Image from Storyblocks Video
I hated school. My mother used to do the ironing on a Sunday night and even now, the thought of it makes me anxious, because Sunday night meant school the next day…
If you work a 9-5 Monday-Friday, or even if you work regular full-time hours, then you might be familiar with what I call ‘Sunday Night Terror’.
It is exactly what it sounds like: terror on a Sunday night. You hate your job, so you spend five days feeling miserable (yeah, even the evenings during the week aren’t that great), and then you have the weekend. The weekend is good… but it may still be marred by thoughts that it’s only 48 hours or so. Afterwards… it’s Monday.
I remember when I used to do 9-5 Monday-Friday. There was a period when I’d get out of work and tell myself “20% of the week over” on a Monday, and increase it Tuesday to Thursday. Not a lot of fun. But perhaps the worst time is Sunday night.
You get that realisation, that tomorrow it starts again. It’s only 6pm on a Sunday night, you’ve still to have dinner with your family, watch Strictly Results or Call the Midwife or whatever, or even do something fun… but that terror of going back to work the following day, and facing it for five days, seems terrifying.
Yeah, I’ve definitely been there. It’s pretty awful.
I don’t have any hard stats, but I’d expect that millions of people live like this. Research by Monster suggests that 62% of people have “really bad” Sunday night blues.
It can even stop you sleeping well on Sunday nights – never a good start to the working week!
But things don’t have to be this way. Sunday Night Terror is not inevitable.
These days, I absolutely love the work I do. I love every aspect of it, the marketing, the research, the writing, the admin – and of course the actual coaching. OK, there are some clients I look forward to working with more than others, but overall it’s a great job. So I don’t feel the fear before working.
So that’s one way to avoid feeling Sunday Night Terror – find a job you enjoy doing!
Another way can be changing your routine, if you can. While working in bars and restaurants, I did irregular shifts, sometimes rarely getting two days off in a row. But I never felt that huge Sunday Night Terror before a few days in work. I think the irregular patterns helped, as did working evenings, so I had more energy during my off-time – Monday to Friday weren’t a “write-off”, as one client of mine once described it in his life.
I don’t really think that money helps either. In one job I didn’t like, I thought: “I could cope with this if I were earning £100,000 a year”, but I don’t think that’s how it works. In my experience, not only is money not as important as liking your job (this might not be the case for everyone), but when I went from one job I hated to one I kind-of liked, and my income halved, I actually worried less about money.
So once you find the right work for you, where you love what you’re doing and you know you are doing the right thing, not just turning up for a paycheck (that never ends well!), you won’t feel Sunday Night Terror – you’ll feel satisfaction that your work time is a positive part of your life that is fully integrated with the rest.
I’ll give you one last tip for avoiding Sunday Night Terror: have a productive weekend. Do things that you really want to do – and that may not be sitting or lying in front of the TV the whole time, as a lot of us do. If you’ve spent some quality time with the family, completed some DIY that’s been bugging you, or maybe done some studying, then you’ll feel less like “Work tomorrow – where the heck’s the weekend gone?”