In my 20’s– hell, even in my early 30’s — I often rolled my eyes at the topic of self-care. Kinda ironic given that I graduated with a psych major, right? I can’t really tell you why. Maybe all the hype of it just seemed a bit cliché. Maybe I was resisting another area in my life that I knew might require some active participation on my end. Anyways, doesn’t matter now. And as I said before, I really can’t conjure up the root cause for my avoidance on this one. What I DO remember from this time period though was the palpable anxiety that began to creep in every Sunday, as the clock struck noon. The “Sunday Scaries” had arrived, ready to hijack the remainder of my otherwise typically pleasant weekend.
The term “Sunday Scaries” probably sounds like millennial vernacular or perhaps even an internet meme reference. (You’re right. It’s both.) You might even find it mildly funny. Unfortunately, despite only recently making its way to the Urban Dictionary, the concept itself, has been fucking up weekends for a really long time.
In fact, according to this survey, up to 76% of Americans experience the anticipatory anxiety associated Sunday Scaries!
(Btw, this post probably contains affiliate links. For full disclosure and medical disclaimer, scroll to the bottom.)
If it sounds as if I’m writing this in jest or being facetious, I’m not. I would never joke about anything that potentially causes a large group of people debilitating anxiety. I have been there, y’all.
For the record, during a period when I loathed my occupation the most, the sheer thought of Monday actually brought me to tears on more occasions than I’d like to admit. If you’re thinking — “C’monnn, why didn’t you just quit your job if it was that bad?” — then you’ve got half a valid point. Yes, that was certainly my longterm game plan but being a responsible adult also sometimes means sticking out situations longer than you’d like because, oh yeah… bills. Girl’s gotta eat.
So what’s a gal to do when she can’t change her circumstances? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else. But I can attest that building on these practices below certainly helped alleviate some of my own struggles with the Sunday mind fuck. At the very least, I was in a better mood Monday morning. And, I felt like I had a stronger grasp on the week than the week had on me.
This may seem archaic, especially if you solely operate on a digital calendar. If you have an incredible memory, you might not even need to record your plans! I used to be that person too, and maybe this won’t of of service to you. Ultimately, I decided a digital calendar wasn’t tangible enough. Also, my memory isn’t terrible, but I realized mentally looking at the big picture of the week’s tasks and events was a major source of stress. Without seeing it all written down on paper, everything seemed to be a lot less manageable.
How do I know this now? Because I’ve learned that when I break that shit down in a planner, I’m considerably more productive and less stressed! If I’m given too much “free time”, a.k.a time not designated to a specific task, I procrastinate. That’s fine sometimes, and I still do this now and then. But in regards to work and dealing with the Sunday Scaries, I recognized I needed a more comprehensive outline of how I was going to tackle the week, step by step.
So I sit down on Sundays, with a good cup of coffee or tea, and map it allll out. The nitty-gritty, hour by hour if needed. I even schedule in things like breaks, eating lunch, yoga, etc. I also create a to-do list prioritizing my goals. Do I get everything accomplished each week? Hells no! But I will say planning everything out this way has helped me develop a better grasp on how much time it takes me to do particular things.
As a result, I’m able to plan more effectively. It’s also taught me the value of saying “no” more to the things unless I really want to make them a part of my prioritized schedule.
I have used the Day Designer for the past few years and love it! Aside from digging its layout and durability, the words of encouragement are motivational without being cheesy. I previously only purchased the smaller version but went big this year. Both are great. To see what the Day Designer’s all about, you can click the pic below.
While I’ve never actually used Erin Condren’s “Life Planner”, I have a lot of friends that like this option too because it’s customizable. You can check these out here.
That’s Tip 1 for ya! Make a plan, peeps.
Moving my body and connecting with my breath is a sure-fire way to bring me back into the present moment and out of the anxiety laced narrative in my head. It’s Sunday. Not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday. So why let my mind hang out somewhere else?
“Waittt… didn’t we talk about planning our week out? Isn’t that essentially thinking about all the other days besides Saturday and Sunday?”
Nope, it’s not the same. The difference is what type of energy you’re allowing to move out of the moment at hand. Planning out your week is taking ownership of what you can control. It allows you to recognize you do have an influence on how things play out. On the contrary, letting your mind fester in the hypothetical “what-if’s” is basically relinquishing ownership to a moment in time that simply doesn’t exist yet. That’s what creates the Sunday Scaries!
Yoga and meditation help me avoid the later.
Fact — I’ve battled anxiety for much of my life. Because I hate that people avoid getting help with this because of any negative stigma, I try to be as candid as I can about it. Through the assistance of some awesome therapists and a commitment to practicing coping mechanisms, my anxiety no longer rules me. Yoga and meditating are two of those coping mechanisms. Together, they have created such a profound impact in my fight against anxiety that I’m at a loss of how to articulate their significance.
Not exclusive to Sunday nights, but most importantly on Sunday nights, I use both of these. Even just 10 minutes of meditation or 30 minutes of yoga in my basement allows me feel less overwhelmed.
If you’ve never meditated before, I highly recommend using guided audio. When I first began meditating, it helped to know that meditating isn’t about clearing your mind of thoughts. I’ve got A.D.D. and that seemed like an impossible task. Meditation is really about learning to let your thoughts pass through, almost like clouds. Then simply observing “the cloud”, and letting it go. Guided meditations made this more possible at first.
