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I’m a psychotherapist — here’s how to cure the ‘Sunday scares’

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Suffering from the dreaded “Sunday scares”?

Often preceding the “Monday blues,” the anxiety we feel on what should be “Sunday funday” can actually be remedied, experts say, with just a few simple tricks.

To “help prevent burnout,” psychotherapist Belinda Sidhu told the Daily Mail she recommends shutting down work phones and logging off work email accounts from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. After all, out of sight, out of mind.

Coupled with setting realistic goals for the first day of the week, this has been shown to be an effective strategy for combating Monday dread, which birthed the “bare minimum Monday” trend.

TikToker Marisa Jo Mayes, who coined the term, blames “Sunday scares” for her lack of motivation when Mondays roll around.


person counting on calendar
To prevent burnout, experts recommend untethering from work-related correspondence to allow for a true break.
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To boost productivity in the face of overwhelming anxiety, she decided to only complete the “bare minimum” the first day of the week — and she claims it’s worked.

The advice comes as Gen Z fuels workplace burnout, according to recent data from Cigna. Research shows 91% of the young generation are reporting higher-than-average stress levels.

Psychologist Augusto Blanco told the Daily Mail that setting boundaries at work is “especially important” if your stress comes from co-workers.

“This not only limits the amount of conflicts one faces at their workplace, but also gives us confidence that we can stand up for ourselves and not endure things we don’t like,” he said.


Two women chatting
Setting boundaries with colleagues is another piece of advice to relieve stress.
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There are habits workers can adopt to add some joy to their lives — rather than just subtracting work-related negatives.

For example, Blanco recommends catching a movie, grabbing dessert or, really, participating in anything considered fun.

In turn, it will “help offset the physical aversiveness that comes from Sunday scares,” he explained.

Planning ahead, too, gives people something to look forward to during the week, Sidhu noted.

“If you are aware you have a pattern where a certain day may affect your mood, think about what you can introduce that brings you joy — whether that’s a coffee with a friend, or a walk in nature,” she advised.


Cheering with coffee cups
Don’t be afraid to have some fun — whether it’s during the weekend or on a weekday, as long as it’s something positive to look forward to.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Physical activity has also been shown to relieve anxiety and stress. Research has found exercise can be even better than medications for treating mental health issues.

“Try doing something you enjoy rather than simply sweating it out at the gym if that’s not your thing,” psychologist Lauren Steingold told the Daily Mail, adding that even some mindfulness practices could be beneficial. “Maybe go swimming or put on some music and dance around the house.”

If all else fails, therapy might help — when in doubt, talk it out.


People on bikes riding through field
Exercise has been shown to boost mood — and it supports both physical and mental health.
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Person talking to medical professional
If all else fails, there might be something underlying that could be remedied by a professional.
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“It’s understandable to feel a little stress or anxiety as you see the final moments of your weekend slipping away, but the ‘Sunday scares’ can be a sign of something deeper,” Sidhu said, advising people to seek professional help if needed.

“Speaking to a professional, such as a qualified therapist, can help you to identify the causes of your stress or anxiety and help you to address and manage it in a helpful and supportive way,” she added.

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I’m a psychotherapist — here’s how to cure the ‘Sunday scares’

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