7 Tips to help you overcome the ‘Sunday Fear’

At the end of a relaxing weekend spent with family and friends, thoughts can suddenly turn to the week ahead and by 4pm the ‘Sunday Fear’ has really kicked in!

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, as each new week brings a unique set of challenges – but it can become a problem if these feelings become more than just niggling thoughts.

An increasing number of people are experiencing severe anxiety on a Sunday, which can be difficult to control. Weekends are ruined because Sunday is spent wrapped in negative feelings which can put a dampener on the week ahead. This type of intense emotion on a regular basis can have a significant impact, resulting in a range of symptoms such as a lack of sleep or depression.

We spoke to Dr Ria, Consultant Psychologist at Pall Mall Medical about ‘The Sunday Fear’ and how to deal with it.

“Whilst Sunday is a day of rest for most, it can be the bluest day of the week for others. More often than not, it’s the dread of returning back to “real life” and work commitments on a Monday which causes feelings of anxiety or the ‘Sunday Fear’.

Whether you failed to tick off your work to-do-list the Friday before, prepare your lunches for the week ahead or sweat it out at your favourite gym class over the weekend, there are plenty of triggers which can cause a person to ‘fear’ the week ahead – and this anxiety can often keep us awake when this is in fact the night when we most need a good kip.

The implications of Sunday anxiety can prompt a person’s mind to go into overdrive and as a result can cause poor sleep hygiene, which can be detrimental to a person’s cognitive and general function. As such, a person’s low mood, emotional and behaviour difficulties, tendencies to feel depressed and diminished libido can heighten feelings of Sunday anxiety.

In extreme cases, a lack of sleep caused by feelings of anxiety, may expose a person to higher risks to call in to work sick due to an inability to cope at the thought of the day or week ahead or to adopt other malfunctioning strategies, such as alcohol and recreational drugs regular misuse. It’s important that people experiencing these feelings have good coping mechanisms to prevent, monitor and ease those risky but common tendencies. This is something that can discussed during an appointment with a Psychologist who will prepare a plan tailored around personal needs and priorities. There are also some lifestyle tips that can be adopted on a Sunday to help people feel less overwhelmed by the thought of the week ahead.”

1.Have a slow morning

On weekdays, most of us struggle to get out of bed and end up having to rush out the door to get to work on time. Sunday is the perfect day of the week to have a slow morning. Don’t rush to get out of bed. Take your time and make the most of having nowhere to be.

2.Write a to-do list for the week

Think about what you have to do next week. Don’t worry about prioritizing, just write. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do, this will give you a clear vision and prepare you for what’s to come. After you do that, you can start prioritizing and taking notes in your planner.

3.Schedule things in your planner

After you write your to-do list, grab your planner and write down your schedule, appointments, meetings and other things. This will make you feel more prepared to handle what’s to come. Aside from scheduling things you “have” to do, don’t forget to make room for fun things or even self-care activities, as well.

4.Give meal prep a go

Do you ever get home from a long day at work and struggle to decide what you’re making for dinner? Meal prepping will save you a lot of time and stress. Whether that is simply thinking about the meals you’re having in the upcoming week or taking a step further and actually preparing things in advance.

5.Plan your outfits

This is not only a habit to keep on Sundays but every day of the week. Planning what you’re going to wear in the upcoming week or just in the next day will save you a lot of time and worries in the morning. Plus, can you say no to those extra minutes in bed?

6.Make time for self-care

Sunday is the perfect day to schedule in some time for yourself and reset for the week. This can range from applying a face mask and doing your nails, having a hot bath or simply snuggling up on the couch to watch tv. Taking time for self-care will help you feel energized for the week ahead.

7.Go to bed early

Turn off your electronics and unwind. It’s important to have a good night of sleep so you can have enough energy to tackle the week ahead. Reading before bed is relaxing and can take your mind off the dreaded Monday.


Find out more about our consultant psychologists here.