It’s Sunday evening, and you’re finishing up a totally fab activity-filled weekend (or, even better: a super relaxing one). And suddenly, your mood goes seriously dark and anxiety seizes up your mind—at least, it does for 80 percent of us, according to a poll from Monster.com).
Why does this happen? In a recent interview with Shape magazine, Jennifer Ragsdale, PhD (an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa) explains that it can happen if you don’t dedicate enough time over the weekend to rejuvenating after the work week. Because of this, when it’s time to flip back on your work mode switch, you’re not mentally prepared—and you get the “Sunday scaries.”
Ragsdale explains that some people are more oriented toward worrying and ruminating, and these people are susceptible to obsessing over Monday’s to-do list, despite having a good weekend. Others think about stressful scenarios of the week before—which of course leads to feeling more stressed out—or worry about what could happen once you’re back in the office, which activates your stress response, says Ragsdale.
“On a Sunday night, you’re trying to relax, so you’re not going to do the adaptive fight-or-flight thing,” says Ragsdale. “You’re going to sit there and stew in those stress hormones.” Anyone else frantically nodding your head?
So how can we let go of the impending work we need to do and enjoy the whole weekend? Ragsdale recommends writing out a to-do list on Fridays before you leave the office and making sure you get enough sleep over the weekend, for starters, to really unplug and recharge on your days off.
Interested in meditating but don’t know where to start? Try one of these seven meditation apps that’ll kickstart your practice. You can also try using stress to your advantage.