10 ways to beat the 'Sunday blues'

  • 17/06/2019

Laura Taylor for The Oh Nine

The Oh Nine is a blog run by two Aucklanders - Laura Taylor and Kim Burrows - sharing our internal conversations publicly. These are our thoughts, struggles and questions as we navigate young-adulthood.

The Sunday Blues, or Sunday Scaries, settle in for some as the weekend starts slipping away on a Sunday afternoon, and can be anything from feeling unusually anxious to a sense of impending doom and destruction.

Vague and varied in description, some scientists have extrapolated that the blues are brought on by weekend activities that disrupt our internal biological clocks like staying out until the early hours, and waking up later than normal.This can mess with our circadian rhythm - for instance your alarm goes off on Monday at 7am, but your body reacts with dread as if it were 4am.

Others hypothesise that it is the prospect of large stretches of unscheduled time that spins some people into an abyss, while some believe adrenal withdrawals to be the main culprit. For those with high pressure jobs, the removal of the stressful environment for two days can leave the brain demanding adrenaline - which is really no surprise with all this talk about millennials being the 'burnout generation'.

For others, feeling overwhelmed by the return to work/school/study and the workload that comes with it is to blame.

Regardless of the reason - if there is one thing we have had drilled into us on our self-care journey it's that to work well we have rest well; which is kind of hard when you're mid existential-crisis under a duvet at 4:47pm. So we put the word out to therapists, friends and readers and compiled some of their top advice on how they fight the feelings, or don't.



"I find what keeps me sane is scheduling in breaks, rather than scheduling in business. I have to write a to-do list and schedule my week if my anxiety is based in being overwhelmed. If I have general lowness, then I light a scented candle because you can train your mind to associate scents with feelings and hello French pear, you are trained to make me feel relaxed. Also, if it's really bad, I see what I can remove from my week and replace with something that I would look forward to more, like a night in or drinks with a friend or a massage.

"I think identifying what causes your blues really helps - is it boredom at your job? Or being thrown in too deep? Or sleep deprivation for too long? Or the lack of purpose that your job brings you? Having the language for why, is really key to breaking this cycle."



"Learn to have compassion for yourself and set realistic standards.  Try catching the negative thought patterns as soon as you notice them, and then practicing self-soothing techniques and good stress release strategies. Balancing your thoughts is also a good practice to get into, alongside planning effectively and using coping strategies when you know there is a particularly stressful week ahead. But most importantly - learn to let go!"



"Take care of yourself on Saturday night. Drink a lot of water and if you're out check in with yourself to make sure you're having a good time. As soon as you're not, get yourself an Uber and go home because Saturday nights in bed are to be relished, not feared.

"Don't set an alarm, let your body wake you up. Importantly, get out of bed when you wake up. Make a cup of peppermint tea and have a chat with a pal if anybody is around. Some of my best conversations have been on Sunday mornings. Going back to bed after this is an option that I usually seize! If you can't on Sunday, when can you?

"Early night on Sunday is the key here, I'm talking 8pm lights out. But don't be regimented about it! But also know that it's ok to look after yourself, and usually that means getting a good night's sleep."



"The Sunday blues are such a thing for me, and not for any particular reason. I enjoy my job, but the idea of the impending week can still sometimes feel overwhelming.  I try to trick myself by breaking down the week into the smaller things that I actually need to do  meetings I need to be at, tasks I need to complete, and things that I'm looking forward to.  I find that thinking beyond an amorphous blob of being busy helps me to realise that I'll be able to control whatever is coming at me in the week."



"I would say it's important to find a way to release yourself from guilt. Because if you are having the Sunday blues and then you're reading this article about ways people manage, and you're like 'wow this is so healthy but hard work' and then you don't do it and feel guilty because apparently it's so fixable and you feel like it's your fault - you end up in this whole cycle.

"Deep down you know the tools to get out, but you don't always use them cos you're a human. It's okay to be human. And feel the shit of life and not do anything about it because you're a bit broken and 10 steps seem like 10 too many to manage today."



"I think I get anxious about work and also the additional commitments after work on top of it. But if you compartmentalise and actually break down work and after work events - it isn't as much as your brain makes you feel it is. Perspective helps - I have to tell myself sometimes that I do love what I do and I'm lucky that I get to do this for a job and that the craziness does eventually pass.

"Moving to London I've realised the importance of having a network and your people around, so being able to spend quality time with friends is actually a blessing - easy to forget sometimes when all you do is feel like cancelling. But it's actually very good for the soul to get together, have a hug and a cackle and some words of support. On the flip side, spend some time alone and self-care - get a massage, get your hair or nails done, read a book by yourself in bed. It's all about balance and figuring out what works for you!"



"I've found the only way to beat them is to book fun stuff throughout the week, not just the weekend, especially on a Monday. I feel like we really need to get away from the mentality of only "living' in the weekends. Easier said than done, but I'm slowly working on that change of headspace."



"Rom-com cures for Sunday blues:

Pretty Woman, My Best Friend's Wedding, Four Weddings, Notting Hill, When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, Miss Congeniality, The Proposal, Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, Titanic, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days , Ghost, Dirty Dancing, Ps I Love You, The Bodyguard, Before Sunrise, Sliding Doors, Serendipity, Never Been Kissed, PS I Love You , The Notebook, About Time , 10 Things I Hate About You, Say Anything , Sixteen Candles , New York I Love You , Save the Last Dance, Step Up , Honey."



"Plan something fun for Monday night! My trick is to make Mondays a little less mundane. Maybe that is by spending Sunday evening and afternoon cooking a roast and extra veggies which I then blend together for a delicious bowl of soup to look forward to at lunch the next day. It also makes for quality chat in the workplace about your domestic goddess-ness."



"If all else fails revert back to basics - have you eaten something today? Showered? Have a glass of water - take a panadol."

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