How to Make the Most of Your Sundays

August 26, 2019
Girl sitting with coffee and a book

It’s the last few hours of the weekend. Sunday is here, and that familiar sense of dread begins to fester as you anticipate the deadlines, projects, and obligations for the week ahead. This common feeling of anxiety is known as “Sunday Scaries.” Recent data from Monster shows that 76 percent of people in the U.S. experience an intense case of the Sunday night blues, compared to just 47 percent in other areas of the world.

While the Sunday Scaries are common among working professionals, data also indicates that Millennials and Generation Z feel this anxiety, as well. A reported 91 percent of Millennials and 94 percent of Gen Z combat the Sunday Scaries on a recurring basis, according to research from LinkedIn. This means that college students are not immune to the effects of this issue either. The looming prospect of classes, exams, research, or presentations can lead to serious worry and tension on a Sunday night—if you allow it, that is.

Instead of stressing, tackle your Sunday head-on and fill your time with activities to equip yourself for success and balance in the upcoming week. Try out the below practices to counteract the Sunday Scaries with productivity, wellness, and self-care. 

Detox from Social Media

If you’re like millions of other college students—and Americans in general—smartphone use is a habitual, automatic part of your life. But despite the convenience and entertainment of the newsfeed scroll, studies confirm that excess screen time can lead to adverse effects on your mental health. 

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania asked 143 students to limit their daily Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram exposure to just 10 minutes. This chance to unplug from social media resulted in decreased loneliness, anxiety, and depression among participants. Make an effort to detox from technology for at least a few hours on Sunday night. This could minimize stress and over-stimulation to help you feel more at ease.     

Prep Your Meals for the Week

Sure, it requires less effort and preparation to grab a slice of pizza or burrito as you walk home from classes. We get it; it’s almost too easy as a college student to live on caffeine, refined sugar, and processed carbs. However, if you carve out time on Sunday afternoon to prep meals for the week, this ensures that you eat a healthier, more balanced diet which helps manage anxiety. Studies have found a correlation between poor eating habits and mood disorder symptoms, as noted in the International Journal of Endocrinology

Instead of munching on whatever snacks are on-hand, Harvard Health recommends that you prep meals rich in these nutrients which contain anxiety-reducing properties:

  • Zinc: whole grains, nuts, kale, broccoli, legumes 
  • Magnesium and Vitamin B: asparagus, fish, avocado, leafy greens
  • Probiotics: yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables

Finish School Work in Advance

We all know there are countless activities you’d rather do over the weekend than studying for an exam, tackling a project, or writing an essay. However, if you wait until Sunday to complete your assignments, this causes unnecessary pressure to accumulate. The more you procrastinate until the last minute, the more anxious you’ll be, scrambling to meet a deadline at the eleventh hour. 

Anxiety is also linked to reduced productivity—72 percent of people indicate that stress hinders their daily performance, based on recent data. So beyond stressing yourself out, when you wait until the last minute, you also produce lower quality work. Instead of allowing procrastination to derail your mood, practice smart time management and finish your schoolwork in advance, so you have Sunday to unwind!

Practice Your Favorite Self-Care Ritual 

One of the quickest and most effective ways to fend off the Sunday Scaries is to be intentional about your self-care. Whether it’s taking a bath, listening to chill music, or climbing in bed with a good book, a sensory evening ritual helps your mind and body decompress, which will energize and refresh you for Monday. 

Self-care is often dismissed as just a trendy buzzword, but don’t overlook the importance of relaxation to nourish your mental health and inspire a calm, recharged attitude for the week ahead. Kathleen Hall, CEO of the Stress Institute and Mindful Living Network, advises the S.E.L.F. Care Sunday plan to close out the weekend with positivity:   

  • Serenity: Practice a form of meditation to encourage restorative sleep.
  • Exercise: Do a yoga flow or walk around EPOCH Beach to stimulate relaxing hormones.  
  • Love: Focus on gratitude for the relationships and connections in your life.
  • Food: As mentioned above, eat a dinner that is nutrient-dense and avoid foods known to cause anxious feelings.

Banish the Sunday Scaries! 

College is a fun and exciting but also stressful time. Anxiety has a way of sneaking up on us, you might not even realize until you feel weirdly overwhelmed on a Sunday evening. Try the above practices to make the most of your weekend. Remember, a balanced Sunday will help you sustain the hectic pace of college life without needless bouts of anxiety, threatening to slow you down. 
If you want to take it to the next level and set some goals for your Sundays, check out our blog post: 8 Goals You Can Set for This Semester.