Beating the Sunday Scaries

Anxiety describes a group of disorders that cause worry, nervousness, and fear. The feelings associated with anxiety interfere with everyday life by causing physical changes in the body, irrational thinking, and decreased motivation. 

Most individuals will struggle with anxiety at some point in their life. Personally, I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was a child; as a result, stomachaches were frequent occurrences for me. I often escaped to the nurse’s office, asking to go home because I wanted to be in an emotionally comfortable place. My anxiety typically involved worrying about something happening to my parents and my own health, but most often, it concerned school. 

When I was in elementary school, my anxious feelings would start on Sundays. My anxiety would usually begin around the middle of the afternoon. Like watching clouds roll in, so would my dread for the coming week. As the night progressed, my anxiety amplified dreading the coming week. I remember lying awake each Sunday night, watching the minutes and hours tick by. It seemed like with each passing moment, my worry about the coming week only grew.

My struggle with anxiety continued into my adulthood. And based on current research, my experience with Sunday anxiety is a common one. A survey by LinkedIn found that 80% of workplace professionals experience stress and anxiety that builds up on Sunday nights before the start of the work week, a phenomenon known as the “Sunday Scaries.” The Sunday Scaries are characterized by a reoccurring sense of dread. More than 1 in 3 professionals said they experience the Sunday Scaries every week. The data also shows that all generations are affected: Generation Z polled at 94% and Millennials by 91%, compared to 72% of Generation X professionals and 69% of Baby Boomers. The survey looked at more than one thousand full-time, part-time, and self-employed adults across the U.S. and found that Sundays can be especially stressful for a number of reasons including: 

• Worrying about their workload (60%). Today’s workplace is often filled with positions that are  comprised of other, multiple positions rolled into one. Perhaps you can relate to this: you were hired for one position but then someone left or there were layoffs and suddenly your workload has doubled. Or maybe there was restructuring in your department and now you're doing tasks and functions that you haven’t been trained for. 

• Balancing professional and personal to-dos (44%). Clients I meet with often worry about their work-life balance. Most of us don’t want to give all our energy to our jobs and then have nothing left to offer our family and friends. It can be stressful to want to do well in our personal lives but also advance and achieve in our careers. 

• Dwelling on tasks they didn't finish the week before that pile up was listed as one of the top causes of anxiety (36%). Because we aren’t robots, we typically don’t achieve that perfect “to-done” list. Often, this is perfectionism in disguise. Perfectionism is the thief of contentment and peace and often results in feelings of anxiety. 

If one of these three scenarios resonates with you, you likely battle the Sunday Scaries. This doesn’t mean that you have a serious diagnosis. But it does mean you are struggling. That’s okay. I struggle too. We all do, but often we don’t realize what’s going on or we feel too embarrassed to ask for help. We tend to minimize our worries and anxieties. Oh, it’s that not that big of a deal. It’s only one day a week, what’s the harm? But if you are anxious for half of your weekend, it’s a big deal. The weekend is meant to be a time to rest and recharge.

If you aren’t able to renew yourself, you’re likely to go into the week on fumes and coast your way in exhaustion through another week. Individuals who deal with this type of weekly stress may also suffer from physical problems. Like I mentioned previously, stomachaches and insomnia are common symptoms of anxiety. Changes in the functions of the cardiovascular, urinary, and respiratory systems can also occur.

This can sound scary. But don’t worry! I have solutions for you. There are simple things like saying no to social media on Sundays, eating well, and exercising that can help. You may already be doing these things but not on a frequent basis. I also believe in a spiritual component to beating and overcoming anxiety. Rooting yourself in the Word, prayer, and community are all proven ways to ward off anxieties. 

Blessings to you,


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Melissa Clark