Does Sunday fill you with dread? The Sunday “scaries”—that sense of anxiety and restlessness that set in before yet another workweek—are a very real phenomenon. In fact, they affect 76 percent of Americans. As such, the “Scaries” even have their very own podcast and line of CBD products.
Experts routinely weigh in about ways to beat them: things like “keep a gratitude journal” or “try yoga.” OK, fine in theory, but on Sundays I’m busy. My kids need groceries and clean sweatpants. We need meals for the week (in theory, I’d simmer everything lovingly in a crock pot and seal the gourmet delights in color-coordinated Tupperware, but it never quite happens that way). Yes, on most Sundays I’m doing battle on the mean streets of Market Basket, not penning in my gratitude diary. Sports, religious services, classes, play dates (I might as well rent a cot at Jump On In)—if you’re a parent, your weekends are jammed. My Saturdays are packed with basketball and birthday parties. As such, Sundays are stressful. I see Instagram photos of people hoisting Bloody Marys at brunch (hashtag: #SundayFunday) and think: How are you not freaking out right now? Don’t you know what fresh hell awaits after you polish off that avocado toast?
So I’ve devised a solution. A real solution for a working mother of two young children, which doesn’t involve CBD oils or sobbing.
Wake up really early on Saturday and go grocery shopping. I wake up on Saturday morning as though it’s a workday. By 8 a.m., I’m in the “novelty sodas” aisle of Market Basket. I’m out by 9:30 a.m., and I always pick up one of their cheap-o flower bouquets on my way out the door to put in our living room, just to make the place feel more soothing.
Guard my Sunday nights ruthlessly. I say “no” to almost all Sunday afternoon plans, unless it’s a special event or someone is leaving on a year-long trip to Nepal. Sunday afternoons are sacred. I go dark. I do my laundry, strip my bed and, yes, take a nap. If social interaction energizes you, by all means, chug that Bloody Mary and do a headstand at your favorite boutique yoga studio. But for me, knowing I have several uninterrupted hours of alone time is essential.
Festoon my sleeping space. This is deeply dorky, but whatever: I decorate my bedroom like a spa for Sunday night. I pull back my bed, put my L.L. Bean furry slippers in front of the nightstand, light some incense and place a trashy book on my pillow with my favorite pair of PJs (folded Marie Kondo-style, of course). Usually, going to bed on a Sunday night means I’m one step closer to Monday’s slog. This softens the blow and makes me feel like I’m entering a sanctuary, a cocoon that will protect me until morning. (I’m getting stressed out just typing this.)
Weed out drawers. Every Sunday afternoon, I also seize the opportunity to trash something in my kids’ rooms: holey socks, skimpy underwear, ripped sweatpants, odd plastic souvenirs and headless action figures that seem to mate and multiply in the night. It makes me feel productive, but it’s mindless enough that it allows me to catch up on guilty-pleasure podcasts, such as You Must Remember This, about Old Hollywood scandals. Karina Longworth’s voice is better than Tylenol PM.
Clear my Monday morning schedule until 11 a.m. Whenever possible, I schedule any calls or meetings (see again: human interaction) to happen after 11. This way, I know I can start the workweek without being immediately “on.” Instead, I can tend to housekeeping stuff: replying to emails and doing actual work, instead of negotiating with the world.
Make my coffee. Yes, I make my Monday morning coffee on Sunday evening, and then I stick it in the fridge so I have “iced coffee” first thing. (I think iced coffee is a much faster caffeine delivery mechanism. You can chug it more easily.)
These are just a few of my silly little rituals that make Mondays less grim. What do you do?