3 Ways To Overcome the Sunday Scaries
Balancing work and life has always been important to me, and it’s even more important that I help my colleagues understand the value as well. I believe time away (true time away - completely unplugging from work) helps prevent burnout, helps enhance personal relationships, and increases productivity upon returning.
However, balance is easier said than done, especially when you suffer from the “Sunday Scaries.” Be it a feeling in the pit of your stomach, an inability to fall asleep, or a general feeling of uneasiness, it’s an awful way to wind down your weekend and begin your work week.
I admit, I suffered from the Sunday Scaries for years. In talking with friends, coworkers, and family, I realized I wasn’t the only one and it was - in fact - quite common. LinkedIn even polled workers and found 80% suffer from Sunday-specific anxiety. Knowing I’m not alone is helpful, but doesn’t solve the problem.
When Amy Winner and I co-founded Wheels Up, one of the things that was important to me was a healthy balance of work and life -- and, as a barometer for that balance, an expectation there will be no more Sunday Scaries. And guess what, a year in, I’ve yet to really feel that Sunday dread I used to feel.
I’ve been digging a bit and thinking about why. Here are a few ideas I have about how I’ve kept the anxiety at bay and turned the Sunday Scaries into Sunday Funday:
1. Determine the cause and create a plan to tackle it
And by cause, I mean something specific about the upcoming week. Do you have a rough meeting first thing Monday? Project due dates bunched up early week? Are you waking up to an overfull inbox? I realized I need time on Monday morning to prepare for the week, review my upcoming tasks and meetings, and really settle in. Once I realized this, I blocked my calendar until 10:30 a.m, giving myself about 2 hours to look through my Asana tasks, plan my week, read through emails, etc. with minimal distractions. (I will admit - this takes a lot of discipline to follow, as my nature is to jump in as quickly as possible.)
2. Plan for downtime on Sunday
We’re so busy these days, running from here to there, the practice of taking time to deliberately do nothing is often overlooked. It’s a habit I’ve been intentionally trying to change. I don’t open my laptop on Sunday (again, that takes a LOT of discipline). Instead, Sunday is a day to relax, enjoy time with my family, and participate in activities that nourish my mind. I take care of chores first thing in the morning, which frees up my afternoon and evening to take long walks with my dog, cook a nice dinner, and sit on the porch to enjoy watching lightning bugs.
3. Remember its OK to be unavailable
The “always on” mode is a pervasive one, but a bad habit to let yourself get into. I like to divide my time intentionally, booking work time on my calendar, turning my phone off in the evenings, and building breaks into my day. I’m also intentional with the time I do work; if I’m invited to a meeting with no agenda, I ask the organizer if it’s necessary to attend, or even attend the entire time.
Lastly, (and I’m sorry it’s not a tip everyone can use), I find joy and excitement in working with our passionate and interesting clients, and am lucky to have a supportive and amazing team here at Wheels Up -- the combination greatly contributes to my motivated Mondays.
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