Podcast Episode 15: Sunday Scaries and Monday Mindset

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A LinkedIn poll found that 80% of adults surveyed experience anxiety on Sunday’s night anxiety. In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How the anticipation of the Sunday Scaries only leads to more stress.
  • Questions to ask yourself so you can get to the root of your Sunday Scaries.
  • How creating a Sacred Sunday and a Monday Mindset practice can help.

Show Notes:

Setting Boundaries at Work Episode 5

Fear and Workplace performance (What a Horse Taught Me About Fear) Episode 8

When you are excluded in the workplace Episode 10

How to stop negative thinking Episode 11




The Sunday scaries is the feeling of doom that shows up the evening before another week begins. They can make you feel miserable and can suck the fun out of your remaining free time.

Read the Transcript
Hey friends,
How’s you?
And welcome back to another episode of the career refresh podcast. I’m your host, Jill Griffin.
This week I have a juicy topic. One that I struggled with as an employee and at times during my entrepreneurial journey.
And if you have been listening to me for a while you wont be surprise that it has to do with not managing our mind so we have to escape our lives.
Yup. The Sunday Scaries. When I first heard this term, I didn’t have the Sunday scaries yet.

Who would have thought there would have been a time were my green-ness was my fuel. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I wasn’t burn out yet and I was having fun. Excitement. I was mentally stimulated. Every day felt like I was sitting in an Aaron Sorkin screenplay.
Quick banter. Wit. Intellectually stimulating. I wasn’t dating anyone and like my colleagues we were all married to our team.  
Looking back, on those days,  it never occurred to me that it was weird that at 5pm on most days someone walked around and dropped off drinks at our desks. No joke. Not quite a bar cart but a crisp glass of Sancerre would suddenly appear. It’s so curious to me today.

I was hanging out with a bunch of colleagues on a Sunday evening.
Late Summer. Upper West Side Roof deck in Manhattan. Sweet digs with a 360 view. One of the Exec Creative
Directors had invited a few of us over for a BBQ.
As the night wore on and the sky turned to that late summer sunset with a reddish orange and still blue sky, my teammates started to talk about how they were so depressed we had to work tomorrow.

They called it the Sunday scaries. One guy said that he fights them all day. The scaries set in around 12 noon and he fights them until he goes to bed. Others agreed.
This was so strange to me because everyone liked most aspects of their job, clearly we got along well as a team and we’d form a united front against that unreasonable client. We always got through it together.
The conversation has stayed with me for years. It took about 10 years for me to begin to get the Sunday scaries.
Looking back, I had the perfect triangulation of previous success, performance pressure, and the daily hum of anxiety.
You could be on the team that won a billion-dollar piece of business last week but what have you done for us this morning?
While I loved most aspects of my job, I think it’s fair to say that success at an agency has a very short half-life.
Success wears off rapidly and you have to always feed the beast. I understand this is true for the top tech platforms, media companies, big consulting, finance, law, the list goes on.
High risk, high reward.
The tri factor of previous success, performance pressure, and anxiety meet an unmanaged mind, the Sunday scaries are bound to show up.
The Sunday scaries is the feeling of doom that shows up the evening before another week begins. They can make you feel miserable and can suck the fun out of your remaining free time.
It’s basically anticipatory stress.
Or pre-tramatic stress.
It’s the fear of fear.
You think you wont be able to handle what is thrown your way.
There’s an informal survey from 2018 conducted by LinkedIn that suggests 80% of adults surveyed said they experience Sunday night anxiety.
We overdo everything during the week. We work long hours. We are using our brains both for finding solutions and running disaster scenarios based on our fears.
We are not taking care of ourselves, too much screen time. Doing the social media doomsday scroll before bed.
Limited or no exercise, we’re not fueling ourselves with proper nutrition. Add on a pandemic, with working from home while kids needing homeschooling it’s no wonder why this is still a recurring issue.
And then we try to make up for everything on the weekends. 
I began to hate Mondays. And I used to LOVE Friday
And, BTW, I mostly loved my job. But there were things like the constant never ending demands and an occasional dicky client that would have me trying to escape from my week day life.  But I didn’t hate my work. I just didn’t know how to find a way to get it to work for me.
Then I would exhaust myself on Saturday (over consumption of drink, food, exercise, screen time — you name it, I crammed it in)
Then get so anxious and stressed that by 3 PM I had to get home to deal with the anxiety of going back to work on Monday.
Sometimes I’d race home from the beach or wherever I was from the weekend and I would need to prepare. Which usually was just more wine and HBO.
Other times, I would think, I am going to savor every minute. Wait for the last minute and begin the sometimes 2-hour trek back home at 10pm. Thinking that this would ward off the scaries. It didn’t. I was just exhausted the the traffic and the commute home that I would be too tired and wired for bed.
And as someone who had a Traumatic Brain Injury I needed like 10 hours of sleep so I could keep the symptoms at bay and be able to function. I wasn’t starting my week off with the best opportunity because I was coming in exhausted. And dizzy.
Even if I didn’t over consume and over do it on weekends, if the workweek is super stressful, 2 days of chill isn’t going to make up for 5 days of hell.
So how come I found myself here week after week?  
Because I wasn’t managing my mind. I wasn’t questioning why I felt this way. I was just accepting it as part of the nature of work.
I didn’t question getting a new job. I had resigned myself to believe it would be the same everywhere so it’s no point and switching unless it’s for a huge chuck of cash.
I didn’t know if I was just burnt out and needed a vacation. My company offered sabbatical at a reduced pay. I felt I was too busy, so I didn’t investigate the possibility of these options.
I also didn’t use all my vacation yet that was part of my compensation. If someone asked you if you were willing to reduce your salary by 4 weeks with nothing in exchange, would you?
That’s what you are doing when you are leaving 4 weeks salary on the table. It’s part of your comp. Take your vacation.
I was letting a few work scenarios paint the whole picture.
You brain is always looking to protect you. It’s looking for the thoughts that will stress you out. When we train our brain with the awareness that these thoughts are involuntary, we can stop trying to control them and accept that they are probably going to be there.
And the truth is, we do have a choice. We have that choice whether to push these thoughts away and ignore them.
We can choose to not process them.

