6 Remedies for the “Sunday Scaries”

A woman sitting on the floor enjoying a quiet moment surrounded by plants.

Do you ever find yourself kicking up your feet on a relaxing Sunday afternoon only to feel a sudden sense of dread? If so, you may be experiencing the “Sunday scaries.”

The Sunday scaries are a type of anxiety that occurs when we worry about the week ahead. It’s usually triggered while transitioning from a leisurely weekend to a structured workweek full of stressors.

But don’t let the cutesy name fool you. While experiencing this type of anxiety is totally normal, it can cause low energy, headaches, difficulty sleeping, irritability, or even an upset stomach, says AbleTo Program Therapist Maritza Contreras-Rivera, LMFT. “Not only can this make your Sunday less pleasant, it can also continue into Monday and the rest of the week.”

So the next time you get tight in the chest thinking about the week ahead, try these remedies to set yourself up for a wonderful week.

Reassure yourself. We often underestimate our ability to cope with what’s ahead. But you’ve handled busy, demanding weeks before. And you can do it again. Reassure yourself like you would a dear friend. You can even try repeating a calming mantra like, “I am capable and everything is okay.” Or, “ I deserve to be at peace. It will all get done.”

Set up a self-care plan. Weekdays can be so crammed with obligations that we can forget to take care of ourselves. What do you need to feel your best? Is it some form of movement? Time to cook nourishing meals? Or just a moment to do nothing and relax?

Write down how and when you’re going to take care of yourself. If your calendar is packed, ask for support. Can you tell your boss that you can’t stay late at the office (again)? Can your partner handle the grocery shopping? Take things off of your plate now so you’re not tapped out by the time Sunday rolls around.

Avoid your inbox. Nothing can make anxiety skyrocket faster than scrolling through work emails on Sunday night. It can make the week ahead seem daunting. Try to maintain good-for-you work/life boundaries. You can tackle any work with a clear mind on Monday.

Have a vent session. Sometimes we just need to get it all out. If you know you tend to feel anxious on Sunday evenings, try scheduling a call or a walk with a loved one. It can be helpful to get an outside perspective. Hearing about another person’s experience can also make you feel less alone.

If that doesn’t work, write down what’s weighing on you. And know that if your anxiety feels like too much to navigate on your own, AbleTo mental health professionals are available to help.

Establish a Sunday evening routine. Do something that chills you out around the time your anxiety begins to creep in. Maybe it’s doing a quick meditation, taking a warm bath, getting out in nature, or reading a feel-good book. Relaxing your body and mind will help you to get better sleep. And good sleep will help you approach the week feeling energized and confident.

Treat yourself on Monday. Reframe Monday as a day that you look forward to. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But surely you can make it a little bit better. Think of one little thing that will add levity to your day. A special latte? Taking a walk on your lunch break? Then carve out some time for it.

Take heart knowing you have a plan

You’re not the only one experiencing the Sunday scaries. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to ease your way into a new week. So, keep this list handy. We’ll be here to support you anytime the scaries hit.

By Katie Nave

Katie Nave is a writer and mental health advocate living in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been featured in publications including Newsweek, Glamour, Business Insider, and Motherly. She has served as a producer for the National Women’s March and worked with organizations like Girls Inc. and CancerCare.

Clinically reviewed by Maritza Contreras-Rivera, LMFT, AbleTo Program Therapist.

Photo by Maruco/Adobe Stock. Individuals in photographs do not represent AbleTo participants.