Mental Health

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Overcoming the Sunday Night Blues

woman depressed

Symptoms can range from a vague sense of uneasiness to full blown panic attacks. The condition? "Sunday neurosis," increasingly known by the more casual term "Sunday night blues." The former term was coined by Austrian psychotherapist Victor Frankl in 1946, suggesting this problem is far from new. The names may vary, but all of them describe the negative feelings - including anxiety, dread or plain sadness - that can accompany the knowledge that you'll return to a difficult or stressful job on Monday.

The Sunday night blues have probably existed in some form since the start of the five-day workweek, which became institutionalized in the U.S. in 1926, after Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories on Saturday and Sunday. Now, science is confirming the phenomenon. In a November, 2009 paper, German and Swedish researchers  said surveys of 12,000 individuals confirmed that Sundays are the least happy day for most people, while Fridays are the happiest.

Because it is not a formal condition recognized by any medical or psychological authority, there are no precise figures on the incidence of Sunday blues. But a British study reported in The Observer newspaper found that 26 percent of workers questioned felt dread and apprehension on the day they were due to return to work. Researchers speculated that the recession - which has led to increased job insecurity, and more burdensome workloads on those who remain employed - appears to be increasing such fears.

If you are afflicted with the Sunday night blues (or blues on whatever day precedes your return to the workplace) here are some things to try:

  • Get organized. The chief problem with Sundays may be that they are typically unstructured, leaving too much time to ruminate on the upcoming work week. In Frankl's view, it was this lack of structure - rather than dread of the upcoming workweek per se - that was mostly responsible for "Sunday neurosis." Take some time to plan specific, enjoyable, constructive activities that will pull your thinking away from the future and into the present moment.
  • Meditate. The regular practice of meditation can help to train your mind to stay focused on the present, rather than regretting the past or fearing the future.
  • Find a new direction. If you find your Sunday blues overwhelming, take it as an important signal that your job may be asking too much from you. Spend the day doing research and making inquiries to find other employment that may align better with your values.

As with most life crises, opportunity is couched in severe Sunday blues. I recommend using them as an opportunity to examine, restructure, and improve your life.

Start your free trial of Spontaneous Happiness, Dr. Weil's 8-week online plan for achieving and maintaining optimal mental well-being. Visit today!

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here