Sunday 3pm. and it feels like a dark fog is descending over you. Your shoulders are tensing up, and you find yourself beginning to fret about your workload, your shaky relationship with your boss, and the presentation you have to do on Wednesday.
You are suffering from standard Sunday night blues. Everything seems to have gone quiet. You feel slight nausea, have a general feeling of being down-in-the dumps and your rising anxiety levels all contribute to this state of mind. You are quite certain that you will not sleep well that night.
“You should remember that your whole lifestyle has changed during the weekend, says Cape Town psychologist, Ilse Terblanche. “You are focused on other things, like family, entertainment, friends, your home and it is quite a wrench getting back into the swing of things at work.”
“The weekend also gives you a bit of space and distance from work, and very often the problems you have there, become clearer in your mind. You also question whether you actually enjoy your job – a luxury you usually don’t have time for during the week.”
So what can you do to combat these Sunday night feelings of depression?
Get listed. Fall into a habit of jotting down things you have to do. Sometimes when you have written them down in your diary, they stop going through your mind like a commercial jingle.
Get social. Invite friends over for a braai, or go and see someone whose company you enjoy. It will take your mind off your problems at work.
Get moving. Exercise increases your serotonin levels, so a long walk or a session at the gym could do wonders for your general state of mind.
Get watching. A movie or a video can take your mind off things. Get something cheerful or funny. The Killing Fields will make you feel worse, not better.
Get help. If you feel your feelings of anxiety are out of control, or starting to affect your life, see your GP or therapist. There might be some underlying problem triggering these feelings.
Get away. Going away for a weekend can be wonderful. Stretch it out as long as possible, so that you return at 10 pm. on Sunday night and fall into bed exhausted. There will be no time to worry about the next day.
Get clever. Organise something interesting or exciting for Monday evening, to which you can look forward. This sort of piggybacks you over the Sunday night.
Get reading. A fascinating or amusing book can divert your attention from your feelings of anxiety or tension.
Get away from the phone. Phoning a colleague and having a long moaning session will make things worse, not better. Only speak to someone who will refocus your attention on something else, or be a positive influence. Don’t phone anyone who may upset you.
Get organised. If your general sense of dread is compounded by the fact that things are a bit disorganised at work or home, do something about it. Oddly enough, organising your winterclothes or your desk surface or your diary can go a long way towards making you feel better on a Sunday night.
Get a new job. OK, so yours are not the standard Sunday night blues. There really is something wrong at work, something which you cannot fix. If you are convinced that you would be happier elsewhere, maybe it is time to start putting out your feelers. It is always easier to find another job while you are still employed.
Things never to do on a Sunday night.
Phoning an old partner/lover/spouse.
Trying to sort out a family dispute.
Drawing up your monthly budget or checking your finances.
Watching a weepy movie on TV.
Reading old love letters.
Going through family albums, especially if they contain pictures of friends and relatives who have died.
Trying to work on your relationship. This is not a good time.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, April 2012)