But, they will linger. And more Sunday scaries will loom ahead in the coming weeks.

From my experience resisting and pushing them aside is a temporary solution.

Resistance is like a rubber band. It can only stretch so far before it snaps back. Keep resisting, and eventually, we will want to numb out with alcohol, food, social media, or our drug of choice.

If you are in a meeting or driving it’s probably not the best time to process why your in the Sunday scaries but I encourage to look at your thoughts later. Ask yourself if you do need a new job, a break, or a mindset shift.

You don’t have to control all of your thoughts. You just have to learn to not take action from your crappy thoughts.
This is where working with a coach is so helpful because they can show you your thinking and help you determine what’s the best next step for you. And they help you do this a hell of a lot faster than if you did it on your own.
When I hired a coach. Everything began to shift.
Over time, I really questioned what I was thinking. I learned tools to manage my mind. And I turned the Sunday scaries into the Sunday Sacred.
Sundays became the anchor between what was and possibility.
I began a Sunday ritual where I choose be home by the late afternoon.
I would begin to prepare myself for the week
I waited for the fresh direct food deliver. I then prepped my food for the week, I reviewed my calendar for the week ahead and I blocked off focus time so I could think.
I planned the mornings that I would exercise, the evenings I would see my friends and the client dinners and which nights would be late ones.
I also looked at what thoughts do I need to be thinking in order to create the results I wanted? What do I need to be thinking to keep holding myself as a high performance professional?
Everything shifted when I learned how to rethink my thoughts.

So if you have that creeping sense of dread on Sundays, while there isn’t always a fast and easy fix, change is possible.

In addition to the Sunday Sacred and created Monday Mindset. I would look at what I could do to make Monday, lighter, more buoyant, and when possible, fun.

Who could I meet with? What connections could I make?

Sometimes I would work longer on Friday to lighten the Monday load. Other times, I would decide that I would work for 2 hours on a Sunday when I was more relaxed to reduce the Monday burden.
To recap:

1)   Consider prepping for Monday on Friday or Sunday. Get ahead of your workload so Monday feels lighter and more manageable. Calendaring is an art

2)   Find your non-negotiables during the week –food, exercise, sleep – – what do you need to function?

3)   Don’t over pack your weekend. Carve out some unplanned time

4)   Watch the over consumption of activities, food, alcohol, social these things will only drain you

5)   Create a Sunday scared ritual so you are in the best mindset possible as you get ready to start the week

6)   Manage your mind. Question your thoughts and really find out why you are having the Sunday scaries. Do you need to find a new job? Or do you just need to actually use your vacation?

It is possible not to let this feeling take over your night. Acknowledge it, accept that you might not be able to completely get rid of it, you can learn to train your brain and your behavior towards a Monday mindset.
I hope today was helpful. Before I go, who are you getting your support from? I’d be honored to help you with your career challenges. You can learn more on my website jillgriffincoaching.com
Alright my friends. Have a fab day, and I’ll see you next time.

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Tune into The Refresh Your Career Podcast Available on all streaming apps. https://jillgriffin.buzzsprout.com/