I’m guilty of the “Sunday Scaries”- you know, the inevitable feeling of doom and gloom, the distress, and just plain stress, related to an upcoming week, and an overall sense of dread for Monday. It normally involves a bunch of ruminating on why weekends are so short and lamenting that the weekend is a brief 48 hours.
I was speaking with my therapist recently, and was explaining how I manage to get myself completely worked up, starting 7:00 am Sunday and continuing well into Monday. I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot of positivity and “good vibes” going into a work week, when your stomach is in knots and your brain is experiencing above-average stress levels.
My therapist, let’s call her… Bailey, and I, have talked a LOT about routine, about habit. She often reminds me that getting into this state of mind is merely habit. I have trained my brain that this mental wringer every Sunday is necessary. Maybe not necessary, but part of my normal Sunday, a bad, but reliable, habit.
Bailey also reminds me about how hard it is to break a habit. As an example, she tells me to try to imagine drying off with a towel after a shower. I have a routine, you have a routine, and it’s habit, I promise. You’ve just probably never thought about it. At least, I never did.
This example is especially poignant to me, because one of my biggest pet peeves that Matt commits (secretly) is drying off in the shower. Bless his sweet heart, I would never tell him this, but my GOODNESS, he could make me crazy. His dry-off method makes more sense than mine, but it just drives me bonkers.
In my case, I turn off the water, do a wet dog shake, climb out the door, grab the towel off the hook, and wrap it around me. I put my hair up in a different towel and dry myself from the feet up.
Matt (my precious angel) hangs the towel over the glass door, showers, turns off the water, then using the towel, dries his hair first. THEN he pulls the towel over the door, and continues to dry off in the steamy shower.
He’s doing it the right way. It’s way less cold than my method. It does not result in watery footprints and water drips all over the bathroom. However, the towel (like everything in our house) is generally covered in dog hair (even when they are fresh out of the wash, they are still hairy, and I DO NOT GET IT) . Inevitably, stray dog hair ends up on the shower walls and on the floor. AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. 3.5 years in and I still feel my jaw clench, every, single, time.
It’s okay if you’re laughing at me, I’m laughing at me too. 🤣 How lucky am I to have THAT as a “biggest pet peeve?” But it really does paint a picture, everything we do, including exiting the shower, is habitual. I’m trying to retrain my brain, starting with the Sunday Scaries.
This last week, with Star’s birthday and the time change, just felt heavy. I went into the weekend; mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. So I knew that today, of all days, it was extra important to really focus on my new Sunday routine. I don’t have time for Sunday Scaries.
It might be silly, but I’ve started making these small changes Sunday/Monday and I am already seeing a big difference.
- I grocery shop/meal plan. I love the grocery store. It’s the MOST relaxing place.
- I clean out and restock the fridge: out with the old, in with the new, and no more mystery smells!
- I clean the bathrooms. I don’t know why, but the thought of going into a new week with gross toilets and a hairy shower, just doesn’t set well.
- I pamper the dogs; lots of time playing with toys, brushing, and cuddles for my babies. I miss them when I’m at work 🤣
- I clean our glass front door. I can’t look into a new week with dirty, and nose smudged, windows.
- I empty all the trash cans, even if they were just emptied. There’s something refreshing with taking last weeks trash out and starting the week fresh/empty. Ain’t nobody got time for last weeks trash (physically and metaphorically).
- I prepare a meal for Monday night. No one wants to make dinner on Monday nights.
- I always shower and air dry my hair, I’m not dealing with that drama Monday morning and those extra 15 minutes.. are cherished.
- I pick an outfit I like, something comfy (but work appropriate). An outfit that screams, I’m here to kill it.. with comfort. 🤣
- I check my email to make sure that the bone marrow registry hasn’t found someone that I match. I DREAM of saving a life like this. Checking this every morning is a happy habit.
- I pack a lunch, one that I will look forward to eating and throw together some good snacks. Tasks, even shitty ones, are more fun if you have a yummy snack to dissipate the pain.
- I always stop and get McDonald’s for Monday’s breakfast. I’m actually trying to cut soda, but Monday mornings deserve a McDonald’s Coke.
- I always pay for the person behind me in line. Starting my week with a simple act of kindness, towards a stranger, just makes me happy. (When I used to go to McDonald’s more regularly, the girls would get so excited to tell me the next day how long the “pay it forward” trend lasted. Sometimes it was one person, sometimes it was three, sometimes it was 35. Kindness DOES make a difference, I promise.).
- I listen to music, happy music. To be honest, I LOVE true crime podcasts, and I used to listen to them on the way into work, but I’ve come to realize – music is better. Starting the day out with brutal murder and monsters wasn’t kicking my day off right. This has been a HARD habit to break, but “Should have been a Cowboy” by Toby Keith is a staple. Without a doubt, I should have been a cowgirl.
- I call my dad and wish him a good day. There’s nothing like kicking off the day talking to one of your favorite people.
- Once I’m at work, I fill up my “I love my dogs” tumbler with ice (work has the BEST ice), turn on my space heater, clean out my email inbox and write the most simple, easy to complete to-do list. I write down ALL tasks, so I have lots to cross out all day long. Productivity feeds on feelings of success.. at least in my case.
- I ALWAYS miss a Monday. I know, fitness instructors everywhere are probably shitting their pants right now. I’m sorry, but I ALWAYS miss a Monday. I don’t like working out. It isn’t fun. Maybe my endorphins don’t work. But seriously, the last thing I want to do is to spend even a mere 30 minutes on a Monday, doing something I hate.
- Matt and I have a rule – there are no responsibilities after work on Monday’s. No chores, no big dinner plans, no errands. He drums, I read/veg out, and we go to bed early.
It’s been said that it takes 3 weeks to form a habit- and I’ve been at this for almost 3 months now. I have to admit, it’s taken big effort on my part to continue to do this, because up until a couple weeks ago, I saw no progress. I was just doing a bunch of stuff, I didn’t particularly enjoy, while stressing about Monday and the upcoming week.
Maybe it’s stupid. Maybe you’re calling bullshit. But I have to admit, it works for me. A clean (ish) home, meals ready, a little kindness, and starting my week out with cheery music is a game-changer, and to be honest, I don’t miss the Sunday Scaries.
I don’t know what will work for you, I don’t know if you even suffer from Sunday Scaries, but if you do, try switching up those habits. Retrain your brain. Future you will thank you, because unfortunately.. Sundays aren’t going anywhere.
Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends. Happy Sunday! 🌞