We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

6 Practical Tips to Help You Beat Sunday Scaries

A table with tacos and chicken pot pie set out, a pink face mask, and a to-do list.
Rockridge Press/I DEW CARE/Knock Knock

Experiencing a feeling of dread and anxiety on Sunday is commonly referred to as the “Sunday Scaries” and it can put a major damper on your weekend. Luckily, there are a few ways to control these feelings.

Sunday evening dread is normal for many people. It can happen whether you hate your job or you’re in a dream position, and it’s frustrating to feel like half of your weekend is spent thinking about how anxious you are for work to resume.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can battle these feelings and take back your free time. Here are some practical tips to help you beat the Sunday Scaries and enjoy the week ahead.

Identify What Is Stressing You Out

A woman making a list of her life and work stressors.

The first step in battling negative feelings on Sunday is to figure out where they’re coming from. Does Sunday stress you out because you hate your job? Because you don’t get enough sleep during the week and you’re dreading that feeling of exhaustion? Because you feel like you only have fun over the weekend?

Take some time to figure out exactly what stresses you out and focus on that. If you hate your job, maybe it’s time to look into other options. If your distaste with the workweek comes from constant exhaustion, start out on the right foot by taking melatonin or drinking a calming tea before bed to help you doze off faster.

Make it a goal to get eight or more hours of sleep each night. It’s ambitious, we know, but you’ll be amazed at how much better your week feels when you aren’t always tired.

Yogi Tea - Bedtime

This bedtime tea is both delicious and relaxing, a perfect way to end the day and unwind.

Take a few hours next Sunday to sit down quietly and ponder what your stress triggers are. Be mindful about what your thoughts stray to. When you identify a trigger, try to make a change in routine and see if it helps. Keep in mind that there may be multiple things adding to your distress, so there will be some trial and error when figuring out why you feel so bad over the weekend.

Look for specific places where you can enact a solution. For example, if starting your Monday digging out your email inbox really stresses you out and gets you behind, write down some potential solutions for that situation. Maybe you use the end of the workday on Friday to wrap up emails and clean out your inbox, then don’t look at your email at all until you’ve done a few hours of really productive work on Monday morning.

Write Next Week’s To-Do List on Friday

A to-do list notepad sits on a table; A to-do list notepad is hung on a wall.
Knock Knock

Speaking of writing things down, let’s talk about to-do lists. Nothing is more stressful than thinking about all the things you have to do during the week. Avoid giving too much mental energy to work over the weekends by creating next week’s to-do list on Friday. You’ll feel more prepared for the week ahead and won’t have those moments where you find yourself scrambling to write something down you need to do on Monday that you’re afraid you’ll forget about.

Breaking down your tasks day by day will also make them feel more manageable and less overwhelming. This to-do list gives you plenty of space to write out your action items for each day. Fill out a page for every day of the week on Friday. You can rest easy over the weekend knowing the whole week is planned out and you won’t forget any important tasks.

Plan Something Fun to Do on Monday and Mid-Week

A person holds a bath bomb over the package; Seven different bath bombs are shown.

Many people feel unhappy on Sunday nights because it marks the end of “fun” for another week. Planning something fun to do on Monday before or after work will extend the weekend fun and make a smoother transition into the week. Leave for work 20 minutes early so you have time to swing by your favorite bakery to grab a muffin on the way. Or plan on opening a new bath bomb and enjoying a relaxing bath in the evening.

In addition to a fun Monday activity, plan another one to do mid-week. This will give you something to look forward to during the week so you don’t feel like you’re living for the weekend. Plan to see a movie, have dinner with a friend, or anything else that will be a relaxing and fulfilling experience. If you’re considering taking a class related to fitness or a hobby, see if you can schedule that midweek too. It’ll break up the week so it’s not five days of work and nothing fun or rewarding.

Make Sunday a Self-Care Day

A face mask in a pink container sits on a pink background; a woman is smiling wearing a pink face mask.

If Sunday is stressful, do everything you can to make it as relaxing as possible. Drink tea, take a bath, use a face mask, go for a bike ride, read a book, or whatever other self-care practices you enjoy. If your self-care routine revolves around skincare, check out this post on tools to recreate spa treatments at home. If cooking relaxes you, these online schools will help you master the skill while you beat stress.

No matter what your self-care routine looks like, try to stay off your phone and computer as much as possible. It will probably be too tempting to check emails or your calendar while you’re online and you’ll instantly be reminded of work. Even if it’s just for a few hours on Sunday evening, some screen-free time is a must.

Practice Mindfulness

A young woman meditating in a sunny room.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Stress is a normal part of life. Practicing mindfulness through yoga, meditation, and gratitude can help you identify your stressors and how to not let them take over your life.

Studies have suggested that mindfulness can positively impact many aspects of our psychological well-being. Some benefits include improving our mood, decreasing anxiety, lowering job burnout, and increasing positive emotions.

In addition to battling the Sunday Scaries, meditation and mindfulness can ease stress and help you sleep better. If the idea of mindfulness sounds vague and confusing, check out this book. It breaks down the practice and is great for beginners who want to start implementing it in their lives.

Have a Healthy Sunday Night and Monday Morning

The cover of The Healthy Family Cookbook and a photo of tacos, chicken pot pie, and shrimp noodles.
Rockridge Press

Monday is going to suck if you’re already stressed, tired, and hungry by the time you get to work. Prepare for the day ahead by making a healthy dinner and going to bed early enough to get eight hours of sleep. Avoid drinking in the evening if it gives you a headache the next day. Wake up early enough on Monday to get ready and have a decent breakfast before heading to work.

It may also be helpful to get up early enough on Monday to have some personal time before work. Do something pleasant relaxing like yoga, journaling, or even playing a video game. Not only will this help you de-stress before work, but you’ll also have something to look forward to on Monday morning to make getting out of bed a little easier. Your Monday morning will set the tone for the day and even the rest of the week, so try your best to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?