There’s something more frightening than Halloween! The Sunday Scaries affect everyone from kids to adults. Each Sunday that feeling of dread and anxiety about the upcoming week can take over and make it hard to function. That terrible feeling consumes you. The Sunday Scaries may show up in the form of a stomach ache, headache, sadness, trouble sleeping, etc. They are common amongst children and adults.
When I was in elementary and middle school I remember waking up telling my dad I have a stomach ache. I would beg not to go to school. He would take time off work and take me to the doctor. The doctor would find nothing wrong with me. My father was so frustrated and rightfully so. This happened multiple times in my childhood and it wasn’t until many years later that I understood why and how to deal with it.
In school I was bullied. I had a hard time focusing and made poor grades. Things outside of school were hard too. My stomach aches were anxiety. No one ever taught me how to handle stress. When you’re young it feels like you are expected to go to school and do your work no matter what. It’s hard to focus if you are filled with fear and sadness. When you have a week filled with these negative emotions the thought on Sunday of having to go through it again is dreadful.
Similarly, when I worked as a teacher I would suffer from the Sunday Scaries too. I would have nightmares, constant nightmares. Anxiety would consume me on the way to work with a racing heart. I would self harm by biting the skin on the side of my fingers. I had no coping strategies.
The Sunday Scaries can turn into Monstrous Mondays, Terrifying Tuesdays, and so on. So how do we cope? What can you do to combat these feelings that hold you back from having a great week?
10 Ways Teachers, Students, and Parents Can Combat the Sunday Scaries
- Breathe. You do this naturally every day, but are you aware of how your breath changes? We are not always mindful of how our breath changes pace in various situations. Practice breathing in and out by touching your thumb to each of your fingers. Inhale and exhale touching your thumb to your index finger. Do it again moving your thumb to each finger. You can do this anywhere, anytime.
- Reflect on successes from the previous weeks. Ask yourself, What am I proud of last week? What did I do well? For example, I woke up on time, I helped a fellow student or teacher, I exercised, etc. Think about journaling your successes. It’s fun to look back on them at the end of the year.
- Plan the week ahead- what can you look forward to? Use a planner that works for you. It doesn’t need to be fancy. It could be done a single piece of paper or in a notebook.
- Create a Sunday routine. Think about indulging your senses. Get outside. Relax at a coffee shop. Light a scented candle while you plan for the week. Try a new recipe. Write down your routine and post it where you can see it.
- Treat yourself on Monday morning. Perhaps you get yourself a gourmet coffee or breakfast sandwich to start the day. Maybe you pack yourself a piece of chocolate for lunch. Treat yo self!
- Visualize the day or week ahead. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Picture in your mind all you will do with your week, al you will accomplish, all the positive interactions you will have, and all the great feelings that will consume you. You can even draw a picture or write about it. There is no right or wrong.
- Get good sleep. If it’s hard for you to get to sleep consider creating a sleep routine. You might diffuse some lavender while listening to a guided meditation or listen to some relaxing music.
- Keep it movin! Exercise in any form is beneficial for your mental well-being. It will help you sleep better and feel better. Simply going for a 15 minute walk can help you.
- Dig deep. Think about why you are having these negative feelings. What is going on at school or work that’s making you feel this way? Sit with issue. Write about it in a journal.
- Ask for help. When the Sunday Scaries start to interfere with your work and personal life it’s time to ask for help. If you are feeling depressed or anxious don’t hesitate to reach out to someone for help. Talk through it together. Find support.
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr
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