From the moment I wake up on Sunday, I start to dread the upcoming twenty-four hours. It’s not that I hate my job, but I dread Monday. No matter what, without fail, there is something about Sunday that stirs up an uneasy feeling that fills me with dread for most of the day. On Saturdays there is grocery shopping, birthday parties, and soccer games. But Sunday? It’s like you have to find a way to cram everything into 24 hours that you didn’t get done during the past six days. And then, of course, there’s knowing it all starts over again the next day.
Even though crossing a physical threshold into the office is a thing of the past for some employees, just knowing you have to sign in can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one. LinkedIn research found “80% of professionals experience the Sunday Scaries, which include 90% of Millennials and Gen Z-ers.” Which makes sense, of course, these two groups make up the majority of today’s workforce.
So, do the Sunday Scaries really live up to their name? Although it might sound like an innocent, silly kind of feeling to experience, it’s not. The feelings can range anywhere from annoying to complete and total dread. So what contributes to this feeling, and how can we find ways to better ease into our work week with a little less angst?
Sunday Scaries Can Range From Annoying to Terrifying
Like any other anxiety, workweek dread lives on a sliding scale. Depending on how the previous Friday ended or how insane your weekend was, those factors might have an impact on how getting up and running the next day will be. And that can be overwhelming, even when all hell isn’t breaking loose. And let’s be honest, six-and-a-half out of the seven days in the week, it is. So besides staying in bed and playing hooky from work, how can we more constructively work through the Sunday scaries? (By the way, no judgment. I totally have done that before. It’s just not a very sustainable practice.)
Now, I’m not saying self-care is the answer to every single problem, but it should absolutely be a regular practice to keep these anxieties at bay. Engaging in self-care that actually works (not the kind that is the result of capitalism) means you also have to practice self-awareness. Why are you feeling dread deep in your soul Sunday night? Is this a regular feeling every week, or did something extra exacerbate things? Or does it go deeper than that?
Suffering from the Sunday scaries might just be an underlying symptom of a much larger problem. Are you still enjoying your work? I mean, no, every day isn’t going to be peachy keen, but if this dread is happening at the beginning of every week in an intense enough way that it’s interfering with your regularly scheduled program, it might just be your job. Or maybe it’s your boss and the environment they’ve cultivated. Ask yourself these questions and see if maybe it’s time to make a change.
At the end of the day, there are only so many things you can control as an employee. If we’re being honest, the most substantial change needs to come from the employers. After all, they’re the ones making the rules. But what can they do? They say they’ve done all they can. They offer work-from-home options or a complimentary coffee bar in-house. Although I’m a self-proclaimed Caffeine Queen, there is no amount of free java that can compete with a shorter workweek.
How Can We Ease Better Into The Work Week?
It feels like every country in the world has experimented with a shorter workweek. Well, of course, except for here in the US. And to everyone’s shock and surprise (yes, I just rolled my eyes), productivity increased, and employee satisfaction rose. Do you know what happens when your employees are happy? In addition to the aforementioned productivity, you might just retain them longer.
Of course, if your employees’ uneasiness is more than just the Sunday scaries running rampant, updating work hours will not be enough. But, if you’re trying to help your employees ease into the workweek and dread Monday a little bit less, more flexible working hours might just be the thing. In Iceland, they tried it out by only cutting four to five hours per week, and it worked wonders. According to NPR.com, the study found that the promise of a shorter workweek led people to organize their time and delegate tasks more efficiently.
It happens to the best of us. We’re on task and focused but then find ourselves getting distracted. Sometimes it’s because of things going on outside of work. Other times, it’s just a moment for your brain to take a break. But imagine if your subconscious knew you would get an extra hour back each day or shave half a day off your Friday. That very well may be what helps you forge ahead to make sure you get everything done quickly and efficiently.