As your weekend comes to a close, you start to feel dread creep up on you; the anxiety of another week coming to a close has arrived. A great feeling of doom shows up Sunday night, sucking the color out of your life. Also called the Sunday blues, feeling Sunday night anxiety can suck the fun out of whatever you’re doing with the last bit of your weekend.
Maybe you’re feeling nervous about the week ahead. You might be dreading the workload of the week. Either way, you’re not alone. According to the Sleep Judge, an organization devoted to helping people get a good night’s sleep, 81% of workers feel dread about the coming week each Sunday. Even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, anticipating a rough work week can make even the best of us feel uneasy.
The dread many people feel on Sunday night can happen any day of the week. If you have an atypical schedule, you’ll likely feel it the night before your “work week” starts.
Why Does Sunday Night Anxiety Happen?
Feeling dread comes from thinking about the future instead of staying in the present. When you’re thinking about all of the tasks you have to do during the week ahead, of course, you’re going to feel anxious and concerned.
Experiencing tension at night before the work week starts is a type of anticipatory anxiety. Sunday night is a transition time, where you’re switching from the relaxation of the weekend to a stressful work week. After you’ve already been relaxing, it’s hard to accept that you have to give that up and return to the demands of the week.
Working from home can actually make Sunday night anxiety worse. We experience this when boundaries between work and life become blurred. When you work at home, it’s hard to determine what’s work and what’s your life outside of work.
You might think that dread would increase the more people don’t like their boss or the work that they’re doing. That isn’t necessarily the case. In reality, the better relationship someone has with their boss, the more likely they are to be anxious about the week ahead. This phenomenon exists because there are higher performance expectations and a more significant workload.
When the economy is in bad shape, this can also cause increased Sunday night anxiety for fear of getting laid off. When the pressure to perform is high as well, this can lead to heightened anxiety. According to The Sleep Judge, those in the legal and finance industries have some of the highest levels of Sunday night dread.
Becoming anxious at night can happen to anyone.
There isn’t just one cause.
Many people experience night anxiety. In turn, that can affect your sleep, which can then make your anxiety worse. When you’re lying down to sleep for the night, you don’t have anything else occupying your attention. That means any concerns, worries, or fears you’ve pushed away during the day can pop up undisturbed.
That night anxiety can get even worse on Sunday night, right before your workweek. Some people can’t even sleep because they feel so anxious about the week to come.
Sunday night anxiety feels a lot like other types of anxiety. However, this one seems to get worse as the day progresses. It might start as a dull sensation at the back of your mind or in the pit of your stomach and become so intense that you can’t focus on anything else.
Another distinguishing factor of Sunday night anxiety is that it only seems to come up the night before starting something. Once people get in the swing of their workweek, that anxiety either tends to dissipate or shifts to focus on other areas of stress.
Here are some symptoms you might be experiencing on the last night of your weekend.
- Stomach issues
- Increased heart rate
- Feeling weak
- Sweating, especially night sweats
- Lower mood
- Sense of unease
- Struggling to sleep
- Trouble concentrating
Sunday Night Blues and Work Anxiety
There’s a chance you’re feeling anxious on Sundays because you have work anxiety. While work anxiety is not a diagnosed disorder, it can still mess with your ability to show up and do your job.
Any number of things can cause work anxiety. If you work in a high-pressure environment, it can lead to chronic stress. Issues at work like bullying or harassment can also lead you to dread going in on any day of the week.
Feeling like your work goes unnoticed or isn’t appreciated can also cause a lot of stress around work. Staying in a dead-end job can cause you to feel unappreciated or like what you’re doing doesn’t matter.
Work anxiety can impact your life in several ways. Your job performance will likely suffer, as can your relationships with others. Both in and outside of your workspace, life can become more unmanageable, as you may seek out other routes to alleviate the tension you feel.
Many individuals find that in managing their anxiety, they unwittingly develop a substance use disorder. The co-occurring nature of these concerns requires special knowledge to overcome.
What to Do About Sunday Night Anxiety
The Sunday blues don’t have to ruin your weekend. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the anxiety you feel before beginning another work week.
Figure out what the dread is trying to tell you
The best thing to do when you’re feeling the dread is to figure out what it’s trying to tell you. Are you no longer in love with your job? Is it causing too much stress in your life? Are work expectations too much for you to meet?
If you’re going to school, is your least favorite class the first day of the week? Are there specific aspects of Mondays that are stressing you out? When you know what is causing your anxiety, you can take steps to address it.
Leave work at work
In the day and age of remote work, many of us work from home. That makes it challenging to create and maintain work/life boundaries. However, the more work blends into your time off, the more likely you will experience anxiety and stress.
It’s more important than ever to hold to firm boundaries between your work and home life. If possible, create a designated workspace where you only engage in work. Stick to a schedule, and shut down your work email when it’s outside of work hours.
Focus on what you’re doing in the moment
Anxiety takes us out of the present moment by bringing up fears of the past or the future. When we are focused on the here-and-now, those anxieties can’t plague you.
Bring your mind to the activities you are doing on Sunday. Take note of the little details surrounding you. What do you see, feel, smell? These details can help you become grounded in the present.
Address anxious thoughts
What are your anxious thoughts telling you? What specific scenarios are causing you stress?
Instead of thinking endlessly about what-ifs, take some time to brainstorm solutions to the things that are causing you to fear.
One exercise that helps some people is to develop a game plan for situations that they imagine. For example, if you’re worried about a more demanding workload during the upcoming week, create a strategy for how you would tackle that workload. Or, if you worry you’ll be reprimanded by your boss, come up with coping strategies to get through a tough conversation.
Use Sunday to plan ahead
You might be feeling anxious on Sunday night because you’re not sure about what the upcoming week holds. Instead of trying to wing it, create a plan for the week on Sunday night. That way, you can feel more prepared for what lies ahead.
Laying out your week in advance gives you an idea of what to expect. Sometimes when you know what lies ahead, your anxiety about what might happen in the future quiets down.
Schedule downtime and self-care during the week, not just on weekends
If you work long hours and don’t leave time to wind down, it’s no wonder you’re feeling dread about the upcoming week!
Just like you schedule work tasks and other responsibilities, make sure you schedule time for self-care. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, take 15 minutes out of your day to do something you want to do. Options for this might look like a simple yoga flow or taking some time to read a book that’s collected dust on your shelf.
Reduce your responsibilities if possible
If you’re feeling super overwhelmed, try to see if you can reduce your workload. See if you can delegate some of your tasks or if roommates can help you with some of the household chores until you can find a better balance to deal with your Sunday night anxiety.
Get professional help
There’s a lot of help out there for addressing night anxiety. If your anxiety has gotten so severe that it’s interfering with everyday life or inspired the development of unhealthy coping skills like using alcohol or substances, going to inpatient treatment can help you quickly get a handle on your situation.
The Sunday blues don’t have to put a damper on your weekend. Learning coping skills like those listed above can help you learn to manage your stress levels. With enough practice, you can start enjoying your weekends again and keep work at work.
Connect with us today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about how the treatment centers with Promises Behavioral Health can help you overcome your severe anxiety and help you sleep easily on Sunday Night.