Being Squeezed by the Sunday Blues

The Sunday blues start kicking in right about now for me in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States. The image that comes to mind is that of a kid’s (although, why does it have to be just for kids?!) mesh squeeze ball being squeezed, and when you squeeze it, there’s a part of the balls that seeps through your fingers, almost like jelly.

But in that scenario, we’re the ball and we’re being squeezed by the Sunday blues. I feel it in a visceral way, as if the stress and blueness is pushing against the inside of my face, and I want to cry? But I’m not going to; it’s just the sensation of a pre-cry. What I’m describing here is a common feeling among humans, and it’s what psychologists call “anticipatory anxiety.” That’s exactly what it sounds like, and in the obvious example, we’re anticipating returning to work and the work week on Monday, so we’re already getting anxious thinking about all the work we have to do that we’ve been able to ignore (if you’re lucky) over the weekend. Before work, i was college, and before college, it was high school, and before ..

“Sunday nights aren’t considered the end of a great weekend but the beginning of something neither the child nor the adult is looking forward to,” says Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and the founder of the National Institute for Play, in Carmel Valley, California.

For me, my two busiest days are Monday and Tuesday, as I gear up for finalizing that week’s newspaper, so it’s a lot of prep work, interviews, researching, writing, corralling, communicating, and formatting the newspaper. By Tuesday night when I put the paper to bed, more than half of my “work week” is complete and I’m wiped out. Once I’m in it, particularly on Tuesday, I sort of love the madness of the dance, which I’ve written about before, but in anticipation of it on Sunday? Sunday blues all the way.

Weekends are where, for the most part if I’m not covering an event, I relax. I don’t have responsibilities. I can do whatever I want without having to clock in or do anything. I answer to nobody. Unless there’s a birthday or some other family gathering, I have no social responsibilities. I can watch movies and television all day or write and blog all day or scroll Twitter all day or, sometimes hopefully, READ A BOOK. It’s my free zone. And it’s rejuvenating, in a way.

But when about this time starts rolling around, I start feeling sad, and I get into the mode of, “Welp, the day is over,” even though there’s still plenty of time left.

The solutions, as cited in the two articles I linked above, are what you would expect: exercise, get in nature, practice good sleep hygiene, avoid alcohol and your cell phone and emails.

Again, the trouble with this stuff is that I know the solutions, I know they’ve worked when I’ve done them, but … I don’t want to do them. Besides avoiding emails, but that’s more the norm anyhow. One of those articles even suggests being a “social animal” instead of going into “hermit mode.”

But hermit mode is my M.O. In fact, I rarely ever say “yes” to doing something with someone on Sunday because I see Sunday as my day to claim and squeeze every last bit out of it before the blues set in. But I get it. We’re social beings. Socializing will help. Blah blah.

We’re our own worst enemies sometimes, and actively, consciously stand in the way of getting to the greener grass on the other side of the blues. Oh wait, doesn’t that go against the original saying about how the grass isn’t always greener on the other side? You know what I mean, though. It’s not as if these solutions are difficult or hard to understand, but implementation is always easier said than done, to add another cliche.

Our brain is in a perpetual civil war between what we know to do versus what we would rather do to avoid doing what we know to do. Rinse and repeat, week after week, Sunday blues after Sunday blues.

I also get into the mode of, “There’s only a few more hours left of my Sunday, what should I do? I could do X, Y and Z,” and instead of doing any one thing, I get overwhelmed with the possibilities of things I want to accomplish that aren’t work-related, I end up doing something almost obscenely frivolous, like binging margarita-making videos. Not that I’m shaming myself for watching those videos because I enjoyed them! But, also, it would have been nice to read another 50 pages in my book.

Alas.

What do you do to try to avoid the Sunday blues? Or, like me, do you often lean into them like a freak?

Pablo Picasso, 1903-4. Creative Commons photo.

6 thoughts

  1. This is spot on to how I have felt just about every Sunday of my life. 😅 I’ve been trying to get myself not to be so excited for the weekend so that I won’t have so much anxiety or sadness on Sundays, but it really is tough. I’m often relieved (and even a bit proud of myself) when Monday is over because it means I got through “the worst of it” and Monday often is not even bad at all anyway. So I also try to remind myself of what waits at the end of Monday. Whenever I used to feel the Sunday blues when I was younger, my dad would tell me that it’s not something to be ashamed of because it means that I love being home so much and that I have a place where I can always find comfort. That has helped me before, too.

    Thank you for sharing! It’s nice to know that other people feel the same way and we’re not alone in this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Tirza! That’s the interesting cycle of it all. For me, it’s Tuesday, prior to it, I always wonder how I’ll make it to the end, and then when I do and it feels good, by the time it rolls around again, I’ve forgotten that I always make it through. Your dad’s advice is smart! Shaming ourselves for the way we feel certainly isn’t a solution, and I’m also a bit of a homebody, so quite apt, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

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