For most people, the end of the weekend is not a welcome time; it marks the return to the hustle and bustle of the work week and all the tasks it entails.
In other words, Sunday nights can be tough, which is why “Sunday angst” is a reality for many people who work 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
If you’re one of the many people who dreads the coming Sunday, there are things you can do to make your evening (and the rest of your week) a little brighter and a little quieter. Here’s what you should know.
Create a relaxing Sunday night routine.
“People like routine, and people thrive when their mind and body don’t have to think as much,” said Ashley Janssen, productivity consultant at Ashley Janssen Consulting. So creating a Sunday night routine can help you relax as you wind down the weekend.
Janssen suggested developing a consistent schedule for the last few hours of each Sunday that will help you prepare for your week. You might want to set a good bedtime and engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as going to bed. For example, read a book, watch your favorite show, or do gentle yoga, she said.
Ending the weekend in a rush certainly won’t help you prepare well for the week ahead, but a quiet Sunday night routine will.
Prepare for Monday morning.
According to Francis Sopper, the CEO of productivity coaching organization GTD Focus, putting things in order to start your Monday off on the right foot is a great way to alleviate some of your Sunday anxiety.
That could mean packing your work bag in advance or checking the weather forecast so you can choose your Monday outfit.
Sopper said doing this on Sunday night makes his life easier once Monday morning arrives.
“I make decisions that are easier to make on Sunday night than Monday morning,” he said.
And plan fun things for the week.
According to Janssen, an important part of setting your expectations for the week is to consider the sense of anxiety that Sunday may present.
“You put an expectation on the week before it even starts,” she said — think of all the weeks you’ve been through that have gone pretty well.
To lessen your desperation, Janssen suggested making plans to look forward to during the week, such as going to school. For example, dinner with a friend or a movie night with your partner.
You could even add things to your Monday morning routine to make the day a little more comfortable. Instead of a video or phone call, maybe set up a coffee meeting with a colleague. Or order your favorite breakfast before you start work.
All of these things can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with starting a new week.
Avoid mental to-do lists.
Janssen said you should avoid listing mental tasks on Sunday nights — that is, lying in bed thinking about all the things you need to get done in the week ahead.
If you find your to-do list running through your head as you fall asleep, keep a notebook on your bedside table so you can jot down everything you need to remember, she suggested.
That way, “you don’t have to hold it tight [your] Head more,” she said, which can help set you up for a more restful sleep and a less anxious night.
You can prepare for the new week even before Sunday.
There are ways to combat your anxiety long before Sunday night, Sopper said.
Before the weekend even begins, spend time on Friday afternoon looking at next week’s calendar so you’re mentally prepared for what’s to come, he suggested. You might also note a few meetings or events that you look forward to.
By bringing these tasks or meetings into your awareness, you can enjoy not only your Sunday but also your Saturday as you don’t feel any uncertainty about your schedule.
“It’s a decent way into the weekend,” said Sopper.
And if you have to work over the weekend, do the quick tasks.
Many people don’t have the luxury of staying away from work all weekend – and it can even scare them to do so. If that’s you, Sopper said, you should plan your work on purpose; Don’t just take on recalcitrant tasks that can’t be completed over the weekend.
Instead, focus on the one-time things, he said. So if you need to quickly finish a presentation before Monday, do that task instead of working on a long-term task that doesn’t have a specific end date.
That way, “at least when you’ve worked, you have a sense of completeness,” Sopper added. And on Sunday evening you feel ready for the new week.
Prioritize self-care on Sunday nights—and throughout your weekend.
“We need to redefine what it means to waste time and redefine free time and recreation as productive time,” said Janssen. “It’s not a waste of time to spend time with family and friends or … to go for a walk or to rest.”
Nobody does a good job or makes great decisions if they don’t take care of themselves, she added. “Self-care is the competitive advantage in life. It prepares you for all the things that are important to you,” she said.
Sopper also stressed the importance of slowing down over the weekend so you feel refreshed when the alarm goes off on Monday.
At the weekend “rrelax a little more in bed. … Linger over breakfast or lunch. Slow down your roll a bit,” Sopper said.
So don’t be afraid to take advantage of this leisurely time on a Sunday evening. It can help you be better prepared for the week ahead.