Are your Sundays ruined by thoughts of returning to work on Monday morning? If so, you are not alone.
“A lot of people talk to me about ‘Sunday night blues’ even if they have work they love,” says Eileen Chadnick, principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto and author of Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy. “There’s this heaviness about getting back to work.”
The weekend is too short to let your time off be consumed by needless worry. Here are three ways to control that negativity and make all your weekend hours more enjoyable:
1. Write it down
Worrying about the beginning of the work week often comes from thoughts of the many tasks you have to accomplish. Controlling that worry could be as simple as writing down your tasks or goals for Monday — or even the full week.
“If you can get [what you’re worrying about] out and put it into a physical place, like a piece of paper or your smartphone,” Chadnick says, “you will get it out of your head, where it is creating the feeling of chaos.”
That feeling of being organized, she says, literally puts your mind at ease. Taking your to-do list out of your brain and organizing it in writing results in a boost of a hormone called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which calms the brain.
2. Create positive moments
If you spend Saturday and Sunday worrying about Monday, you won’t benefit fully from your weekend. Take the time to catch up with friends and family and organize outings that will keep your mind occupied in a good way. Take in a movie or participate in sports, for example.
It is also important to arrange for some positive experiences during the week, Chadnick says. You will have something to look forward to in the middle of a busy week.
Why not call a friend to go out for a quick dinner after work one night? Or promise yourself to turn off the computer a little earlier one day and unwind at the gym.
While occasional negative emotions are to be expected and are perfectly normal, it is important to balance those with positive ones.
Occasional positive moments, Chadnick says, will give you a greater ability to navigate inevitable periods of stress.
3. Get quality sleep
The average person needs seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night, Chadnick says.
Adequate sleep gives your body the time to regulate your emotions and regenerate your brain. Without that deep sleep, you are less able to think clearly.
In the evening, avoid stimulants — such as caffeine, alcohol and working on your computer.
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Try reading, listening to music or writing down your thoughts. Avoid activities related to work, such as checking email.