Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Night Blahs

Do you ever get the "Sunday Night Blahs?" I bet most of you do, at least some of the time. You know what I mean: the growing feeling of disappointment that the weekend is ending, and anxiety, or even dread, about the week ahead.

While the degree to which we have these feeling probably has something to do with how stressful our jobs are, and/or how enjoyable our time at home is, the biggest determinant of whether we get the Blahs is....our thinking. Yes, as in so many cases, it seems to come back to the good old Cognitive Model, where feelings are caused by thoughts.

When it comes to the Sunday Night Blahs, problematic thoughts fall into two categories: looking backward, and looking forward. Looking backward involves thinking about how great the weekend was...and how it's over. Or, perhaps that the weekend went by too quickly, and we didn't get as much done as we hoped or needed to, we wasted our limited time off, the weather was cruddy...and so on. Looking forward involves thinking about everything we have to do in the coming week (invariably overwhelming when you consider all five days' worth of work at once). We play out our expectations for what will happen in our imaginations, often focusing on whatever task or challenge we expect to be hardest or most unpleasant.

Both looking backward, and looking forward lend themselves to a host cognitive distortions: jumping to conclusions, mental filter, magnifying/minimizing, labeling, "shoulds," Therefore, one way out of the Blahs is to reframe our thinking - catch ourselves falling into distorted thought patterns, and replacing them with a more balanced perspective. It may take several repetitions for the balanced thoughts to feel believable, and longer still for the distortions to cease, but over time it should help.

An alternative, perhaps quicker, solution to these thought patterns is mindfulness: cultivating awareness of the present moment. By doing our best to stay present in Sunday night, rather than rushing into the week, or clinging to the part of the weekend that's already passed, we can actually enjoy the precious time we do have, without creating suffering for ourselves with our thoughts. As the saying goes, be here now. Use your five senses to cultivate mindfulness - be aware of the smells, tastes, sounds, textures, and sights that are happening right now. Notice the moment.

How do you fight the Sunday Night Blahs?

1 comment:

  1. I just found this while googling "Sunday night blahs". I'm a long time sufferer. I feel your pain.