Them Ol’ Sunday Blues: Overcoming Your Dread of the Week Ahead

website picToday’s guest blogger Dr Stacey Lessans has some optimistic insight on that one night of the week that seems a bit darker than the others for many of us: Sunday. Read on to learn her valuable approach to converting your Sunday stress into a positive outlook on a productive and rewarding work week ahead. -Deborah

I wish I had a dollar for every time a client joked about wanting to have a Sunday night session. Why do so many people hate Sunday nights?

While it’s understandable that some people grieve the end of a good weekend, Sunday night-haters typically have feelings of overwhelming dread as they anticipate the week ahead. It’s needing to face the unfinished to-do list from Friday afternoon, tending to the unreturned calls, anticipating the juggling act of family members’ schedules, getting back to the gym after two days of “rest”, and actually going to the supermarket after eating 5 meals out over the weekend (and the only thing that feels lighter is your wallet!). There is so much to do….how is it all possibly going to get done? And more so, how is it going to get done to the high standard that we hold ourselves to? These are the typical Sunday night thoughts that Sunday night haters have—it’s no wonder the night is filled with dread: who wants to hear that self-dialogue?!

Your Week In “Preview”

I see things from a different perspective (hey, that’s my job, after all!). I am a big fan of Sunday nights! I see Sunday nights much like a film producer writing a film. Sunday gives the opportunity to write our script for the week, the way we want the week to go—think “the week in preview”. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to devote time to each of the many compartments in your life (work, family, social, health)? How do you want to talk about the week after it is complete?

I use the same strategies with myself that I do with my clients. We pick a designated time on Sunday nights for the “Week in Preview”, and you can do it too. During this time, write out all the things that need to get done (e.g., a work assignment, errands, paying bills) and all the things you want to get done (e.g., see friends 2x/week). Calculate how long each of these items will take, and then schedule them into your week. Hint: break things down into small manageable parts and schedule these parts into the week (instead of saying I want to read 70 pages of my book this week, plan for 10 pages a night—phew, seems a lot more manageable!)

Don’t Dwell on the Obstacles

Once your plan for the week is laid out, mentally view the “Trailer”. When addressing the challenges and difficulties of the week ahead, instead of worrying about them, go into planning and problem-solving mode (such as mentally rehearsing a potentially difficult conversation or laying out an action plan for a difficult assignment). But more than thinking about those obstacles, I emphasize thinking about the “highlights”—that is, the things to look forward to. Make it a movie that someone would want to watch (Talking about stress and being overwhelmed – not soo appealing. Talking about plans with friends, a new restaurant you are going to try, a success you plan to achieve at work…that’s more like it!). If there isn’t anything on the list that makes for an exciting movie, well, that’s your opportunity to add something in. Set a goal for yourself; give yourself something to look forward to.


After you have visualized the movie of your week playing out in your mind, ask yourself: How are you going to feel at the end of it? What kind of reviews would we hope for from the critics? Now go ahead and live that movie. Make that week top the charts in the category it’s in (let’s be real—not every week is going to be stellar, but perhaps it can be the best in its category given its content). Focusing on positives while eliminating potential obstacles are both strategies to help reduce anxiety and lift your mood. Those benefits alone will contribute to a more positive week.

Now go ahead—write your movie for the week. Grab some popcorn and watch your movie as it will play out. Make Sunday nights something to look forward to. Turn Sunday night dread into an enjoyable Sunday movie night, starring YOU!

Join Dr. Stacey Lessans for an exclusive 3-week program starting Oct 23rd that will get you from “Reactive to Proactive,” so you can better manage your multiple roles. Program is limited to 10 participants and is custom made to help you regain control, identify everyday stressors and balance a constant ‘stressed out’ state of mind. RSVP today: