work on the weekend
I know this sounds completely insane but hear me out. Personally, I used to lie awake on Sunday nights, filled with tremendous anxiety about the enormous amount of work awaiting me on a Monday morning. After many years of going through this futile weekly exercise, I decided to try spending this time planning my week instead of tossing and turning in bed and wasting my precious energy. As it turns out, putting in about an hour of work on a Sunday night had an incredible double benefit: I was able to get ahead of my work while simultaneously alieving myself of so much unnecessary anxiety. I understand that brining work home can generate additional stress to your life but, in my case, it had the opposite effect. Try it out and see if it helps.
 
Exercise
I have been a vocal and persistent proponent of exercise for many years, especially as it pertains to your professional well-being. There are countless studies that have demonstrated a direct link between regular exercise and positive improvements in mental and physical health. Additionally, there have been studies that have shown a correlative impact between exercise and a reduction in work-related stress. For instance, a research team from the University of Bristol aimed to look at the effects of stress in the workplace and the role that regular exercise has in reducing these negative feelings. The most significant findings of the study were: 72% of participants reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days; 79% said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised; 74% said they managed their workload better. Most tellingly, questionnaire scores were 27% higher on exercise days in categories such as dealing calmly with stress and 41% higher for feeling motivated to work.
 
Balance your life
In my twenties, weekends were for totally letting loose and completely abandoning my weekday routine. I would regularly sleep in on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and would eat meals at all hours. It is no surprise as to why I found it extremely difficult to fall asleep on a Sunday night and why my Monday mornings were so brutal. Look, I am not saying to live like a monk and to regiment your weekends, but I have found that keeping a good balance between my weekend and work-week lives has immeasurably helped me in my approach to Sunday nights and happier Monday mornings.