How to Beat the Sunday Night Blues or Sunday Scaries

Updated on March 9, 2020
raymondphilippe profile image

Hi, I am Raymond. I picked up psychology after my banking career as a personal interest.

Sunday Scaries
Sunday Scaries | Source

The term "Sunday Night Blues (SNB)" refers to the negative feelings one experiences toward the end of the weekend upon thinking about returning to work in the morning.

Have you ever heard the term "Sunday scaries," or "the Sunday night blues"?

They're just different names for the same feeling of anxiousness that we might experience before heading back to the real world after a really great weekend.

According to a survey conducted by the job site, up to 76% of Americans self-reported having “horrible” Sunday night anxiety, compared to just 47% of people from other parts of the world.

A Sense of Woe

A few people might have no clue what you mean when you mention the Sunday evening blues. Most people, however, will recognize (to some extent) the melancholy feeling that takes hold of you when the weekend is almost over.

I got a sense of woe in my stomach almost every Sunday when I used to work at a bank because I knew: the weekend was nearly over. And I certainly wasn't the only one. More than half of the working people are struggling in precisely the same way. What is it with those Sunday evening blues and above all: how do you get rid of them?

Sunday Scaries - Sunday Night Blues

Do you recognize that feeling? It' s a kind of indefinable, sad feeling that you always want to reason away as quickly as possible. Because you still have time off now, don't you? (well, enjoy it then).

Or: you had a wonderful weekend, didn't you? (well, don't moan so much).

And yet it is a real feeling that you often don't know how to suppress.

Do understand: I don't mind working. In fact, I would have gone crazy if I had nothing to do.

Back then, I had an exciting job that offered me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted to do. But something deep inside me seems to want to have weekends every day of the year. To be able to enjoy that Friday afternoon feeling when it's five o'clock, or Saturday morning at half-past eight when you turn round in bed because nobody's expecting anything from you. But Sunday evenings... I didn't like them.

The Sunday Night Blues
The Sunday Night Blues | Source

A large part of the working population regularly feels a little down and out on Sunday evenings. It's as if that lovely weekend feeling is slowly but surely being washed away after the Sunday evening meal. Nevertheless, Sunday night blues are not a scientifically recognized phenomenon, nor do the experts agree on the exact causes. It could be:

  • Work-related stress
  • Too much involvement with your job
  • The weekends are one day too short

What's more, the arrival of the smartphone and the 24/7 economy hasn't helped either. It has lessened the separation between work and private life.

As a result: people are answering their overdue mail on Sunday. Or they see the first emails sent by their boss ("can you pick this up tomorrow ASAP") already coming in. With all the stress that this causes.

And then there is the Sunday night's sleep. This also seems to suffer. Being aware that you have to get up early the next day and therefore need to be fit and rested to make a good start of the week, results in many nocturnal twists and turns, sighs and then (work) worries in the bedroom. Why do we even bother with the weekends?

Video: 3 Tips For Removing Sunday Anxiety

If you are susceptible to the Sunday night blues, chances are that you will always experience them to a greater or lesser extent. That doesn't mean that you will have to give in to passively watching Netflix in a gloomy frame of mind. Quite the contrary.

There must be other options. Here are several tips that might help you to enjoy your weekend to its fullest.

Decide whether or not you want to work during the weekend

Decide whether or not you wish to work during the weekend. You can turn many mail programs on your phone off and on again, for example during the weekend. Do you want to do a little bit of work? Sometimes that's part of the job, but be clear about the duration; otherwise you won't get enough rest.

Work ahead on Friday afternoon

On Friday afternoon, finish a job scheduled for next Monday. That'll ease the tension on Sunday night. It may also help you to draw up a list of what you will be doing on Monday: that provides an overview and allows you to know what you can expect the next day.

Resist the temptation to do some work on Saturday or Sunday

You might think that this will give you a head start on the upcoming work week, but in reality, you will become a workaholic who is heading for a burn-out. Enough is never enough, and before you know it, you feel overwhelmed even before the new week has even begun. Don't spend more than half an hour on your agenda and drawing up a to-do list to decide what you're going to tackle next week. Then let it go and be confident that it will be all right.

Use the Sunday afternoon to prepare for the week

Clean up the house, plan what you will have for dinner next week, maybe even prep some meals to save you time during the week. Do the laundry, so you don't end up in a crisis on Wednesday over what to wear, make sure your car's tank is full and do some paperwork that has remained untouched during the past week. This will give you a sense of control and the idea that you can handle the coming week with ease.

