Beating the Sunday Scaries with EF Strategies

You know the feeling: it’s Sunday afternoon, you’re thinking about what you’ll face at work or school on Monday morning, and feelings of anxiety and dread start to creep in. If you experience the “Sunday scaries” each week, you are not alone. The “Sunday scaries” are a type of anticipatory anxiety that affect people of all ages. The good news? Executive function strategies like planning, shifting your mindset, and self-compassion can help.

Plan It Out

After a weekend full of activities, time with friends and family, rest, and maybe even some work, it can feel like there is never enough time to get everything done. This feeling can create tension in your body, which contributes to the negative feelings of the “Sunday scaries.”

Instead of trying to accomplish everything by Sunday night, take a moment to identify a few tasks or activities that are priorities. Using a blank weekend calendar, schedule your obligations (have to’s), aspirations (want to’s), and negotiations. When you lay out your weekend plan visually, you can better understand how long certain activities might take. If you are interested in learning more about the SMARTS approach to planning production time, sign up for our free lesson.

Shift Your Mindset

While it’s easier said than done, shifting your mindset can help you remember that you’ve conquered hundreds of Mondays before. This takes away the power of Monday’s grip—it’s just like any other day. The process of shifting your mindset might begin with creating space for mindful moments of self-understanding; it is important to take time to understand your patterns and what specifically is causing you stress. Shifting your mindset can help you keep the “Sunday scaries” at bay.

Be Patient with Yourself

As you work to identify the personal root cause behind this weekly phenomenon, remember to be patient with yourself; self-compassion is an important part of defeating the “Sunday scaries.”  

  • Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate

Build Your Executive Function Toolkit in 2022

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