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8 Simple Steps to Ending the Sunday Night Blues

8 Simple Steps to Ending the Sunday Night BluesWho’s looking forward to going back to work tomorrow? Nobody! I was lucky enough to have the last two weeks off. I like my job, but even so, I’m not looking forward to heading back to the office.

People don’t like Sundays. And they really, really don’t like Sunday nights. Sunday night means the weekend is over. It’s time to head back to work, school, appointments, schlepping the kids around, all the hum-drum or stressful parts of everyday life are about to resume.

Are you dreading opening an inbox with 50 million unread emails? Did you love having a slower pace over the holidays and feel down about the pressures and busyness coming tomorrow? Do you hate your job, boss, or co-workers, and generally dread going to work?

A certain amount of the Sunday Night Blues is normal and common

You may feel or experience:

  • dread
  • overwhelm
  • sadness
  • over-thinking
  • insomnia
  • worry
  • muscle tension
  • headache, stomachache, intestinal issues
  • fatigue
  • irritability

Sunday Night Blues and Monday Morning Dread are caused by:

  • the end of weekend fun and relaxation
  • anticipating Monday stress
  • detoxing from too much alcohol or sugar over the weekend
  • an unsatisfying work or school situation

Today, we are also coming off the holidays and a three-day weekend, so I’d expect an even higher level of Sunday night blues. It’s due in part to the realization that the holidays and weekend fun is over and anticipating the stress of returning to work or school.

Another thing to consider is that many of us are planning to start New Year’s resolutions tomorrow. Mondays are the obvious day to reboot our habits and begin personal changes. If starting a diet or exercise program on Monday works for you, carry on. However, you may find that anticipating the added stress of a new diet, quitting smoking, or restricting spending is too much for Monday morning. It’s perfectly okay to take Monday to ease into the week, and then begin your resolutions or goals on Tuesday. It isn’t helpful to over-stress yourself with too many changes on Monday.


How to combat the Sunday Night Blues:

Combat Monday morning dread with a treat

1. Plan a treat for Monday morning. Bring your favorite tea to the office or download a new audio book to listen to on your commute.


Don't leave all the chores for Sunday

2. Don’t leave all your chores for Sunday. Make Sunday fun, too!


3. Spend 30-60 minutes preparing for the week. If you invest a small amount of time in reviewing your schedule, organizing, prepping your lunches, etc. it will pay off by decreasing some of the anxiety around getting it all done.


4. Get some exercise and sunlight. Both are scientifically shown to improve mood. Chances are they will help you sleep better, too.


limit alcohol

5. Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both can interfere with sleep. Alcohol is a depressant and caffeine can increase anxiety.


Schedule lunch with a friend

6. Schedule some pleasurable activities for the week. Making a lunch date with a friend or plans to play tennis after work will give you something to look forward to.


Practicing gratitude to manage Sunday night blues

7. Actively practice gratitude. It’s easy to fixate on problems and lose sight of the positives in your life. Actively writing or talking about the good things in your life can help put things back into perspective.


Create a relaxing routine to combat Sunday night blues

8. Create a relaxing Sunday night routine. We’re great at creating soothing routines to put babies and children to sleep, but forget to do the same for ourselves. Find what works for you – maybe a hot shower, reading, meditating, or journaling.

If these eight steps don’t help, there may be more than a simple case of the Sunday Blues vexing you. You may need to consider changing jobs, working with a therapist to get to the root of the problem, or changing your priorities or routines.


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8 Simple Steps to Ending the Sunday Night Blues

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is a licensed psychotherapist and codependency expert practicing in San Jose, CA. She is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and several ebooks including Navigating the Codependency Maze.  

To learn more, visit Sharon's website. And please sign-up for free access to her resource library HERE (worksheets, tips, meditations, and resources for healing codependency, perfectionism, anxiety and more).

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APA Reference
Martin, S. (2018). 8 Simple Steps to Ending the Sunday Night Blues. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Feb 2018
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