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Sunday scaries? This is the exact time workweek anxiety strikes

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Jessica Rapana
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A new study has found that most people start to feel anxious about the working week ahead from just before 4pm on Sunday.

If you dread going to work on Monday, you’re probably familiar with the “Sunday Scaries”: the anxiety that starts to creep in on a Sunday at the thought of returning to work the next day.

According to new research, the phenomenon is surprisingly common. A survey of more than 2,000 Americans found that 88% of people admitted to regularly feeling anxiety on Sunday.

The research, commissioned by Charisma, found that people were likely to begin dreading the week ahead at around 3.58pm on Sunday.

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Researchers found most people struggled to put work out of their mind on Saturday and Sunday, with the average person doing around three hours work over the weekend, such as checking emails (45%), looking over presentations (38%) and making a phone call (31%). On top of that, study participants also thought about work around six times each weekend.

When asked how they coped with workweek anxiety, nearly half said they made sure they got about four hours of “me time” over the weekend, which was most commonly spent bingeing their favourite show, reading a book or unwinding in a bath. 

Others used the end of the day on Friday or some time over the weekend to prepare for the week ahead or unplugged completely over the weekend.

Sunday night anxiety
Sunday night anxiety: 88% of people experience it regularly.

According to New York psychologist Heather Silvestri, scheduling in some good old fashion self-care during the week can help to ease the Sunday blues – whether it’s a happy hour with a girlfriend or a morning yoga class – as it gives us something to look forward to. “Peppering your weekdays wherever you can with more ease and enjoyment is a great antidote for dreading them,” she tells The Thirty.

Silvestri also recommends jotting down a list of tasks on Friday to help you feel more in control come Sunday. Alternatively, she advises treating the Sunday Scaries similarly to how you would other anxiety and practising meditating, moderate exercise, yoga and journaling.

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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