Inevitably, on Monday mornings I have calls on my office phone that came in on Sunday evening or night. More calls seem to be waiting for me then than on any other morning. Why? People stress out on Sunday nights probably more than any of the other six nights. It's a time when they focus on everything they dislike about their lives and relationships, when despite people's best efforts they can't seem to stop worrying about what lies ahead the next day at work. It's what keeps them up at night.
Here's what you can do to beat the Sunday night blues:
- Take a step back and look at the big picture. What makes you anxious about returning to work? Is it based on reality or on something you imagine?
- Decipher fact from fiction. Focus on what's within your control, not what lies beyond it.
- Prepare for Monday every Friday. At the end of each work week, prepare for the next by straightening up your workspace, tying up loose ends, and making a to-do list.
- Relax as much as you can. When planning your weekend, don't over schedule and certainly don't leave stressful activities for Sunday.
- Plan your Sunday according to your mood. If you ordinarily feel depressed on Sundays, then arrange a fun activity such as a special restaurant dinner or hanging out with friends. If you typically find yourself edgy, then indulge in something relaxing such as a movie or reading.
- Balance your sleep patterns. If you get up at 6 a.m. during the week but sleep in on the weekends, you may not be tired come bedtime on Sunday. Leave Saturday for sleeping in. On Sunday, try not to deviate too far from your regular wake up time.
- Stop staring at the clock. Turn your alarm clock away from the bed so that you aren't reminded of your approaching workday. Have confidence that it will wake you at the appropriate time.
- Count your blessings. Before you go to sleep, identify three positive aspects about your job or day ahead. Drift off to sleep looking forward to what you like about your job rather than dreading what you don't like.
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