How to Structure a Less Stressful Sunday
Do you know where the seven-day week came from?
Your first inclination may be to assume that the seven-day week is based on some celestial phenomenon, like the year (loosely based on the earth’s orbital period) or the month (which was supposedly invented to mimic lunar cycles). Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
The seven-day week, like the five-day workweek it encompasses, is completely man-made. Artificial. Made up.
Even though we made up the workweek, the anxiety many people feel on Sunday nights is very real. According to a poll by Monster.com, 76 percent of respondents in the US reported some form of Sunday night anxiety. And it’s no surprise that so many folks feel apprehension as the weekend comes to a close and Monday’s boring spectre looms.
There are a few ways to beat these blues, though, by creating a Sunday schedule that works for you. Here’s how you can move beyond the sleepless, anxiety-ridden evening to a beautiful capstone of your weekend.
Before Sunday: Rest, Recharge, Invest, Plan
A great Sunday starts with great preparation.
Experts on work stress and anxiety suggest that beating the “Sunday blues” starts on Friday, when you need to take a few moments to review your week, assess your performance, and build your Monday to-do list.
Now, for the obvious-but-difficult truth: if you spend Friday and Saturday nights disrupting your sleep schedule with things like alcohol and shenanigans, Sunday morning might be rough. The best Sundays will follow Fridays and Saturdays where you rest, recharge, and prepare for your week.
But, if you want to still have fun and beat stress, there’s probably a balance between an 8 p.m. bedtime and raging until the sunrise. You just need to find the weekend schedule that works for you.
There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.
― Mindy Kaling
Sunday Start: Find Your Friends
Socializing on the “weekend” is often limited to Friday and Saturday, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you’re an extrovert or other person who feels most energized by having others around, why not set up your social time for Sundays? Studies show that spending time with friends can protect us from the most negative side effects of stress, so giving a few hours of calm social time on Sunday a shot might be worth it.
Sunday Morning: Do One Thing You Love
Even if you love your work, there is probably one thing you love to do more. If possible, try to start your Sunday on a positive foot by doing that one beloved hobby, pastime, or ritual first. You could go for a morning hike, watch a comedy special, make pancakes, or just hang out with your dog. The world is your oyster, and breaking the Sunday script has to start somewhere!
Sunday Afternoon: Tackle a Project
Of course, if projects stress you out, this may not be your go-to strategy to beat stress. But if you need a distraction from intellectual stresses at work, diving into a non-work project might help to distract you for a few hours. The more manual labor involved, the better.
Sunday Evening: Work It Out
Insomnia is a common component of so-called “Sunday night syndrome.” To beat it, though, you probably don’t need to turn to sleeping pills. With some planning, you can beat mild insomnia all by yourself.
You know the best way to beat insomnia, according to science? Work out, and work hard. Make yourself so physically tired you can’t possibly stay awake. So, if you know Sunday nights are difficult for your sleep schedule, plan a long run, hike, bike trip, or gym sesh on Sundays.
Sunday Night: Read a Damn Book
At this point, most of us know that blue-lit screens (like phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs) can affect sleep. So why not head this off at the pass by picking up a real, pages-and-binding book and going on an adventure?
What’s your Sunday-night stress reliever? Tell us in the comments below!