How to Avoid the Sunday Scaries

sunday scaries

Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach on a Sunday night? Maybe you’re dreading that presentation you have to give the next morning. Maybe the thought of tackling your email inbox feels overwhelming. Or perhaps you don’t want to face your boss and their never-ending list of demands.

Whatever the case, if you’ve ever dreaded going to work on a Monday morning, you’ve officially experienced the Sunday Scaries. This is a common phenomenon: A 2018 LinkedIn study showed that 80% of professionals experience the Sunday Scaries. But knowing it’s a common problem doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

Here we’re breaking down what the Sunday Scaries are, why they happen, and what you can do to move past them and stroll into the workweek with a smile. Here’s what you need to know.

What are the Sunday Scaries?

The Sunday Scaries can be defined as any feeling of dread or anxiety about starting a new workweek. For most people, they set in on Sunday afternoon or evening — right around the time when you’re realizing that the weekend is over and it’s almost time to go back to work. It’s easy to feel melancholy or nervous when staring down a new workweek after a fun weekend. 

Sometimes, you might feel the Sunday Scaries on a bigger level — like after coming home from a weeklong vacation, or enjoying a holiday break. The longer you’re away from the office, the more difficult it sometimes can be to step back in.

It’s also important to note that the Sunday Scaries can range in severity. The occasional feeling of disappointment that your fun weekend is over isn’t cause for concern. But if you’re dealing with panic attacks or intense feelings of depression (studies show that Sunday is the top day of the week for panic attacks), this may be a signal that you need to speak with a therapist and/or find another job.

Why do the Sunday Scaries happen?

The Sunday Scaries are unique to every employee. What’s more, there might be more than one factor that’s causing them for you. Here are a few common reasons behind the Sunday Scaries.


Burnout occurs as a result of chronic work-related stress. Signs of workplace burnout include exhaustion, atypical or unusual levels of procrastination, cynicism, and lack of confidence. Burnout can also occur if you’re stuck in a job that doesn’t fit your skillset and passion.


Another common cause of the Sunday Scaries is being overcommitted. If you have too much work on your plate, this can amplify your stress when it’s time to tackle the slush pile of tasks again.

Relational difficulties

If your boss and coworkers are difficult to be around, this can impact whether or not you enjoy going to work. These difficulties might include:

  • Drama
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor communication
  • Unclear or unrealistic expectations

How to avoid the Sunday Scaries

Burnout, overcommitment, or problems with your boss and coworkers. Do any of those situations sound familiar? Whatever is causing your Sunday Scaries, there are several steps you can take to avoid these feelings and enjoy both your weekend and the workweek. 

Figure out what’s triggering you

While it’s true the majority of us probably feel some kind of Sunday Scaries at one point or another, we aren’t all worrying about the same thing. Some people might be dreading walking back into a job they hate. Others could love their job, but feel stressed about completing all of the work on their plate.

Whatever the case, if you can hone in on what’s causing your feelings of anxiety or stress, you’ll be able to take steps to alleviate that trigger. Maybe you feel nervous about facing a certain coworker. Can you brainstorm ways to improve that relationship? Or if you’re stressed about the amount of work you have to do, see if there are any tasks you could outsource or delegate. Identifying your fears will enable you to move past them more easily. 

Take care of yourself

Practical tips like getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, and eating a balanced diet might sound boring, but they can make a big difference with the Sunday Scaries: Studies suggest that when you feel your best physically, your mental health will improve, too.

Self-care is another way to battle those Sunday Scaries feelings. Practices like meditation or journaling can give your mental health a boost. They also help reorient your mind, giving you something else to focus on besides work. 

Focus on Friday prep

Don’t walk out of the office on Friday leaving a dozen unfinished tasks behind you. They’ll weigh on your mind all weekend long. Before you go home on Friday, do your best to tie up all loose ends from the week. Then take a look at what’s on the docket for the following week and jot down a quick to-do list that lays out your Monday tasks in order of priority. 

With this information out of your head and down on paper, you can enjoy the weekend and slide right back into the groove come Monday morning.  

Enjoy your weekend 

Plan your weekend according to what’s best for you. Some people might thrive best on Monday after having a relaxing weekend — one where sweatpants, Netflix, and TV dinners take center stage. 

Others might choose to combat the Sunday Scaries by planning a fun day out. Brunch with friends or an evening of live music on Sunday could take your mind off any office stress. 

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to weekend plans. It just depends on your personality and what will help you fully unplug and forget about work for a couple of days. 

Treat yourself during the week

The workweek doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Give yourself something to look forward to. This could be something small, like treating yourself to your favorite restaurant one day on your lunch break. Or you could go on a walk in the park with friends one evening. 

Incorporating a few simple things you enjoy on weekdays will help you feel more excited as you’re getting ready for a new week.

Is it time to find a new job?

If you’ve done everything you can but your Sunday Scaries aren’t getting better, this could be a sign that you need a new job — and we’d love to help. Here at Murray Resources, we have over 30 years of experience recruiting for a wide range of roles at top employers across the country. Let us help you find a job where you look forward to going to work every Monday morning! Contact us today or search our open jobs now.