The Sunday Sads
The ticking of the 60 Minutes clock and the starting theme for The Wonderful World of Disney—these sounds on early 1980s TV meant the end of the weekend. The next day was doomsday, a school day, or Monday as most people call it.
Dinnertime, bath time, rushing to finish homework (that had languished while I was busy running wild in my neck of the east central Mississippi woods)...the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that the weekend was over was accompanied by a network television soundtrack.
Twenty years later, talking with a fellow half-marathon training pal at Dallas’ White Rock Lake, I learned that she too was sent into the depths of human emotion at the sound of that CBS News program’s ticking clock. I felt a certain kinship with her for it, but was perplexed by it at the same time. This is remarkable; do other people feel this?
I haven’t watched 60 Minutes since that era, but I have have been semi-traumatized a few times over the years if I’m in the room when someone happens past the show’s opening. I would tell my husband, “Quick, change the channel!”
I don’t bother with network television these days, but I do feel a bit sorry for kids; they probably don’t know what it’s like for the whole family to share a common television show, much less understand how it feels for most of the country to watch the same thing...at the same time...all the time. It was a cultural reference point for me and for many of my generation and the 20th century generations that preceded it.
Normalizing the effect
I was unfamiliar that this affliction had a name—the Sunday Sads—until just a few years ago when I read the term in Laura Bush’s autobiography. That was an emotion that many other people felt? I had no idea, but it made sense. Knowing it had a name had a certain comfort to it, like someone might get from receiving a medical diagnosis: at least now I know. I would think of the term during particular seasons of my life when on a Sunday evening, I felt as if I hadn’t had enough weekend and dreaded certain tasks and characters at work the next day.
As a solopreneur doing work I love, I am immensely grateful that now I don’t dread any days of the week. I am always excited to get out of bed before sunrise without an alarm, meditate, journal, walk, eat breakfast outside with my bare feet in the grass, then get down to the work of writing and coaching that I am so grateful for.
Help me help you
As your weekend self anticipates putting the yoke of your professional self back on, there are some things you can do to ease the transition. If you’re in a season of your life in which you’re not particularly excited about work, get curious about the root cause of those feelings. When you know that, there are some strategies you can put in place to minimize the dread—even eliminate it.
Plan for Monday on Friday afternoon. If possible, block off the last hour of every Friday to take stock of the past week, clear your desk, and get ready for next week by organizing your tasks for Monday. Knowing you’ll walk into the office with an organized space and a plan will help.
Incorporate household chores and errands throughout the week. I used to make Saturday my cleaning and errand day, and then I resented getting to the end of the day feeling like I’d wasted half my weekend. If you spend a little extra time throughout the work week on household chores and errands, you’ll have more time on the weekend for fun and relaxation.
Make the most of your weekend. Plan fun things for the weekend with just the right amount of activity and relaxation; this is a balance that you’ll have to strike based on knowing how you’re wired. After a difficult week, you may just want to anesthetize with booze, food, and your big screen (or small screen), but if you give your embodied soul what it’s really craving: love, connection, nourishment, authentic movement, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind come Sunday evening.
Cultivate evening rituals. A great day begins the night before with certain rituals that set you up for success the next day: turn off all electronics, get your clothes ready for tomorrow, write down ten things you’re grateful for, wind down with a book or relaxing meditation, sleep in a cool room.
Prioritize sleep. Your mind/body will function much better with good quality sleep; it’s the time to detox, repair cells, and metabolize stress hormones. Go to bed when you’re naturally sleepy. If you’re sleepy, and then you push yourself into watching one more episode of whatever you’re into, you’ll miss the best opportunity to get on the sleep train before your adrenaline kicks in again and the train pulls out of the station.
Be present, engaged, grateful
When you have recharged your batteries, and you have Monday morning planned from the prior Friday, you can sail into Sunday evening without the sads, being more present and appreciative of the waning hours of the weekend. We all know about the best laid plans of mice and men, and as sure as night follows day, someone will throw a wrench into one of yours.
You've got this
If you take actions within your power to keep the Sunday Sads at bay, you’ll enjoy your Sunday evening more and be better prepared to handle whatever the work week brings.