As Sabbath closes on Sunday night, a sense of dread can set in. It’s even got a name: Sunday night syndrome. (Actually it has more than one name. The British call it Sunday night scaries. It’s also called the Sunday night blues.) A sense of anticipatory anxiety about the week ahead comes in and steals away the last remaining hours of the weekend.
It’s a common problem. LinkedIn’s survey in 2018 found 80 percent of respondents experienced it. 80 percent! The younger you are, the higher the figure: 90 percent among millennials and 93 percent among Gen Z. The No. 1 cause was worry, specifically about workload size, work-life balance and the things left undone last week.
Here’s how Christian mindfulness can help
Create a Sunday night practice. Do something different on Sunday night. It can be watching your favorite television show, watching a funny movie, reading a book, listening to a playlist, calling your best friend or otherwise doing something that makes the night fun. Keep your promises to yourself and do this every week. It reframes the evening so that it’s guaranteed to have pleasant moments.
Talk to God about your workload and your work-life balance. This is part of your Sunday night practice. As in all Christian mindfulness exercises, stay in the present moment in the presence of God. Share your worries and concerns about the week ahead. Ask for God’s guidance as you decide what to do.
Write every task down. It helps to keep it out of your head at night. Mark what can be delegated and what can be delayed (or not done at all). If your schedule allows, you can also do this last thing Friday afternoon so you don’t have to think about it at all Sunday.
Do a loving-kindness meditation. You’ll find out how here.
Put self-care on next week’s schedule. Block out times on your schedule for self-care during the week. If a micromanaging boss is reviewing your schedule too much, block out times with words that are acceptable in your workplace environment. Also, pray about looking for a different job. You don’t have to work for a difficult person these days.
Add a nature walk to your Sunday routine. Walking in nature, also called forest bathing, reduces stress. Just stay in the present and speak to God about what you see during the walk.
Keep your interior (and verbal) language positive. Whining and moaning make things worse. Try replacing “I have to” with “I get to.” Offer genuine prayers of gratitude for your work, your workplace and your co-workers.
Keep off your phone and emails. When the fun part of Sunday night begins, put your phone in another room. Stop looking at work emails. If it looks like you are fine with working on Sunday night, you’ll be working every Sunday night. There’s a worker shortage. Take advantage of it to take care of yourself.
Avoid drinking alcohol. You know, don’t you, that this makes it worse. Find something else to drink that makes it better.
Figure out how tired you are. If you still feel exhausted at the end of the weekend, go to bed early. Or plan to have an early night in bed on Monday evening.
Sunday night syndrome involves the opposite for Christian mindfulness. You are thinking about the future and you are not counting on the presence of God to help. Use these practices to move into the present moment with God and release those worries.