No matter how much you love what you do, there’s a good chance that you feel a twinge of disappointment when the weekend comes to an end. In fact, a poll by Monster showed that 76 percent of Americans experience the Sunday night blues, with the majority of them rating the experience as “really bad.” Regardless of how enjoyable, distracting or relaxing your weekend may have been, the inevitable wave of sadness and subtle dread probably washes over you every week before you set your Monday morning alarm. But the good news is that there are several simple things you can do to prevent weekend withdrawal. Here are a few.
- Save Work for Workdays—One of the simplest things you can do to make your weekends rejuvenating rather than stressful is to save work for workdays. Make weekends about clearing your mind, relaxing and preparing for the week ahead. On the same token, try to get into the habit of not checking your work e-mail on the weekends, evenings or in the morning before you go to work. Know that, in our high-demand world, this might mean that you’ll have to work longer and harder during the week, but it’s worth it for your sanity!
- Rest—As far as restorative activities go, nothing is better than sleep. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation warns that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect cognitive performance and focus. How do you prep the body and mind for a good night’s rest? It’s all about relaxing activities, like taking a soothing bath, diffusing some calming essential oils—lavender and chamomile, especially!—or reading a book in bed. When you go to bed with a clear mind, you’ll also wake up with one.
- Plan a Vacation—Life is better when you have something to look forward to, and studies show that a break from work may actually be beneficial to your productivity. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that vacations that were planned ahead, are far from work and include social connections have a seriously high return on investment in terms of energy and outlook upon returning to work. So, go ahead and book it…it’s for the benefit of your work!
- Take Time to Meditate—Meditation is a great way to unwind and create a clean, mental slate after a busy work week or weekend. It helps you enter the workday feeling refreshed and ready to go, so making the transition to Monday is a little less jarring. We recommend creating a soothing, tranquil environment with candles and essential oils for relaxation to help you completely clear the mind. This will also help improve your quality of sleep.
- Plan Daytime Breaks—Just as vacations can help you recharge your metaphorical batteries, so can occasional breaks within the workday. And, like a schedule-free week at the beach, a weekday lunch date or midday walk gives you something to look forward to. But try to resist the temptation to take your phone or work with you—the point is to disconnect for an hour or so.
- Make Work More Enjoyable—As we’ve already covered, not everyone who gets the Sunday blues hates their job. In fact, most of us enjoy our work but still find it hard to go from relaxation to demanding schedule every single week. With that being said, making your work something to look forward to will undoubtedly ease the blow. Maybe that means finally having that tough conversation with your coworker to reduce certain stressors or upgrading to a new office coffee maker to make heading to the office a reward.
- Get a Head Start on Friday—For many of us, we pack in the work until the very last second on Friday afternoon, but there may be some benefit to working just a tiny bit harder in the last few hours of the work week. For example, if you know that you have a particularly busy day on Monday—which will undoubtedly contribute to higher levels of Sunday evening stress—then do your best to lessen the burden at the end of the week so that you come in on Monday ready to tackle all your tasks.
- Plan Out Your Weekends—It’s simple, but putting a little bit of organization into your weekend can help ensure that you feel both relaxed and ready to take on a new week on Monday morning. Dedicate a few hours to chorets that make the workweek less stressful or busy—meal-planning, laundry, exercising and organizing your closet, for example — and then parcel out the rest of the time for activities that get your mind off the stressors of daily life.
- Connect with Co-Workers—Another contributor to workplace happiness is the connection you have with the people you work with. If you make an attempt to treat those around you as friends rather than co-workers, there’s a good chance you’ll feel better about going to work every day. Even if you think you have nothing in common with people at work, understand that you’ve already got one major shared interest—your work!
- Buy Something New—Don’t get us wrong. We’re definitely not advocating for shopping as a means of coping with stress or dread in your daily life. But there is something to be said about the refreshing power of the upgrade. In other words, if you’re looking for a way to make life easier and more enjoyable, maybe upgrading to a new travel mug, keyboard or desk diffuser will make an otherwise unappealing workday somewhat desirable.
Finally, the most important way to squash those sorry Sunday scaries is to understand that you’re not alone and you shouldn’t feel shame about your workweek dread. Beating yourself up isn’t productive but identifying stress triggers and working to quell them can make a major difference. At the same time, if you find that your blues go beyond subtle sadness and are more like full-blown dread, it’s time to make some life changes and consider moving on to a different job or talking to a professional about your feelings.
Stacey Gavin is a wellness advocate and blogger with a passion for living a natural and healthy lifestyle. Currently pursuing an Aromatherapy Certificate and a balanced life. She loves walking her dogs and spending time on the water with her family.