How to Combat the Sunday Scaries

picture showing man with a headache and  scribbles around his head showing anxiety and stress depicting the sunday scaries.

It’s Sunday night, the weekend is winding down, you open your email with the innocent belief that you just want to know what’s in your inbox to get a start on planning your week, and ten minutes later, WHAM, you are sucked in and the stress of work starts to build. This is an example of the what is now being called the Sunday Scaries. Defined, the Sunday Scaries is the anxiety that sets in on Sunday nights with the impending return to work. This is also known as job creep, and it is a contributing cause to burnout. In a LinkedIn survey of 1000 adults, they found that 80% said they experienced an increase in stress related to their jobs on Sunday nights. Wallstreet Journal even went as far as calling Sunday night the new Monday morning.

Why is this a problem? Burnout. You and your employees are experiencing stress without stepping foot in the office which is driving a decrease in productivity and wasting the valuable time needed to recharge. Here are 5 tips to combat the Sunday Scaries.

  1. Create a blackout policy for responding to emails. As a leader, you set the tone for how your team responds to emails when outside of work. If you want to reduce their burnout, stop sending them emails over the weekend or set an expectation that they are not to check their emails until they are back in the office. Without the expectation, employees will assume that they are supposed to respond to your email, regardless of whether they are working or not. Smartphones make it challenging to disconnect so you need to set the precedent.
  2. Use an email diverting tool. If you want to send emails over the weekend consider adopting an email diverting tool that delays the emails from sending until working hours. This allows you to still send emails while avoiding the disruption for your employees.
  3. Set personal boundaries. Choose if and when you are going to respond to emails outside of work. The recommendation being that you do not check emails at all so you can give yourself proper time to unwind but if you must, designate certain times that you will be available, for example, 8-9:00 am on a Saturday. This ensures you are not working around the clock and you are giving yourself permission to take time off and disconnect.
  4. Create a Sunday self-care routine. Take back your Sunday’s! Plan activities or choose a project that will take up your time on Sunday to distract you from the impending work week. Keep yourself busy so you are not available to check emails and get in the work mindset.
  5. Identify the cause. If you are experiencing the Sunday Scaries, try to identify the cause. Is it a specific project or is it your overall workload. Understand what it is that’s causing the anxiety so you can address it. For example, if it’s your workload, work with your boss and team to delegate responsibilities to give yourself a more manageable workload. Use the Sunday Scaries as an opportunity to identify and resolve what has been stressing you out at work.

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