(NEW YORK) — It’s 5:00 on Sunday night and a familiar feeling of dread starts to set in, as the weekend slips away.
Sunday scaries, Sunday night blues and Sunday depression are all terms used to describe the anticipatory anxiety for the week ahead.
It’s a phenomenon that has become commonplace, experienced by 81% of Americans, according to a survey by The Sleep Judge, a mattress review website.
It’s also become an extremely popular hashtag, with more than 160,000 #sundayscaries posts on Instagram.
The good news for those suffering from Sunday night anxiety is that there are ways to ease the dread in order to both enjoy Sunday and start the week off well.
Here are three tips to try from Michelle Bombacie, L.Ac., Healthy Monday Adviser and program coordinator for the Integrative Therapies Program/Center for Comprehensive Wellness at Columbia University Medical Center:
1. Get off your technology
Bombacie recommends staying away from your cellphone, emails and computer throughout the weekend, or at least set limits.
“Try to resist the urge or maybe set a time commitment,” she said. “Commit to powering down by 5 p.m. so that you allow relaxation time on Sunday.”
“If we don’t give ourselves that opportunity to relax and reboot we’re not going to be as functioning on Monday we can,” she added.
It can also be helpful to set a routine to improve sleep habits as you enter the workweek, according to Bombacie, who suggests using blackout curtains or eye masks and ear plugs, setting the blue light filter on your smartphone, putting your smartphone out of sight and turning the TV off about one hour before bed.
2. Practice a deep-breathing exercise
A simple breathing exercise recommended by Bombacie starts with placing one hand over your chest and the other over your lower belly.
Then, breathe in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Focus on your breath while breathing in for four counts and exhaling for four counts.
“You can do this laying down in bed, or when you wake up in the morning instead of reaching right for the cellphone take a few minutes to just start with breathing because it will help you ground,” she said.
3. Get a new perspective
Bombacie recommends thinking of every Monday as a chance to start over, as if you have “52 mini-resolutions,” a new chance each week of the year.
“We have to change our perspective on Monday,” she said. “Instead of looking at it as a day to dread, we look at it as an opportunity to restart and refresh.”
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