It can feel like a pit in your stomach. Or maybe it makes your heart flutter. Sometimes, it can escalate and paralyze you into staying in bed. The commonality: It always hits on Sundays. What is this dreaded feeling of anxiety and dread?
The “Sunday Scaries,” despite the flippant-sounding name, are the negative feelings that emerge at the end of a weekend, before returning to work or school. They’re not a clinical condition, and they can be anything from a minor inconvenience to crippling anxiety.
According to the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) manual, although everyday anxiety is an unpleasant state, it can be quite useful in helping people “avoid dangerous situations and motivate them to solve everyday problems.”
However, once anxiety begins to interfere with your everyday activities, responsibilities and relationships, or it’s severe and persistent coupled with feelings of pain, fear and avoidance — it’s a good idea to seek help from a qualified professional. This is especially true if you start to use substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope with or suppress the feelings.
Weekends are supposed to be a time to recharge and unplug from work. Even a few hours lost to worrying about work can drain your mind and body. If the Sunday Scaries are robbing you of joy and rest, consider these strategies to get your weekend back.
MHFA believes every person should have one First Aider in their network of friends, family and peers. Every 1 in 15 people should be certified to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.
Certify as a MHFA First Aider to learn how to identify, understand and respond to someone with mental health and substance use challenges. Find a course and #BeThe1in15.
No matter what you call them — the Sunday Scaries or something else — realize that you can take back your weekend. Even small changes can have a big impact on your mental health.
Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA. National Council for Behavioral Health d/b/a National Council for Mental Wellbeing.