As the clock ticks ever closer to Sunday evening, you might recognize a sinking feeling in your heart. “Ugh, another day at that dreaded place!” is what your mind tells you, as you reluctantly get yourself ready for the new week at work.
This feeling is something we call the “Sunday scaries” (it’s like the scary cousin of “a case of the Mondays”)
Whether it’s a powerful feeling that overcomes you on a weekly basis, or just a hint of fear that creeps up on you as realize your Sunday off is passing you by, getting the “Sunday scaries” is that feeling of dread before going back to work on Monday morning.
The good news is that you don’t have to feel that way. Take action to banish the Sunday scaries and get back to enjoying your weekend so that you feel rejuvenated as the new week begins.
What causes the ‘Sunday scaries?’
Everyone dreads Monday morning from time to time. But if you find yourself sinking into the Sunday blues week after week, something else is to blame. The Sunday scaries are a sign that you’re not satisfied with the status quo. Perhaps you feel unfulfilled by your current job duties, you’re overworked or underpaid, you got transferred to a new division and don’t like your new coworkers, or you feel unsupported by your company. Or maybe you’re just flat out bored.
Everyone’s Sunday blues happen for a different reason, so the first step is to figure out what’s trigging yours. Think about your ideal work position. What is the disconnect between your current job and that ideal, fantasy position? Imagine your boss came in tomorrow and said, “I want you to do _____.” How would you fill in that blank to feel more energized and excited about work?
5 ways to banish the ‘Sunday Scaries’
1. Re-evaluate your job duties
When you’re feeling stagnant at work, it’s a great time to talk to your supervisor about your role. A good manager is invested in your career growth and wants you to feel fulfilled. In many cases, taking on a more diverse set of duties can occur if you simply ask. Think about ways that you think your skills are going unused. Then, present your supervisor with an action plan. For example, “I think my communication skills are my major strength, but I don’t always feel like I’m using them to the team’s greatest advantage. I would love to create a monthly e-newsletter to send to clients.”
2. Take advantage of growth opportunities
It’s in your organization’s best interest to retain you, so many workplaces offer a variety of employee enrichment activities. Check out your company’s offerings. Management classes, mentorship programs, educational workshops, or even graduate school tuition remission may be available to you. If these programs aren’t currently offered by your organization, ask! This shows that you are excited about growing and developing your skills. The worst they can do is say no.
3. Look for opportunities to lead
If you’re invested in your current organization but feel like you just can’t move up to the next level, look for opportunities to show management what you’ve got. Rather than following your job duties to the letter, go above and beyond. Speak up with ideas at team meetings, offer to take the lead on an upcoming project, or ask to be trained on a new process. This shows that you’re invested in learning and leading, qualities that upper management will look for when making promotion decisions.
4. Burnt out? Time to schedule that vacation
Burnout doesn’t do you or your organization any good. If you’re feeling overworked and dreading going to the office on Monday, you won’t be an effective employee. It might feel like you have way too much work to get away, but schedule your vacation anyway. Even if it’s just a long weekend, you will return feeling rejuvenated and ready (even excited!) to jump back into your job.
5. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s your workplace
If you’ve tried to make changes at work but still feel that familiar Sunday dread, it might be time for a larger change. Initiating a job change isn’t something you should do lightly, so take your time to do your research. Think about the qualities that you’re looking for in a new workplace. Potential for advancement, using a certain skill set, developing new skills, salary, work-life balance, educational or enrichment opportunities, location, and company culture are all important considerations.
Once you’ve made a wish list for your new job, start exploring opportunities in your desired area. Check out honest reviews about company culture to figure out what business place might be right for you. Sometimes the fit of the workplace is more important than the nitty gritty details of the job you do. Figuring out the right balance of job qualities and office culture is crucial to get back to loving your Sundays again.
Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent. When she’s not creating content about the modern workplace, company culture, and life & work hacks, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.