The following situation probably feels all too familiar: It's Sunday morning following a relaxing day off. Then, something reminds you of work in the morning, and you can feel your weekend ticking away. You remember everything you need to do this week, and anxiety hits you like a ton of bricks. This feeling, caused by fear of getting back up to speed after a weekend off, AKA the “Sunday Scaries" brings along anxiety, exhaustion, and nervousness with the looming work week hanging over your head.
The key to conquering the “Sunday Scaries" is to use Sundays to adopt a mindset of preparation and emotional awareness for the coming week. By intentionally changing your mindset to one of positivity and mindfulness will do wonders for your emotional health. Here are five mindfulness practices that anyone can exercise to eliminate the Sunday Scaries.
1. Ditch The Emotional Baggage
The first step is the most important one: stop carrying around so much emotional weight. Emotional baggage is the idea that your mindset is weighed down by inconsistencies between where you are and where you want to be. It's a disconnect between how you think of yourself, your situation, and your ideal state.
Relationship trouble with those close to you is a very common negative mindset. You need to get rid of any guilt, emotional baggage, or resentfulness towards those that you aren't on good terms with before the week begins. Resentment and guilt will weigh you down at work, and affect those around you in ways you don't even realize.
Letting go of this weight is an amazing feeling. To take the first step, consider taking up journaling. One of the best things you can do for your emotional self is to journal. Jotting down how your day went, and especially how you feel about how your day went, this has been scientifically proven to improve overall mental health. Take steps to journal and release feelings of negativity, then lay out tactful steps to resolve stressful relationships.
Sunday anxiety is often caused by the feeling that you're not prepared for the week but resist the urge to complete work items on Sundays. Instead of focusing on work itself, take care of the things that clutter your mind during the week. Take Sundays to deep clean your living space.
Dust the lamps you haven't touched in months, and scrub the floors until they shine. Ending the weekend by physically cleaning your surroundings will set the precedent to get right back into a productive routine, not to mention waking up Monday morning to a sparkly clean home!
This will reflect positively on your motivation and attitude as you start off the week, and is something I never fail to do each Sunday.
Another routine to consider for your Sundays is to prep meals for the week. Planning out your meals can do wonders for your mindset. It frees up time during the week when you're rushing around with work and errands. Budgeting is a huge stress for a lot of people.
Meal prepping saves you money because you don't have to eat out for lunch at the office. And, depending on what you cook, it can make sticking to diets and eating healthier a breeze. When the anxiety in your mind simply won't let you relax, channel it into something productive like cleaning or cooking.
3. Get Outside
It's as simple as walking out your front door. Go for a walk, hike or run in a scenic environment. This isn't just about exercise (although it can calm your mindset) so get off the treadmill, and get outside! Doing so will allow you to reconnect with nature and increase your visual perception.
Take in as much as you can: the trees, the grass, the birds chirping, whatever happens to be around you. This is a form of meditation that reconnects you to the world around you. Practice mindful walking by slowing down and paying attention to the sensation of walking. Mindful walking means focusing on the journey, and not the destination.
Taking a break and going for a walk outside is great for whenever you face anxiety. It's a reset for your brain, which is probably spinning in circles around the same few problems. A change of scenery, especially one abundant with nature and life, changes your perspective.
It can be exactly what you need to reset your mindset to one of calm and focus. One of my favorite mindfulness practices is letting nature act as a reminder that there is so much out there that's bigger than yourself and the seemingly catastrophic challenges you face.
4. Disarm Your Inbox
When it's work relationships causing your Sunday stress, spend an hour or less on Sunday afternoons to respond to as many emails as possible. This means that you aren't overwhelmed on Monday morning. Doing this will allow you to go to bed Sunday night knowing you are already ahead for the new week.
Depending on your job, consider turning off email notifications once you've replied to those high priority emails. Even if you don't need to respond, knowing that there's an email waiting can create an uneasy mindset.
You might even go so far as to do a digital cleanse on part or all of your Sunday. This is where you turn off your phone and other gadgets and bask in the joy of not being bugged by notifications. It can do wonders for your emotional and mental self, even if it's just for a few hours.
Mindfulness in our digital world is hard to achieve. Figure out how you can coexist with your digital life in a way that serves you. We all have that one app that we scroll through mindlessly in our downtime. If you have a digital habit that isn't serving you, get rid of it.
5. Don't Forget to Smile!
Remember, work gets your mind and attention for (at least) 40 hours every week. That's already a quarter of your week, not counting commuting or overtime. Weekends are there for you to recharge so you can do your best work during the week.
On Sunday evenings, do something that makes you smile. Watch something funny or light, whether it's an episode of your favorite TV series or a comedy. If you're doing a digital cleanse, pick up a book you read for leisure, not one that's work related. Doing this will take your mind off work, not to mention laughter has a positive effect on the mind!
Mindfulness is a habit, not something you can check off a list. Start small by creating a routine on Sundays using the five mindfulness practices above.
The more you work this muscle, the better off you'll be emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Change your mindset in this way and you'll soon see your life change for the better.
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