Dread Sunday nights? Here’s how to beat the blues

Sunday night: it’s the wet blanket of the weekend — and if you’ve ever felt your TGIFs morph into OMGs as Sunday comes to a close, you’re not alone. According to a 2015 poll by Monster.com, 76% of Americans report “really bad” Sunday night blues.

    One reason Sundays seem to end on such a low note: we might be unconsciously stuck in the emotions of childhood. “Many children experience a sort of separation anxiety when it comes to leaving their parents and home and getting back to school on Monday,” explains Gail Saltz MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell School of Medicine and Health’s contributing psychology editor. “That Sunday-night anxiety can become the mind’s habit, even if you’re years or decades out of school.”
    Rego adds that it’s helpful to approach the situation with compassion. “Think about what you would say to a friend if they told you they skipped the gym or didn’t take the kids to the zoo — you probably wouldn’t be so critical and would tell them that it’s no big deal. You deserve to speak to yourself the same way.”
    THOUGHT: Everyone’s weekend was better than mine.
    WHAT IT IS: Comparison
    You were perfectly happy with your low-key weekend at home — until you spotted your friend’s amazing concert photos on Instagram. “Comparison is an instinctive way to gauge how we’re doing, but there’s rarely any benefit to it,” says Rego. “Often you just end up making yourself feel worse,” says Rego.
    To dismantle the cycle of compare-and-despair, skip the Sunday evening social media trolling — nothing good comes out of it. Then, if you’re going to compare yourself to others, do it objectively. “We generally only compare up, meaning we hardly even consider what the people who have less accessibility than us or are less fortunate than us are doing,” says Rego. “Do you ever think about how the homeless spend their weekend?” (Probably not.) As clich as it sounds, he suggests counting your blessings — you’ll quickly come to realize that you have much more in your life than your social media account lets on. If you’re truly disappointed with how your weekend went, make plans for the next one.
    THOUGHT: I’m so bummed that the weekend is over.
    WHAT IT IS: Sadness

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    It’s true: Monday morning spreadsheets are not nearly as fun as Sunday brunch, a backyard barbecue, or even binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix. Still, spending Sunday evening moping about that won’t do you any good. This sadness often washes over people when they’re hanging out at home and not doing much, says Dr. Saltz. “If you tend to be more of the sad type on Sundays, it’s actually good to add some activities to the end of your day that can give you a sense of accomplishment,” she says. Invite friends or family over for dinner, head to the gym, or pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read. By staying occupied, you’ll end the weekend feeling happier and more relaxed.

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