We all know how a micromanaging boss, a long commute or an overwhelming to-do list can naturally lead us to feel stressed out about work.
But there’s nothing quite like going about your Sunday and suddenly being hit with a wave of dread.
Despite its lighthearted name, the Sunday Scaries shouldn’t be brushed off lightly.
And ministers from the Department of Health have vowed to help people tackle the dread of returning to work on a Monday.
It came after research commissioned by The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) last year, found over two thirds of all Brits frequently experience anxiety on a Sunday.
Despite its lighthearted name, the Sunday Scaries shouldn’t be brushed off lightly. The so-called ‘Sunday scaries’ can also snowball into physical manifestations including headaches, muscle tension, fatigue and even insomnia
Be honest about what you can accomplish and set clear boundaries to ‘help prevent burnout’, Belinda Sidhu, a psychotherapist at TherapyFinders.co.uk told MailOnline
The so-called ‘Sunday scaries’ can also snowball into physical manifestations including headaches, muscle tension, fatigue and even insomnia.
So how can we really reduce the pre-Monday dread?
Be realistic about work load
The gloom and fear of returning to work after a relaxing weekend can be soothed by a low-stakes first day back, experts suggest.
Be honest about what you can accomplish and set clear boundaries to ‘help prevent burnout’, Belinda Sidhu, a psychotherapist at TherapyFinders.co.uk told MailOnline.
‘For example, if you find yourself reaching for your work phone to check your emails at weekends, try turning it off and putting it away out of sight on a Friday afternoon until Monday morning,’ she said.
Set yourself a realistic to-do list, with a concise list of tasks, research also suggests.
Setting work boundaries is ‘especially important’ when the cause of concern is colleague-related, Augusto Blanco, a psychologist for TherapyFinders.co.uk added.
‘Whether we face bullies at work or people demanding more than we can give – or that was specified in our contract – learning how to set a respectful and firm limit that we won’t budge on, will eventually tell the other person that we will no longer tolerate mistreatment of any kind,’ he said.
‘This not only limits the amount of conflicts one faces on their workplace, but also gives us confidence that we can stand up for ourselves and not endure things we don’t like.’
Schedule fun into your weekend
‘Setting aside an activity, a dessert, a movie or anything that you greatly enjoy for Sunday night or Monday after work, will help offset the physical aversiveness that comes from the Sunday scaries,’ Mr Blanco told MailOnline.
Planning ahead to schedule in something you enjoy will give you something to look forward too, Ms Sidhu added.
Make your Sunday fun by going out and meeting a friend.
If you’d rather stay at home, bake a cake or set aside time to read a good book.
Experts recommend turning the first day of your work week into something you look forward to instead of dread.
Ms Sidhu added: ‘If you are aware you have a pattern where a certain day may affect your mood, think about what you can introduce that brings you joy – whether that’s a coffee with a friend, or a walk in nature.’
Planning ahead to schedule in something you enjoy will give you something to look forward too, Ms Sidhu told MailOnline
Engaging in exercise and mindful activity too can help give us a reprieve from worries about the future. But exercise doesn’t have to mean an intensive HT workout
We all know exercising has both physical and mental benefits, with research showing it produces endorphins and enkephalins helping us feel good.
But exercise doesn’t have to mean an intensive HT workout.
Lauren Steingold, a psychologist at TherapyFinders.co.uk, told MailOnline: ‘Try doing something you enjoy rather than simply sweating it out at the gym if that’s not your thing.
‘Maybe go swimming or put on some music and dance around the house.’
Engaging in mindful activity too can help give us a reprieve from worries about the future.
‘You could try doing a mindfulness or relaxation exercise or do any activity, such as going for a walk, with a mindful frame of mind,’ she added.
‘Being out in nature is really good for our wellbeing. You could try visiting somewhere new or keep it simple and go for a walk around your neighbourhood.’
Instead of dreading the work week ahead alone, speaking to others may help you identify the root of the issue, experts suggested
Talk about it
Sometimes the Sunday Scaries are that scary you don’t even want to let other people know you’re feeling them.
But instead of dreading the work week ahead alone, speaking to others may help you identify the root of the issue.
Ms Steingold told MailOnline: ‘If the anxiety you feel about the upcoming week persists, try to gain some clarity about what exactly is making you feel anxious.
‘If the anxiety is starting to feel uncontrollable or excessive you may wish to speak to your GP or contact your local Talking Therapies provider for support.’
While the Sunday Scaries affects everyone differently, there also comes a point where it may be time to look for a job that doesn’t make you feel this way, Ms Sidhu added.
‘It’s understandable to feel a little stress or anxiety as you see the final moments of your weekend slip away, but the “Sunday Scaries” can be a sign of something deeper,’ she said.
‘Speaking to a professional, such as a qualified therapist, can help you to identify the causes of your stress or anxiety and help you to address and manage it in a helpful and supportive way.’
Daniel Glazer, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of UK Therapy Rooms also told MailOnline: ‘A bit like the warning light that appears in your car when you need to fill it up with petrol, there’s only so long you can ignore it.
‘Consider what is it about your work that needs your attention and how you might begin to sort or resolve it.’