Author Debbie Carlson tackled the subject of why so many people experience the blues on Sunday nights in her story: How to Beat the Sunday-Night Blues which appeared in the “Off Hours” section of The Ladders on June 2, 2017. She gave me a chance to explain that though the phenomenon is both normal and common, “its cause may be very individualized. The thing about psychoanalysis, we look at the individual person. Each individual has their own pathway.”
For one person the problem might be that any transition is difficult–it’s just the way you’re wired. For another, a specific anxiety about what you’ll be leaving behind Monday morning may be the problem–for example, a Mom conflicted about being away from her small children. In the interview, I recommended some self-reflection as a starting point to see what your particular issue is.
Sometimes, the answer goes back to childhood. What did Sunday’s represent when you were young? The only time you weren’t lonely because your whole family came together for dinner at your grandmothers? The last time you saw your Dad for two weeks because your parents were divorced and that was the visitation schedule? Was school (which back-to-work-Mondays echoes in adulthood) a place of safety, or a source of shame and bullying?
These early stories can cast a silent shadow on how we experience parallel events in our adult lives. Becoming aware of them can loosen their hold. So that back to work on Monday is just that, not a replay of losses or painful experiences you had as an 8 year old.
A feeling of consistent ongoing dread about going back to work on Monday is a different story and suggests you need to take a close look at whether your job is right for you. Or is your workplace environment a hostile or unsettling one? If these are the answers you come up with, awareness and strategies wont be enough; serious, thoughtful action is required.
In the article, I suggested that people give themselves time on Sunday nights to organize the transition back to the work week, acknowledging that it is not a small thing. You need to make time to allow the transition to occur.
“Don’t catapult from an incredibly busy weekend and get home at 11 o’clock at night on a Sunday and get up at 7. Give yourself time late afternoon to refocus the weekend. Take care of business around the house so that you’re not leaving chaos behind you.”
My colleague Bruce Levin was also interviewed for The Ladders story, and both of us independently came up with the same prescription–take advantage of the great TV series that tend to be featured on Sunday nights! It’s probably no coincidence that there tends to be an abundance of great shows airing on Sundays. We need them. Remember how sad and frustrated you felt when Downton Abbey ended? Or when you watched the finale of Season 2 of Billions? It’s not just the loss of the show and the characters, but the loss of your current means for coping with the Monday night blues.
Read the full story on www.theladders.com here.