We’re all familiar with the dread that comes as Sunday approaches its end – even after a weekend of rest, you start to feel anxious and stressed about the work or responsibilities you have to face Monday morning.
In fact, most people get a bad case of the Sundays ahead of the workweek: LinkedIn surveyed about 3,000 professionals in the U.S. last year and found that 66% reported feeling the “Sunday Scaries.”
“Our minds tend to fight against tasks that are ambiguous, stressful or boring, so, of course, we want to put off thinking about work for as long as possible,” productivity expert Chris Bailey tells CNBC Make It. “But procrastination can just create more unnecessary stress.”
There’s no magic cure for the Sunday Scaries, but these three strategies, recommended by Bailey, can help:
The secret to beating the Sunday Scaries is creating a plan for the week ahead as Bailey says that, for most of us, dealing with ambiguity causes stress and anxiety.
His favorite technique for easing into the week ahead is the “rule of threes”: list three goals that you want to accomplish, whether in your work or personal life. Setting such intentions allows you to “think about how you want to focus your time, attention and energy,” Bailey explains. “Then you can tailor your daily tasks around achieving these goals.”
The Sunday Scaries can often snowball into self-doubt and loathing, but getting down on yourself is counter-productive – the antidote for such feelings, instead, is reflecting on your accomplishments, and organizing your thoughts.
Bailey recommends keeping a running accomplishments list and tasks list, then updating both lists every Sunday. Your accomplishments list should highlight a couple things you’re proud of doing the week before, whether it’s getting out of bed or leading a presentation at work, while your tasks lists highlights the important “to-do” items for the week ahead.
“We’re quick to forget what we’ve accomplished and focus on all the things we haven’t done yet instead,” he says. “But taking a moment to congratulate yourself on all the progress you’ve made, and planning ahead, can boost your confidence and propel you into the next week.”
“The path to productivity runs straight through calm, because if we can maintain our composure while the conditions of our work, or our life, are changing, we can still accomplish what we want,” Bailey says.
Practicing self-care can help us cope during turbulent times, or ease feelings of anxiety – Bailey lists journaling, calling up a friend, practicing meditation or spending time with people who uplift you as excellent examples of self-care.
The most important thing is developing a self-care plan and sticking to it so you have something to quiet any negative thoughts and look forward to each Sunday.