Don't plan too many activities on the weekends

You don't have to go to every birthday celebration or the latest movie if you don't feel like getting off the couch. A stroll or an hour of ironing can also make you calm down, and it prevents you from ending up exhausted during your weekend.

Don't save all the fun things you want to do for the weekend. Go out for dinner on Thursday nights, or go to the movies on Tuesday after work (and then just arrange a babysitter if you have children).

Don't change your routine

Don't let your weekend routine differ too much from the week-round routine. For example, keep the same bedtimes.

Be social

It is very tempting to turn into a hermit during the weekend because you long for some peace and quiet after a hectic week. But social activities help give you a feeling that you're actually doing something useful and fun with your time. These activities contribute to our quality of life and are essential in preventing loneliness.


Practice mindfulness

An example of a mindfulness breathing exercise you could use Sunday evening. Consciously notice your breath and try to imagine your problem - Monday - in golden letters floating in the air. Let them gently sway on the rhythm of your breath. Question yourself what's the use of worrying about Monday and how you can best let go of your worries. Then visualize that you make the letters float up in the air or that they burst to leave a cloud of colorful confetti. This will help divert your attention away from the problem and transform it into something more fun. It also instantly creates a safe distance to your feelings of anxiety.

Sunday Scaries: Setting an Intention

Create a relaxed Monday evening

It's a pleasant idea to know on Sunday evening that you don't have anything planned on Monday night. Set a date with yourself. Go play some sports, or crash on the couch and watch your favorite show. That's how you to keep that relaxed weekend feeling just a little bit longer.


The Sunday Night Blues Poll

Do you suffer from the Sunday Night Blues?

See results

If you nevertheless dread going to work every Monday, then it might be time for something new.

Do you have tips you would like to share with us to beat the Sunday scaries? If so, please share them with us. The weekends are to short not to be enjoyed to their fullest.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Raymond Philippe


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    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 months ago from The Netherlands

      Hi Peggy. I think that is quite true. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I cannot say that I ever felt that way about Mondays when I was working, although off days were fun. I guess how much a person enjoys their job has a great deal to do with it.

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 months ago from The Netherlands

      I’m glad you managed to beat the Sunday Night Blues. Thanks for your kind comment.

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 months ago from The Netherlands

      That’s good to hear!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 months ago from USA

      I used to have a high workload, high stress job. I can identify with what you’re describing and eventually left for a better career that allowed me control over my own hours, workload and projects.

    • Prantika Samanta profile image

      Prantika Samanta 

      4 months ago from Kolkata, India

      I loved Friday evenings and enjoyed Saturdays. Sunday breakfast was always exciting. However, as the day used to progress, I used to feel sad. With the change in my work pattern, no more Sunday blues. People suffering from this problem will find the article helpful. Thank you for sharing a wonderful article.

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      5 months ago from The Netherlands

      I think you just described the best medicine against Sunday Night Blues. Thanks for commenting.

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      5 months ago from The Netherlands

      I guess it indeed depends on your lifestyle and work environment. Worklife and private life seem to be more and more intertwined.

    • profile image

      Devika Primic 

      5 months ago

      Sundays have always been my best day of the week. I relax, watch movies, and walk through the wild in the countryside. Your tips sounds useful and worthy to a reader as I.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I am glad I am retired although I don't remember having too many sad Sunday nights. I was an RN and really liked my job. Sometimes I was working on the weekends and I didn't like that.

      I think your suggestions should help anyone suffering from this problem. This is a very well-written article. I have heard good things about mindful breathing.

      I recently read that you should not stay up too late on the weekends as you need to be able to get an adequate amount of sleep each night for good health.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Heck with my lifestyle I often forget what day of the week it is for hours.

      In parts of my life I worked 24/7 so the day did not mean much, just the next meetings and deadlines on numbers of the month.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      I used to suffer from these, but a total change of job scene put paid to them. My working week is now in synch with my husband's shift pattern of working so Monday is rarely the 'start' of our week. But I still have vivid memories of that Sunday night feeling that your article has reminded me of. Any strategy to help with them would be beneficial to many people.

      I wonder if there is also a link to wishing the week away. A colleague of mine used to say "It's Thursday. It's nearly the weekend." At which point an older colleague used to admonish us for wishing our lives away.


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