If you’re like 76% of the population, when Sunday evening rolls around you begin to experience a sense of dread. Sadness, anxiety, and even hopelessness dominates your once relaxing weekend. This pervasive problem eats away at the precious time we reserve for relaxing, enjoying family, and refreshing our batteries. But to fix the problem, we must diagnose it first.
Not all Sunday Blues are created equal.
You hate your job. The first, and easiest trigger to identify is pure job dissatisfaction. If you hate your job, you will spend every minute counting down to when you have to go back. If your drive to work on Monday morning feels like a walk on Death Row, then the solution is simple-get out. Go find something that is personally and/or professionally fulfilling (or at least not soul-sucking).
You’re under-performing. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expect (or want) them to. When you know you’re not meeting expectations, it’s tough to face Monday morning with a positive attitude. The later it gets on Sunday night, the more you wish that this will be the week you’re able to turn the year around. But you can’t approach under-performance like the lottery. No one hits the jackpot and avoids all the hard work it takes to meet organizational goals. Instead, meet the performance problems head on. Meet with your boss to acknowledge the problems and ask for help defining actionable steps that will help you achieve your goals. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
You’re overwhelmed. Do you spend Sunday evenings making a giant list of things you have to accomplish this week? Does that list look as long as a holiday grocery receipt? Then you might struggle on Sunday evenings because you feel like you’re being set up for failure. When your plate is too full and unrealistic, the stress will flow over into Sunday evenings. Much like a worker who is under-performing, the best approach is acknowledgement and honesty. Ask for help. Don’t try to be a silent hero and take on all the organization’s problems. You’ll only end up burnt out and feeling used.
You’re over-scheduled. Sometimes the Sunday Blues have nothing to do with work at all. If your weekend consists of shuttling the kids from dance class to soccer practice, then a baseball game, a kid’s birthday party, church, and finally a swim meet, then you’re taking on too much. Your Sunday Blues are a realization that you didn’t have a Sunday at all. You’re running a marathon that you can’t win. When the schedule is too full, call an audible and schedule in some down time. You can’t be your best at work on Monday if you need a vacation from your weekend.
You’re in the dark. Finally, in a VUCA business environment (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), it’s common to experience anxiety and depression. If your company is going through major changes, reorgs, or layoffs, it’s normal to experience the Sunday Blues worrying about what news the new week will bring. Chances are you have little control over any of those large organizational decisions, so wasting a Sunday evening with your worries will not change the outcome. Focus on what you can control- your performance, your network, and growing your skill-set. Stay focused on the positive and spend extra energy securing a Plan B.
Regardless of which root cause triggers your Sunday Blues, do not let those negative thoughts creep into Monday morning. Start the week with a smile, realistic goals, and a plan of attack to ensure your Friday night is spent celebrating another job well done.