For many people, Sundays have a religious significance. Some people see Sundays as a day to re-connect with family. I have always seen Sunday as the day to “get things done” before the week starts.
Sunday morning I usually start slow, and then jam-pack the afternoon with trips to Costco, Home Goods, the pharmacy… sounds productive right? But a weird thing happens. As I check items off my to-do list, the list doesn’t get any smaller. Instead, the later it gets on Sunday, the more things I think of that need to be done, and the longer the list gets. I start to feel overwhelmed, thinking, I’ll never get all of this done.
That feeling of being overwhelmed with things to do, combined with the anticipation of returning to work on Monday morning, is a term my partner and I coined “Sunday Stress.”
Believe it or not, just recognizing and naming that pattern of anxiety made a huge difference. Referring to “Sunday Stress” gave me some emotional distance from the anxiety, and gave me a more lighthearted attitude about it. It wasn’t a big deal, just Sunday Stress.
In addition to becoming aware of Sunday Stress, I’ve done a couple other things to reduce it. I try to spend at least a few hours on Sunday lazing around, and not feeling guilty about it.
But more importantly, I approach the to-do list differently. It doesn’t all have to get done tonight, or even this week. In fact, it really will never be completely done, because I can always find things to add to it. I have to accept the fact that there will always be a to-do list.
What have you noticed about your own stress? What would you name your stress? Comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.