6 Ways to Manage the Sunday Night Blues

stressed young woman sitting on sofa
By Vicki Salemi

Got a cold? Or is it the flu? It's no coincidence that this thinking starts emerging every single Sunday. The pit in the stomach feeling. Dread. Simply stated: stress.

You're not alone. In a survey released by Monster in June, 76 percent of all U.S. respondents reported having "really bad" Sunday night blues. What does that say about our workforce as a nation, considering three-quarters of us shortchange our weekends with the pending gloom of an upcoming workweek? In contrast, only 42 percent of European respondents report having Sunday night blues on the same level.

Now that we know the numbers, here are several remedies. They're not as simple as popping an aspirin to soothe the aches and pains; you need to closely examine underlying reasons for the blues in order to significantly improve the situation.Reclaim what's rightfully yours: a relaxing Sunday throughout the evening and a job you truly look forward to returning to on Monday morning.

Identify the triggers. For starters, are the Sunday night blues perhaps more pervasive so that they begin Sunday afternoon or even Sunday morning? That's when you know something must absolutely change. Feeling stressed on weekends not only impacts you, it impacts people around you, too.

What exactly is causing the dread? Is it your commute? A never-ending project? A mean-spirited work environment? A colleague stealing your thunder? A feeling that you're bored and underemployed?

Take time to reflect upon the past week at work. What went well, and what didn't? What did you enjoy? What are you looking forward to most this week, and what are you dreading the most?

This step is critical, because experiencing the Sunday night blues should not be acceptable. Like our European counterparts, we should seek a lower percentage and, in turn, a higher happiness quotient associated with Monday mornings.

Create a spreadsheet. Once you've identified the triggers, create a spreadsheet with rows for each item, such as commute, work environment, workload and so on. Rate each item on a scale of one to 10. You'll begin to see patterns emerge to show what's bringing on the blues, if it's not already apparent.

Take work-life balance to another level. Do you find yourself checking work emails on Sundays or feeling guilty when you don't log on? Are you not as unplugged and carefree as you are on a Friday or Saturday night? Do you approach Sundays with the same joie de vivre as the rest of your weekend?

Reconfigure your Sundays to focus more on self-care. Perhaps include more time to exercise and spend with family and friends. Maybe it's an ideal time for your mind and body to rejuvenate by taking a new yoga class or immerse yourself in a new recipe you've always wanted to try. Stay occupied by surrounding yourself with people you adore and hobbies that fuel you.

That said, don't fill your schedule up so much that you're overscheduled and neglect time for yourself. Even writing in a journal for five minutes or taking a brisk walk to clear your head can help you reboot for the upcoming week.

Look for another job. Sometimes the one and only remedy to eliminate the Sunday night blues altogether involves looking for a new job. Since the job search is a journey, define your personal career goals. What would you like to learn and achieve? How would you like to grow? Write a job description for your ideal role. Create a proactive plan based on your goals in order to keep your eyes on the prize.

Frequently refer to your spreadsheet. Remember the spreadsheet items causing the worst of your Sunday night blues? Focus on them while looking for a new job. Identify the top three pain points, and ensure they remain priorities in new opportunities you pursue.

For instance, if your commute is absolutely horrible, then having a much shorter commute with the possibility of working from home may be your No. 1 priority as you job search.

Recognize the situation is temporary. The beauty of looking for a better opportunity, aside from landing it, is the wonderful action it stirs. Being in motion will likely help alleviate some of the agita you're currently experiencing.

Keep in mind that this job situation – Sunday night blues included – is temporary. Remind yourself that it won't last forever.
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