5 Ways to Beat the Sunday-Night Blues


Heather Foley explains how to stop worrying about Monday and make the most of your weekend.

1. Remember why you work

It’s very easy to think of work as all-important. However, for almost all of us, work is a means to an end. By focusing on the reasons we work, rather than on the work itself, we’ll find the job easier and more pleasant.

These reasons are different for all of us, but they’re always incredibly powerful. Are you working to be able to afford to live independently, away from your parents? Are you working to support a family?

There’s always a reason for working. Focusing on the reason for your efforts will mean that the prospect of working may hold less dread.

2. Set objectives

Work can feel like a never-ending slog, with one interminable working week leading into another. It’s enough to make anyone feel distinctly down.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It’s a bit like training to run a marathon. You may look ahead to the day itself and see only hours and hours of soul-destroying pavement pounding.

In reality, what people do is to create a plan with objectives. By the end of week one, they want to be able to run 5 miles. By the end of week five, they want to be able to run 10 miles, and so on until the big day.

Try to do something similar with your work. Weekly objectives give meaning and focus to each individual week and make your working life feel like it’s made up of manageable chunks.

It stops work feeling like a constant, unending stream of pointless effort.

3. Focus on what’s good

Of course there will be parts of your job that you don’t enjoy. That’s true of all elements of life.

Happily, we’re programmed to make choices that should lead to more joy than distress. So, if you focus on what you enjoy about the job (such as new challenges, a feeling of excitement in learning something new, or meeting new people), you’ll feel more positive about starting the week.

4. Relax

An entirely preventable cause of the Sunday-night blues is that you are not fully rested.

It’s very easy to set tasks and chores for the weekend and then cram every moment of those two precious days. It’s no wonder then that come Sunday evening you still feel shattered and are desperate for a rest. The very last thing you want is to work!

To remedy this, try two things:

  • Identify and ring-fence some time every weekend purely for rest and relaxation. Whether that’s playing sport, going to the cinema or having a meal with friends, make sure that time is protected.
  • Ease up the weekend by tackling some of the chores in the week, even if it’s only half an hour every evening.

When you’ve had a properly relaxing weekend, you’ll feel more ready and excited about the challenges at work on Monday morning.

5. Time for a change?

If you’ve tried all of the above, and you still feel awful on Sunday evenings, then it may be time to change job. Clearly what you’re doing is not, on balance, right for you.
That’s fine. Think about what you really enjoy and go for a new job where you’ll do more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t.

Heather Foley

Heather Foley

Nobody should live with the Sunday-night blues. They make the week seem even longer and your precious time at the weekend much shorter.

Try to tackle the problem head-on, with a more positive attitude, some planned relaxation time, or even a career change. But whatever you do, do something.

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a bespoke provider of HR technology and consultancy.

Published On: 18th Jun 2014 - Last modified: 6th Jul 2018
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