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The Sunday Blues: How To Stop Dreading The Work Week

04/27/2013 02:15 pm ET | Updated Mar 10, 2015

By Amy Shearn

Fact (sort of): Even people who don’t work regular hours find themselves transformed into week-dreading werewolves every Sunday at dusk. Here’s how to dissolve the sense of doom.

  • Dangle A Week-Carrot
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  • Look, the world of happy moments doesn't have to end just because Monday must be spent wearing real clothes. Happiness doyenne Gretchen Rubin, creator of the Happiness Project and author of bestsellers Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, says, "Give yourself a reason to anticipate the coming week: Plan lunch with a friend, or a movie outing, or a trip to an office-supply store -- or am I the only one who loves to go to office-supply stores? -- and when the Sunday blues hit, remind yourself of everything fun that will happen."
  • Take One Minute Of Internet Time And Then Shut That Machine Off
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  • Spend it here.
  • Make A List (But Just One)
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  • There is an art to making a very fine list. This I know, as a descendent of a long line of inveterate list-makers. Lists can get you through any knotty moment, from packing a suitcase to keeping track of love letters: Just look at these incredibly beautiful specimens from the Smithsonian Archive’s Famous Lists, compiled by ListProducer.com. Here is a list for your Sunday-night list: 1. Make your list on paper, with a pen or pencil.
    2. Feel free, but not obligated, to make it pretty.
    3. Include on this list some concrete things you hope to accomplish in the coming week.
    4. Limit yourself to no more than 10 items, so that you don’t make it impossible to succeed in crossing off every last item.
    5. Watch your stress dissolve as you write each thing down.
  • Color-Code The Tupperware
    Marianne Haas
  • This Gallup poll shows that we spend less time doing what we do best on Sundays compared with other days of the week, which might be one reason we get so bummed. (Gallup research also shows that we feel better when we are using our strengths.) So do your thing: organizing, fire-ball juggling, French-braiding hair, bossing people around -- I mean, delegating responsibility -- whatever your thing may be.
  • Savor The 'Full Coffee-Place Punch Card On The Day I Had No Cash' Joy
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  • Sunday malaise is not just about the looming week, but also about the passing one. I can't be the only one who feels as if life is moving too fast, like there are all these moments flitting by before I can pin them down and label them. I keep a note in my phone, full of incoherent reminders of amazing moments that I want to record in a better way than an iPhone note -- and yet, there it is, precariously moldering in my pocket. One thing I’ve found that helps is to take a few moments on Sunday night to write a journal entry about what I was grateful for in the past week. Just the highlights, the unexpected gifts. The three flakes of snow you saw when you looked up from your desk, which never turned into a snowstorm and which seemed yours and yours alone. The fully punched free-coffee loyalty card. The call from your phone-phobic brother. With any luck, taking a few moments to record these moments will put you in a better place for the week ahead: calm, observant and wonderfully open to possibilities.
  • Embark On A Micro-Vacation
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  • Go to a movie with no one, which is like going to Mexico, but cheaper. Doing something by yourself can be, as Valerie Monroe wrote on Oprah.com, "a banquet of pleasure."
  • Dinner At The Table... With Napkins
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  • The other day, a friend said to me, "You and your husband have grown-up dinner together after the kids are in bed? How elegant!" I think she was picturing some sort of fish, salad and wine situation. In truth -- and this pains me to admit -- it's usually more like cereal on the couch while we both surf the Internet and distractedly converse about which chores can't be ignored any longer. But what if we had a grown-up dinner, without secretly trying to Get Something Done?
  • Plan A Weekly 'Downton Abbey' Watch Party
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  • Or "Celebrity Apprentice," or whatever it is. Invited to this party: you, snack.
  • Ask Your Niece For A Link
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  • Download some new music for your commute or your workout. Some good places to look for music that hasn't been on your iPod ever since iPods were invented: Awdio.com, Pitchfork.com, Hypem.com, Songza.com, Music-Map.com.
  • Pretend That You Finished Reading 'Telegraph Avenue'
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  • Arrange to do something fun on Sunday evening: Get together with your book club, documentary club or supper club. And -- here's the key -- schedule it for early in the evening, so that it ends by 7:30 at the latest. Because the most important thing of all to do on Sunday is to...
  • Sleep Around
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  • As in take a nap and go to bed early. In other words, make sleep a priority. David K. Randall recently wrote in the New York Times, "Thanks in part to technology and its constant pinging and chiming, roughly 41 million people in the United States -- nearly a third of all working adults -- get six hours or fewer of sleep a night, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." Randall also notes that "sleep -- including short naps that include deep sleep -- offers our brains the chance to decide what new information to keep and what to toss." So respect your weekend sleepiness. Fluff your pillows. Take sunbeam-dozing lessons from your cat. And rest up. A week of possibilities awaits.

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