Sunday Anxiety: what is it and how do I manage it?
I remember clearly that intense and uncomfortable feeling in my chest and my stomach. I must have been 10 years old or something like that. I spent that Sunday with my mother and my cousin at the movies and then the arcade. I loved spending my Sundays like that. That night, I was coming back home with my mom, like every Sunday we were going to order pizza for dinner. And then, suddenly, those uncomfortable feelings were there and I had no idea what to do with them. Flash forward 12 years and there I am. Sitting with my discomfort watching tv with my partner. As we were watching tv I shared with him how I was feeling and he told me that he feels the same. In fact, it is reported that 76% of the population in the UK suffers from 'Sunday Blues'.
Many experts have shared tips on how to deal with them, however most of their tips did not resonate with me, therefore I experimented almost everything to find what suits me the most. I still get the 'Sunday Blues' from times to times but I am doing my best to manage it and not let it consume the day. Before I would literally sit all grumpy or try to distract myself as much as I could by meeting up friends at the bar or making unhealthy choices. Anything in oder to not feel. The feelings and thoughts would be so overwhelming that I would do anything to avoid them. Now instead of avoiding them I accept them, with the help of a few coping mechanisms.
On Friday afternoon I like to organise my week, set achievable goals and schedule your appointments/meetings. I like to organise my your 'fun time'. such as meeting friends, coworkers, family etc. The reason why I do this is because it helps me balancing my work life and social life. When I plan everything, my anxiety lowers because I know my goals, I have a plan and now I have to follow it. Obviously plans might get cancelled or postponed, when this happens, I try not to be hard on myself and allow changes in my life.
Avoid alcohol. I personally do not drink alcohol for a lot of reasons that I will cover in another post. Having said this, I used to drink and party A LOT. I would laugh at the idea of someone telling me not to drink with my friends. On Sundays, I would drink with friends or my partner. Yes, I would feel good and I would not think about my anxiety or worries. Everything would be fine until the effects wore off and I would feel more miserable and anxious. As you might know, alcohol is a depressant and it alters your mood.
Plan an activity that I enjoy. I find this one the best one yet complicated. I know what I enjoy doing, however the anxiety at times overcomes the activity and I find myself feeling worse than before because I can't enjoy what I am doing. In order to enjoy at the fullest the experience, I accept that I might get anxiety and it might distract me from what I am doing but I had anxiety before and I have felt like this before and I know that it will pass. What I usually do in the evening is: meet a friend, go bowling, paint, spend the evening with my partner or cook a nice meal that requires attention and dedication. Only you know what works for you, I tried many activities over the years and being productive is what works the most. I know it is hard to be productive sometimes, therefore if you can't be productive, be gentle with yourself and do whatever you want to do, nap if that is what you want. A few years ago napping was working for me.
Meditation. Honestly, I did not like meditation. It was frustrating and I would constantly fly away with my thoughts. After practicing it for a while, I managed to meditate (more or less). On Sundays I like to meditate in the morning and at night using apps or youtube guided meditation.
Share and reach out. I usually tell people how I feel and share with them what worries me. What I realised is that many people have the same fears and same thoughts, knowing that I am not alone helps me and gives me the chance to rationalise my fears and understand my friends. When I share something, even if the other person does not feel the same or agrees, gives me a sense of relief because I finally got out my chest what was worrying me and now I can work towards the solution.
Look back at my journal and goals achieved. Most of the days I use my journal to write my goals, my gratitude list etc. On Sunday I like to look back at what I did last week and what goals I achieved. This gives me a sense of purpose and lowers my anxiety.
These are the things that I usually do. They don't always work and that is ok.