Let’s face it. If you are like me and work a typical Monday-Friday work week, Mondays suck. I was introduced to this phenomenon just one week into my first professional job. I was on a bus headed to downtown Minneapolis surrounded by a sea of working professionals. I will never forget the conversation I overheard from one working mom who had spent the entire weekend food prepping for herself and her children that she had just dropped off at daycare. I listened to her recite her weekly activities filled with 9-hour workdays and busy nights at home with her family going to bed exhausted just to wake up and do it all over again.
I was terrified… Even though I was newly married and without children, I quickly learned that I needed to savor every single moment on the weekends to help me get through the work week. I made sure that my husband and I spent our weekends doing ‘things’ that I thought were either fun or productive. Laying low just resting and relaxing felt like a waste of precious time. I proceeded to live my life like this over the next 30 years. Our time together turned into time spent with our children and, after they grew into adults, time spent with family and friends. I lived for the weekends.
It wasn’t until after my own children had grown and were in their own professional lives that I realized how detrimental it was to live for the weekends. They were the first ones to introduce me to the term ‘Sunday Scaries’ and while at first, I mocked them for feeling this way; I realized I had them too.
Being in the recruiting industry and doing lots of research, I became fascinated with this ‘Sunday Scaries’ concept. I found that over 75% of the working population feels this anxiety. So, what are the ‘Sunday Scaries’, and why do so many of us feel this way? This fun alliterative name is simply the anticipatory anxiety of the week ahead. There are many valid reasons why the working world experiences this. We have to mentally prepare ourselves for the work challenges that lie ahead for the week.
So, what do we do? I’ve been contemplating this issue a lot over the years and have been working on my own ways to combat it. It’s not perfect, but it has definitely improved. Here are some things that I do to help. We are all in different places in our professional lives, so you must come up with things that support your unique situation.
- I keep client commitments and internal meetings to a minimum on Mondays.
- I block out at least an hour every Monday morning for my own weekly preparation and planning.
- I try to make any other meetings related to planning for the week.
- I make sure I get time for lunch and workout break. If I miss a Monday, I am likely to miss the rest of the week.
- I buy flowers on the weekend to brighten my home office and remind me that there can be ‘fresh & fun’ during the work week.
- I try to plan at least one fun work night spent with friends or family and, of course, one date night with my spouse.
- My immediate family members all text each other every Monday morning with a ‘Happy Monday morning’! We also congratulate each other after completing ‘hump day’ Wednesday. And of course – we express our gratitude via text for TGIFridays!
I don’t get the Sunday Scaries very often anymore, and I have grown to embrace and enjoy the average work week!