How to overcome the Sunday night blues

We’ve all been there. After a lovely, restful weekend, you catch yourself looking at the clock and realising it is now Sunday evening and that Monday morning and a full week of work awaits.

A familiar sense of dread sets in and your mood shifts from calm to mild panic. So how can you overcome the Sunday night blues and start your week on a more positive note?

Restructure your week

Hilda Burke, psychotherapist, counsellor and life coach says that many people fall into the trap of polarising their week, cramming all the fun stuff into the weekend and relegating the ‘work and drudge’ to Monday-Friday. “Firstly, look at how you’re structuring your week,” she notes. “Rather than trying to do all the things you feel you have to or should do – whether that’s working long hours, dragging yourself to the gym or not going out, try and balance things out a bit.”

Burke suggests substituting an activity you don’t really want to do, such as going to the gym, with a fun or stimulating class or doing another activity, such as going for a run, with a friend instead.

Don’t binge drink over the weekend

“Many people fall into the trap of bingeing at the weekend which will inevitably effect how you feel on Sunday night,” says Burke. “Alcohol is a depressant, so even if you’re not technically hungover, most people will suffer a low mood following over indulgence in alcohol.”

Burke recommends trying to take an ‘everything in moderation’ approach instead. “Starting to notice the impact of what you spend your weekend doing, how it contributes to how you’re feeling on Sunday night can be empowering,” she notes.

Think about making a change

Career coach Benedicta Banga says if the Sunday night blues are a permanent fixture, it might be worth considering whether you need to find another job, or a career change. “If the cause of your Sunday night blues is because you aren’t enjoying your work, then make a list of what is making you unhappy in your job,” Banga advises.

Then create another list of what you love about your job. “If what makes you unhappy outweighs what you love, then you can start looking into alternatives and start talking to recruiters,” she notes. “Sometimes a new employer or working in a different team might have a significant impact.”

Stop putting off difficult conversations

Most of us shy away from confrontation, but sometimes it can be worth having a difficult conversation and putting a different perspective on things, especially when it comes to work.

Banga says: “Perhaps you should start confronting some of the issues that happen in the week that make you feel like not going to work. Sometimes the resolution might be as simple as asking for different responsibilities, changing your work routine or having a conflict resolution conversation.”

Be prepared

Dr Salone Goodman, hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, says: “Often we view Sunday night as the night before we go back to work/school etc so it makes a change to look at Sunday as another ‘funday’ like Saturday.” One way of doing this, says Dr Goodman, is to try and set aside some time on Friday to prepare for the following week so you’re not stressing about it over the weekend.

This could be anything from getting all your laundry out of the way, to replying to the unread emails.

Take five

Trisha Barker, coach and founder of The Imposter Syndrome Solution consultancy, says: “Before throwing yourself into planning the week ahead, take five minutes to review the week you’ve had. Write down the good things that happened, what you achieved and what are you doing really well right now.”

By doing this, you should hopefully start the week on a positive note, Barker says. “It’s great to have something in the diary that is linked to celebrating your achievements. It’s like giving yourself your own gold star.”

Stay off social media

“Don’t do anything that doesn’t make you feel good, so stay off social media, emails and scrolling mindlessly on the internet,” says Barker.

“Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good chemicals so make time to watch a comedy, or meet up with friends and family that you enjoy to laugh with.”

Or you could try focusing on something relaxing, light some candles and have a bath and an early night so you feel refreshed for the week ahead, Barker suggests.

Georgina Fuller is an award winning freelance journalist and editor.

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