How to combat Sunday anxiety
Sunday anxiety, a.k.a Sunday scaries, is a form of anticipatory anxiety (a worry or concern regarding something that is due to happen) that people feel about their upcoming week, which reaches its peak on a Sunday. The anxiety, which is very real, is most commonly associated with work, and for some people, it can become so chronic that they spend the whole day carrying the anxiety around, which has a negative impact on their stress levels, physical recuperation, social lives and mental health.
People who experience the Sunday scaries often say they count down to Saturday from the moment they walk into work – the desire to be away from the work environment is the driver for this anxiety. Sunday is significant because the day signals the countdown to Monday, so people can often find that their “scaries” build up during the day, as the following day looms closer.
It is important to note that the Sunday scaries may be a symptom of deeper issues at work, such as experiencing bullying or difficult working relationships, extreme pressure or stress, difficultly processing workload or the feeling of being stuck in a rut. It is important that where you have clarity on these issues, you look into addressing the root cause – this feeling of empowerment and control can really change your perspective and lighten the metaphorical load.
The Sunday scaries manifest inside the body and mind in the same way that experiencing an alarm going off feels. The feelings associated with this range from fear and anxiety, to sadness and despair. As soon as you contemplate the fact that you will be going back to work on Monday, your body and mind goes into a heightened state of “fight or flight” – you are in panic mode. This can then manifest itself physically in the form of shallow breathing, tummy aches, back and neck tensions, and you will likely experience difficulty sleeping at night.
HOW CAN YOU COMBAT SUNDAY ANXIETY?
Encourage clarity and set your intention
Upon waking on Sunday, one of the most helpful things you can do to quell your anxiety is to practice setting a more positive and productive intention for the day. This helps you to bring clarity and focus so you are less likely to dwell or be preoccupied at length with the anxiety. A really powerful and proven technique to address this is a Sophrology visualisation exercise called “The Bubble”:
- Sitting forward in a chair, breathe easily, close your eyes and start to visualise yourself sitting with a bubble
- Think about how it looks – is it large or small, close to you or very big around you, transparent or a coloured hue?
- Tune into how calm you’re starting to feel, and picture all your anxiety and stressors on the other side of the bubble – they can’t touch you and you are protected. Think about how reassured and secure that makes you feel. Sit with this feeling for as long as you need, and when you feel like you can take that feeling away with you for the day, open your eyes and continue with your day
Don’t let the anxiety control you. You can control it
Techniques that engage both the mind and body can be much more effective in quelling anxiety as you have two powerful systems working in unison for one common goal – where the mind goes, the body should follow. Try an empowering technique called “The Bag” to rid yourself of negative emotions when they take hold during the day – it will help to clear the associated weight and tension effectively and reinstate your sense of control.
- With your eyes closed, stand about a metre-and-a-half in front of a wall and imagine there is a target on that wall, and on that target is a bag
- Think about the negative feelings, one by one, that have surfaced and picture taking a hold of them and placing each one into the bag
- You can put any feeling, situation or conversation into this bag
- Hold out your hand as you picture holding the bag, using your other hand to ‘physically’ place the feeling into it – name each one that goes in. When done, ‘close’ the bag
- Now, assume a position of strength and picture symbolically crushing the bag until the pieces fall to the ground. You might picture crushing the remaining pieces with your feet until everything has disintegrated, like all those negative associations you previously carried around
Dominique Antiglio, Sophrologist at BeSophro clinics and author of The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology, be-sophro.com