Rather than another relaxing day off, for many of us, Sundays are all about dreading Mondays.
That is, as the afternoon rolls in, we start thinking about our long, traffic-filled commute, all the things we need to do, and how terribly annoying it’s all going to feel. We think about early mornings, the emails in our inbox, the bills we have to pay, the errands we have to run, and the various other challenges we have to face.
And naturally we can’t think of anything else. And naturally our mood sinks.
This is understandable. After all, it’s really hard to stay in the present, especially if you’re trying to think through the week ahead.
But, of course, it’s also not a helpful approach.
As time management expert and bestselling author Laura Vanderkam says in this episode of her excellent, insight-filled podcast “Before Breakfast,” “if you start worrying about Monday at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, and you go to bed at 11 p.m., that’s 8 hours of weekend time that you’ve just lost.”
And that just might be more frustrating than any Monday turns out to be.
Vanderkam’s solution for beating the Sunday blues is a simple but powerful one: Plan something fun and fulfilling for Sunday evening. This way instead of drowning in dread, your attention and energy naturally shift to anticipating your great plans, and then savoring that sweet experience.
For instance, Vanderkam says that you might see a movie with your family, eat at a new restaurant, host a potluck dinner, or take a walk and watch the sunset.
You might start by thinking about the activities you’d love to do during the week, but haven’t because of work or other responsibilities. If you have a partner and kids, ask them to share their thoughts, as well. Each person could even make a list.
Can you do one of these activities on Sunday evening? Maybe you can take turns doing an activity from each person’s “wishlist.”
If nothing comes to mind, think about what relaxes and refreshes you. Think about what inspires you, and makes you happy. Think about what nourishes your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
That is, maybe Sunday becomes the day you go to a coffeeshop, and work on your novel for an hour. Maybe on most Sundays you take a restorative yoga class in the late afternoons. Maybe you meet a good friend for an early dinner. Maybe you and your family attend evening mass, and have dinner afterward.
If you need to stay in, maybe you order takeout from your favorite restaurant, and designate Sunday nights as family game night. Maybe you catch up on your favorite show. Maybe you work on a new creative project. Maybe you have a picnic on your porch and watch the sunset. Maybe you try a different cookie recipe every week.
Either way, instead of anticipating an awful Monday, we can anticipate a fun Sunday night. We can have fun planning our fun Sunday night, and then actually savoring that fun experience—whatever it looks like for you.
How can you make Sundays feel special? What can you plan and look forward to?