How to Get Rid of the Sunday Scaries and Manage Weekend Anxiety


Weekends are (supposed to be) when you switch off and relax. Yet, so many people experience a looming dread that sets in on Sunday afternoon and seizes the rest of the weekend.

The “Sunday Scaries” is the term for the heavy sense of anxiety and dread many of us experience late on a Sunday. It can be triggered by ruminating over the night before, the sense of missing out, or worrying about the week ahead. To help manage your wandering weekend emotions, follow these tips on how to get rid of the Sunday Scaries.

1. Start by Identifying Your Anxious Thoughts Using a Journal App

The first step in beating the Sunday Scaries is to journal your thoughts and feelings to identify what makes you anxious. There are a few common causes of the Sunday Scaries, including:

  • A late Saturday night (a.k.a “hangxiety”).
  • Buyer’s remorse (if you spent a lot of money the previous day).
  • Feeling of dread for your work week ahead.
  • Feeling guilty about relaxing when there’s “so much to do” before Monday.

Of course, these are generalized causes of anxious thoughts associated with the Sunday Scaries and not an exhaustive list. To identify your own, try using a journaling app to pinpoint the cause of your late weekend unease.

ZenJournal is ideal for recording a stream of consciousness—a style of journaling where you write the first thoughts that come to mind, uninterrupted, without having to worry about organizing or editing your language into something readable or attractive. The key idea behind ZenJournal is expressing your true thoughts freely without interrupting the flow of your ideas, nor analyzing or criticizing what comes out. This way, you should be able to pinpoint the roots of your anxiety. Simply start typing in the app’s text box to get started.

The minimal style and quick-to-use interface of ZenJournal remove any obstacles to your journaling practice. Adopting the stream-of-consciousness journaling technique will enable you to identify what is causing your Sunday Scaries.

Download: ZenJournal for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

2. Brainstorm Strategies to Tackle Your Anxieties

Once you’ve identified the causes of your Sunday Scaries, brainstorming can help you identify ways you can tackle your anxiety. Anxiety rarely retreats on its own, so brainstorming solutions to your worries is a crucial step in overcoming the Sunday Scaries.

A popular option is the How, Now, Wow brainstorming technique—using an X and Y matrix to identify how original and innovative ideas are. However, if this feels too overwhelming, you can try jotting down your thoughts in a simple note-taking app. Alternatively, if you enjoy visual mind mapping, then try using Mindly.

Mindly is a no-frills and ready-to-use mind-mapping app. You can get started with just a few taps:

  1. Tap the plus (+) icon to start a new mind map.
  2. Give your map a title, like “Sunday Scaries“, and tap the tick icon to create your map.
  3. Tap one of the + icons around the edge of your title bubble to add your first anxious thought (e.g. ‘Monday morning meeting’).
  4. Tap next. In this new box, you can add your thoughts about your anxiety, and possible solutions.
  5. Tap the tick icon to add your entry to your mind map.
  6. Continue to build your mind map by tapping the plus (+) icons and adding your worries, thoughts, and potential solutions.

Brainstorming is a great way to manage your anxiety by focusing your thoughts and finding workable solutions to the problems you are experiencing.

Try to separate your worries into things you can and cannot control, things that can wait, and things you can tackle right now. By prioritizing your anxieties and working towards resolving them, you’re another step closer to reducing your Sunday Scaries.

Download: Mindly for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. Check Your Schedule for Overbooking

Use Google Calendar to manage your time and the Sunday Scaries

Do you struggle to say no to social invitations, events, or unnecessary tasks? The Sunday Scaries (and general anxiety) can be triggered by an overbooked schedule.

There’s so much pressure in modern society to be constantly busy—to be hustling, achieving more and more—alongside the fallacy that rest is for the wicked. (How many times have you heard “you can sleep when your dead” uttered?) The whole rhetoric is exhausting!

Having too much on your plate is overwhelming, and you deserve downtime. Rest never requires justifying, but if you need convincing that you’re allowed to put your feet up, hear this from Scientific American: downtime replenishes your brain’s attention and motivation stores, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential for optimum performance and creating memories.

The best way to make sure you’re not overbooking yourself and that you’re getting enough rest and downtime is to use a scheduling app. There are plenty of great calendar apps for time management, but one of the most straightforward and accessible options is Google Calendar.

Available on most operating systems, Google Calendar is straightforward to use on both mobile and desktop. To help prevent overbooking your time, set up appointments in Google Calendar for downtime. Identify the best time of day to take at least 15 minutes for yourself and block this out on your calendar (if you can, try to block off 30 minutes to an hour). Try scheduling other rest points throughout your days, including work breaks, time for winding down after work, or a morning routine slot.

By creating rest “appointments” with yourself, you’re more likely to allow yourself to rest, say no to inessential tasks and events, and tame the Sunday Scaries beast.

Download: Google Calendar for Android | iOS (Free).

4. Practice Self-Compassion and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If your Sunday Scaries comprise mentally beating yourself up for drinking too much on Saturday night, feeling guilty for not completing everything on your to-do list this weekend, or generally being mean to yourself for any small reason, you need to practice some self-compassion.

Being hard on yourself will only exacerbate your Sunday Scaries anxiety. Instead, give yourself a break. Remember that rest doesn’t need to be earned and taking downtime is actually crucial for your well-being. To start practicing self-compassion, try using a mindfulness app.

My Possible Self is a self-improvement tool that offers a number of interactive tools and features to help improve your mental health. The app hinges on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and is clinically certified by Priory Healthcare.

Use the following features on My Possible Self to help improve your self-compassion:

  • Take a lifestyle quiz. If you’re not sure where to start, this quiz can help you identify the areas of your life you should look after.
  • Follow a guided series. The app offers nine guided series, including overcoming anxiety and sleeping well.
  • Build your toolkit. From “thinking time” and mood tracking to reframing your thoughts and participating in enjoyable activities, building a self-compassion toolkit is ideal for when the Sunday Scaries hit.
  • Make small behavioral changes. My Possible Self offers the option to make small lifestyle improvements, such as reducing your alcohol intake or starting a yoga practice, for overall improved well-being.

My Possible Self is a great tool to pull together all of your efforts to combat the Sunday Scaries in a manageable way.

Download: My Possible Self for Android | iOS (Free)

You’re Not Alone in Experiencing the Sunday Scaries

The Sunday Scaries is a highly common collection of symptoms, and you are not alone in experiencing this as your weekend comes to a close. Instead of letting your anxieties consume what’s left of your weekend, try working through the tips above to see if you can gain control over your emotions. If you feel like you’re really struggling, reach out to a friend, family member, or professional to get the support you need.


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