What are Sunday Scaries?
As a therapist, this topic comes up a lot, especially with the highschool and college students I work with. The sunday scaries refer to that sense of dread before the work or school week starts back up again.
Why we have them:
Across the board, humans do their best to avoid aversive situations and stay in comfortable situations. We’d rather be warm than cold, fed rather than hungry, sheltered etc.
With the advent of the traditional work week/school week, Sunday scaries became more prominent, when staying at home is comfortable and going to work is not.
Some dread about the end of the weekend is common, but if it’s having a profound impact on you, it should be looked at.
How to deal:
I use a lot of cbt in my practice, so when college students are faced with a challenge, we always look at thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
What are you telling yourself?
How is that impacting you emotionally?
And, how is that shifting your actions?
First you investigate, then you change one of those variables.
What else you could tell yourself? Maybe something more helpful. How does that change your emotions? How would that shift your behaviors?
Or with those other points of the cognitive triangle, maybe you can find a relaxation practice or a go-to yoga class on Sundays to help with this heightened emotional stress.
Choosing calm actions make you more likely to access your calm thoughts.
And, cramming for a test late on Sunday night is basically the opposite of what you should do.
Thoughts and Your Sunday Scaries:
With Sunday scaries, figure out if you’re telling yourself something that’s 100% true, or something just partially true. Are you telling yourself that this week is going to be awful? Are you anxious about a potential conversation with a professor?
A lot of times, we’re not even specifically aware of what we’re telling ourselves, so that first step of identifying what’s going on is often the most important. When we can take a step back and really examine that thought, it can feel a lot less overwhelming and powerful - meaning Monday might not feel as scary when we really think about it.
Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, LCSW is a top-rated anxiety specialist in St. Louis, working with kids, teens and college students to help them manage their overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She works in Clayton with students throughout Creve Couer, Town and Country, Ladue, University City, Midtown, and Webster Groves. You can reach her through her brand new contact page - and if you’re a college student who gets a little anxious about reaching out, she’s happy to first talk with a parent instead.