By Sean Zucker —
The weekend is ending, and the dread of Monday’s renewed work responsibilities begins to creep in. The impending dread can cripple entire days. In fact, for many, it does. The phenomenon has become so commonplace that it’s even received an official title—the Sunday Scaries. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this creeping dread doesn’t have to be a weekly tradition. Experts report plenty of strategies to help ease the anxiety.
Sunday Scaries is not a small matter. A LinkedIn survey noted that 80 percent of working professionals admit they regularly experience it, while more than 90 percent of Millennials and Gen Zs claim they suffer from them.
“This is an anticipatory anxiety—not the stress at the moment, but the anticipation of what will come puts people in this fight or flight mode.” Dr. Susanne Cooperman, a neuropsychologist and psychoanalyst at NYU Langone Health, told NBC News. “The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and release adrenaline and cortisol. They flood the system, and you have a real stress reaction, and it feels like real anxiety.”
The related angst can be so intense and incapacitating that it can negatively affect sleep, which only exacerbates the issue, Cooperman added. So how can it be resolved?
Psychologist Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble notes that just by naming it the Sunday Scaries takes away some of its power. “For so many people, they carry those feelings every Sunday night or every Monday morning, and they have no idea what it is,” she said.
Admittedly, just naming the problem doesn’t eliminate it. But acknowledgment is the first step in solving any problem.
Breland-Noble told Insider that the next step requires sufferers to identify the core tasks that trigger the Scaries and get an early start on clearing them to ease the stress. “Start eliminating things a little at a time until you find your stress level comes down,” she added.
Journaling is also an effective tool because it will help collect and organize incoming responsibilities, rendering them less daunting.
Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, psychiatrist and chief medical officer at LifeStance Health, believes the solution lies in getting proper exercise and sleep. Just 20 to 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise, such as running or cycling, can reduce stress and anxiety—including stress born from fears of tomorrow.
People who have trouble sleeping, especially on Sundays, may be particularly prone to the Sunday Scaries. In these cases, Patel-Dunn also told Insider that creating a daily sleep ritual, such as meditating, dimming lights or going to bed at the same time every day. It is also essential to lessen screen time from cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronic devices at least an hour before hitting the sack. The digital glow is notorious for undermining healthy sleep.
Mondays don’t have to be the harbinger of dreed, regardless of whether someone likes their job. If impending doom approaches, try turning off all devices, getting some rest and remembering that chances are whatever is troubling can wait until tomorrow.