There are tons available on the internet. My favorite has always been Gabby Bernstein’s that corresponded with her ‘Spirit Junkie’ book. You certainly don’t have to have read the book to benefit from the meditations (although it really is a great book!). Here’s the link to these meditations. I purchased the album because I use it so frequently, but could also do a 30 day free trial on Amazon music if you want to try them out first before buying.
Yoga has a similar effect on me as meditation, and I consider it to be moving meditation. I think a good combination of both is a solid recipe. I’ve written many times about the influence of yoga in my life so I will spare you the details, but you can always read about them here if you’re new to the blog.
I mostly do yoga in my own home, for the sake of time. Lots of good sites out there! I typically use either 108Yoga.com or YogaVibes. Both offer a great variety of classes and let you filter by time, type of yoga, teacher, ability level, etc. Yoga Vibes has a 15 day free trial if you’re interested.
I’m a big believer that setting myself up for a successful day happens before I even walk out the door in the morning. Part of this is a good breakfast. I used to be in the camp that everyone NEEDS to eat breakfast for metabolic reasons, but I’ve changed my mind a bit over the last year or so. Regardless, I DO like to eat something whether it’s before I head off to teach my 6 a.m. barre class, or soon after I finish. And yes, I am alllll about the Bulletproof coffee. If you don’t know what Bulletproof coffee is, start here.
What does this have to do with Sunday Scaries? The answer is… I make most of my week’s breakfasts on Sunday night! Monday morning, or any morning really, can be chaotic so I try to reduce the amount of “stuff” that needs to get accomplished in that short time frame.
Side note– if you’ve seen me teach around this time, it’s obvious things like hair brushing and make-up often don’t the priority list ; ) Coffee and breakfast first, everything else is minor details.
Anyways, a muffin tin of egg muffins is super easy to make on Sunday night. You can refrigerate a few and freeze a few for later that week. Here’s a recipe I use to make them.
Another recipe I like to store and eat throughout the week is Chia Pudding. See picture at the top for reference : ) I make a large batch, about the size of an extra large mason jar. If I don’t eat it all, this stays fresh for about 3-4 days. Typically I just keep the pudding “base” in the fridge, and add the yummy toppings in the morning so they don’t get soggy.
My newest fave recipe is this Golden Milk (turmeric blend):
(Ingredients are available to purchase on by clicking links. Otherwise check your local grocery stores.)
Mix in a blender 1 can of full fat coconut milk, so that the thick heavy cream on top and the opaque liquid thoroughly blend.
Pour into extra large mason jar.
Then add the following:
6 tablespoons of chia seeds
3 tablespoons of Gaia’s Golden Milk powder (add more to taste if you prefer)
1.5 tablespoons of monkfruit sugar
Stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Place mason jar into refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or best if overnight!
Optional toppings when you’re ready to eat:
a handful of shaved almonds
a spoonful of almond butter
Enjoy tip numero dos! Next up…
Yep, even if you already took one earlier in the day, there’s something about enjoying a warm bath or shower before bed that helps ease the nerves. I’m not really into all the fun bath gear because we only have a shower and this is STILL therapeutic for me!
Maybe it’s because I’m not racing through the shower at this point in the day. The purpose isn’t even for the physical act of cleansing myself. I’m in there really just to relax! Not stinking up the bed is really just icing on the cake and I swear this helps me fall asleep more easily.
I have never really been consistent with dry brushing but I do know others that say this is also a soothing practice to add into your nighttime bath/shower ritual. Of course, you can always add extra ambiance with candles, bath bombs, etc.
So after you’re all clean and warm…
This may be an obvious suggestion, but reading a chapter or two of a good book typically relaxes me. Especially on Sunday evenings when my brain keeps attempting to get my ducks in a row for the upcoming days. Yeah, I’ve usually already organized myself as best as possible by this point. But rather than continuing to rehearse how it’s all going to play out, I let myself enjoy someone else’s thoughts : )
I’m a sucker for nonfiction, particularly anything science or physiology related. But in the evening, as I’m going to bed, trying to learn something new only perpetuates my active brain. For this reason, I try to reach for something a bit lighter. If you’re on the Goodreads app, come find me at Tina Reed Milnes to see what I’m reading, have read, or am looking to read next!
In case you might be interested, I just finished ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ by Christine Ng. It was awesome and a perfect choice to beat the Sunday Scaries!
One word of caution though about this book reading suggestion. Make sure you are reading in decent lighting and not in front of a lot of electronic blue screen light (like an iPad, etc). Blue light has been shown to disrupt our precious sleep and that’s the last thing you want before the new week!
Another option is to listen to an audio version of a book instead of actually reading. If you’re not sure if you like audible books, I suggest trying this option below because it gives you two free.
If you’re new to creating a beat-the-Sunday Scaries routine, just pick one or two! Hell, even if you’re not new to all this, pick whatever you think might help alleviate the anxiety. That’s the point, right? If the idea of adding any of this into your schedule actually stresses you out more, forget I even mentioned it ; )
Do you have any weekend stress busters? Share with me! Leave me a comment or subscribe in the box above on the right, and send me an email!
We’re all in this crazy world together, y’all.
To less Sunday Scaries and more LIfe in Color…
This website contains affiliate links, which means Tina may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. You will pay the same price for all products and services, and your purchase helps support this online space. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician first before trying any new physical activity, supplement, or dietary changes.