This feature was written by Freelance Writer Stephanie Bolton… 

It’s 3pm on a Sunday and although you’ve still got hours until the weekend’s over, you can already feel the dread creeping in; the feeling that you haven’t done enough, rested enough, socialised enough and aren’t prepared for the week ahead. In short: the Sunday night blues have arrived.

“We are socially conditioned to dread Sunday evenings, whether we are aware of it or not. If we have to work, or study on a Monday morning we have a feeling of restriction and a feeling of being dictated to… that our life is not necessarily in our own hands,” says Jordan Martin, Communications Consultant and Wellbeing Coach. It’s something that can start from as early as our childhood when our parents rushed us to get ready for the school day, so by the time we hit our twenties, we’re used to feeling this way. That’s a massive part of our lives.

“The weekend is what we associate with our free time and we usually use our weekend in one of two ways – we are either exhausted from the week, so we just chill out and then, when Sunday evening hits, we feel disappointed that we’ve wasted our time, or we choose to cram as much activity (sport, parties and consumption) in as possible, and then we are exhausted before the week has begun, not to mention surrounded by washing, mess, homework or work deadlines and other stuff that appears worse on a Sunday evening,” adds Martin.

When I asked people how they beat the Sunday night blues, many of their answers were about spending time with family and making time to chill out. Simple, yes, but they might be on to something. Happiness Expert and author of The Big Book of Happiness, Chris Croft advises planning your weekend so that the dull tasks are done first and you can then concentrate on enjoying yourself: “Try not to procrastinate everything until Sunday evening. If you need to prep something for work, or do boring life admin such as washing up or tidying, try to do that earlier in the weekend. Let your Sunday evening be a time for relaxing and getting mentally ready for the week ahead”.

Getting mentally ready for the coming week is key to overcoming those negative Sunday evening feelings and Croft recommends self talk.

“It basically follows the rule that whatever you say in your head becomes true. If you’re telling yourself “I’m always so depressed on Sunday evenings”, “I hate Mondays” or “next week is going to be terrible” it will become so. Instead try saying “I love this relaxation time”, “I can’t wait to see everyone again tomorrow” and positive aspects like that. It might not work instantly, but if you are consistently positive with what you say, and the voice in your head, it will fundamentally change your feelings,” he says.

Danny Deene says he uses his Sundays to plan his next adventure, but why wait? Planning social events during the week will give you something to look forward to as the week approaches, says Croft, as will working on a passion project that excites you. (So if you were thinking about starting that vlog, entering that open mic night, or opening your own Etsy store, now’s the time!)

Finally, work towards enjoying – yes, enjoying – Sundays. “If you’ve managed to not procrastinate then you can actually turn Sundays into a really special treat time. Whatever makes you happy – try to schedule it in,” says Croft.

Enjoying your weekend is key to beating the Sunday night blues, but whether your Monday morning is the beginning of another week of job applications, studying, internships or week at the office, it’s not usually something to get excited about. So how can this change?

“Remember the job you are at may not be where you want to be eventually, but our individual lives are our own journey, and we all start on the path to somewhere great by sticking to a path and if that leads us down another path then that is brilliant, but how are we ever to know unless we commit to those initial steps,” says Jordan.

“Use your initiative at work, and demonstrate wherever possible your motivation, enthusiasm and skill set and before you know it you’ll be looking forward to Monday morning on a Sunday evening as much as you look forward to a Saturday night… well almost!”

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