The Sunday Scaries are feelings like anxiety, dread, or unease related to the week ahead. Transitioning from the more relaxed and fun weekend routine to the more structured and hectic weekday routine can be hard. Anxious feelings often begin on Sunday morning and increase as evening approaches.
Sunday Scaries manifest in many ways: stomachaches, headaches, trembling, agitation, even heart palpitations. The Sunday Scaries affect adults and kids, and when they occur routinely, they really put a damper on the weekend. The good news? There are many things adults and kids can do to slay the Sunday Scaries and keep them away for good.
1. Use words. Words are infused with a lot of energy and your brain works hard to make them come true. Begin at bedtime on Saturday night. Set an intention for having a peaceful, positive Sunday. Then repeat that intention upon waking Sunday morning. When you think about the week ahead, use positive self-talk and change the story you tell yourself. Instead of, “My boss is too demanding” think “My boss makes sure our team performs well.” For kids, instead of “School is too hard” think “I can easily learn new things.”
2. Use mantras. Like #1 above, you can use words to create a Sunday mantra you repeat throughout the weekend. For adults this might be something like, “Whatever my week brings, I’ve got this!” For kids it might be, “Everything is okay” or “I am okay wherever I am.”
Here’s a tip: Put a few drops of vanilla or lavender on your childs stuffed animal or pillowcase. Repeating the mantra, before bed, while inhaling a soothing scent is extra calming. Research shows that certain scents are proven to reduce stress and anxiety. These fragrances, like vanilla, lavender, peppermint, and citrus stimulate your olfactory senses, which are quite powerful in sending calming messages to the brain. Combining mantras and scents is a wonderful way to banish the Sunday Scaries.
3. Use visualization. Create a mind movie of a positive week ahead. For adults, this might mean seeing yourself performing well in a sales call or Zoom meeting. For little ones this might mean visualizing feeling happy on the school bus or feeling confident when called on in class. Use as many senses as possible in your visualization. Imagine what you are wearing, what you see, smell, hear, touch, and even taste. Research shows the more sensory your visualization is, the more power it has to manifest in your life.
4. Use a notepad or a visual calendar (for kids). Sometimes Sunday is super scary because the week ahead feels out of control. Making a list of important tasks for the week gets them out of your mind, where they can spiral, and onto paper where they seem more manageable and easy to check-off. For kids, a visual calendar often helps them see what to expect and also shows them when they have fun things to look forward to. Make sure to schedule some time for meditation and movement too. Kids can also write or draw worries and put them in a special worry box. This gets the worry out of their mind and into a container where the worries are held for safe-keeping.
5. Use movement. Exercise always boosts endorphins, those feel-good chemicals in your brain. Get some fun, playful movement into your Sunday routine. Jump on a trampoline, dance to your favorite music, hula hoop, play frisbee in the park, or walk your dog. Make Sunday exercise fun and unstructured. Remember when you play more, you stress stress less.
6. Use meditation and mindfulness to create calm spaces in your day. This might mean mindfully cooking a favorite meal, doing a walking meditation, or listening to a soothing playlist as you color. These moments can be part of your regular Sunday routine, just done with more mindfulness and meditation.
7. Use self-care. Make Sunday self-care a practice and a priority, for you and your little ones. Whatever that means for you, create space for it on Sunday, so instead of dreading the day, you look forward to it. This might be eating a favorite meal together. It might be snuggling up and reading a book together, or maybe even having a spa day. You can also plan ahead and do something special mid-week, or throughout the week, to bring joy and gentleness into more moments. Every day may not be the weekend, but we can make an effort to mindfully treat each day as a gift.
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