The Sunday Night Blues and how to beat them by Nel Coupe

The Sunday Night Blues and how to beat them by Nel Coupe

It’s 5pm on Sunday and, like clockwork, a sense of dread begins to creep in. It’s as if a cloud is suddenly hanging over you, casting a shadow on the rest of your evening and you’d quite like to crawl under the duvet and hide.

Without realising it, you’re already going over next week’s to-do list:  How can it be nearly Monday already?  I haven’t got through the list I set for the weekend yet and I have not even thought about that huge presentation that needs to be ready for Tuesday.  Hang on, which birthday card have I got to post this week again, and what the kids are having for packed lunch tomorrow – doesn’t one of them have Food Tech on Wednesday?  And Oh, Wednesday, that reminds me, who’s picking Alba up from school after netball?  Agghhh!  This week is going to be impossible!

And there you have it: The Sunday Night Blues…

The Sunday Night Blues, sometimes called the Sunday Scaries, relate to the anticipation that you will soon have to do something (or lots of things) that you don’t want to do or that might be really hard.  Or, it can be the worry that you don’t feel you’ll be able to achieve everything that is expected of you in the coming days.  Added to this, you’re probably sad that the weekend – your free time, your fun time - is almost over.  Either way, the frustrating thing is that all that’s really happening is your anxiety is increasing ahead of time… it’s not Monday yet!

You might not even realise you have the Sunday Night Blues but, if you recognise any of these symptoms, chances are that you do: stomach churning, restlessness, irritability and a vague sense of unease can all be signs of this type of anticipatory anxiety.  

Don’t worry though, you are not alone. 

Research commissioned by OHID (Office for Health Improvement & Disparities) revealed that almost 7 in 10 Brits report regularly experiencing the ‘Sunday Scaries’ (67%), increasing to three-quarters (74%) for those aged 18 to 24.  Work stresses, lack of sleep and looming to-do lists were reported as the top causes of stress or anxiety on a Sunday.

To distract themselves, those aged 18-24 said they turned to social media, those aged 25-32 were most likely to binge watch TV and respondents aged 33-40 most likely to comfort eat.  Whilst understandable, these are not the solutions…

So, what can you do to beat the Sunday Night Blues?

Ideally, you want to try to narrow down the cause: is there perhaps one big thing that’s really bothering you this week? Or is there a recurring theme that crops up every week? Try and find time to really listen to what’s going on, and what’s behind that. If you genuinely have too much to do each week, that needs to change.  If you have a boss that’s making your life difficult, what could you do to resolve this?  Try and find the root cause of your anxiety and take actionable steps to fix it. 

If there’s not a specific focus of your anxiety, then hopefully these top tips will be able to help you:

  • Write yourself a list: Break down Sunday and the week’s actions into manageable chunks.  Prioritise and be realistic! Give yourself chance to spend your valuable Sunday time as you really love doing and focus on that after writing your list.
  • Practise relaxation strategies: Be mindful and meditate.  Inside, outside, whatever works for you.  Just take a moment to breathe, relax and be present in the moment.
  • Stay active: We all know that exercise is a stress reliever and it doesn’t even have to be for that long. According to the American Psychological Association, just 5 minutes of physical activity can boost your mood.
  • Eat well: Researchers at Zoe have found that high quality diets — including those containing more fibre,  omega-3, and “good” bacteria called probiotics — may be linked to a lower risk of anxiety, stress, and depression symptoms.
  • Sleep well: Get into a good bedtime routine; switch off devices an hour before bed and do something relaxing.  The better you sleep, the more rested you’ll feel and you’ll be better able to cope with the week ahead.
  • Connect with people: Don’t try to cope alone.  It really can be true that a problem shared is a problem halved.  Listen to the people around you, take advice and keep talking. Having someone to share your Sunday Scaries with can really help. Going on a walk with a friend to share them can really help everyone put them in perspective – and a walk with a friend also ticks off point 3 above – win win!
  • Create gaps in your week for fun! Without becoming overwhelmed with one more thing to do, try to have one or two activities in the week which are for you and that you will really look forward to.  This should help to shift the focus away from the dread.
  • Seek professional help if you need to: If you find that these self-help strategies aren’t working for you, and the anxiety is growing, you may need to seek professional help.  Talk to a doctor and get the help you need.

As ever, Swell is here to help make fitness and wellness more fun and easy, so and I’m super excited to share two new ways we can help you banish the Sunday Blues through our new Sunday 7pm and Monday 6:30Am Yoga classes – check our full details on our Swell Hub here   

Our Sunday evening yoga class aimed at helping people really connect with themselves and have quality relaxation time for themselves on a Sunday and get reset for the week ahead. 

Coupled with the energising Monday 6.30 slot, this is the perfect combination to start your week on a positive note.  To find out more, please get in touch with our  

To learn more on this topic, check out some of our research links and reading here:

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