People often talk about the Sunday night blues (AKA the Sunday scaries); that feeling that comes over you when your weekend in ending and your start thinking about going to work tomorrow morning. Know the feeling? Too many people do.
LinkedIn did a survey in 2018 and found that 80% of professionals start feeling anxiety about the work week on Sundays. Similarly, a study by The Sleep Judge found that these Sunday feelings can manifest as worry, depressive symptoms, difficulty sleeping, and even psychosomatics symptoms like headaches and nausea. And while the ending of the weekend might always be a little bit of a bummer, people who enjoy their jobs don’t have quite the same angst on Sunday nights.
Whether you are looking to make a career shift to eradicate those Sunday night blues or you simply want to be more intentional about creating more positive feelings about your current work, we’ll be discussing some strategies. As you may recall from last week’s post, PERMA fosters workplace wellbeing. This week, we are focusing on the P of PERMA – creating Positive Emotions about work.
To foster positive emotions (P), begin by asking yourself some questions:
Once you have your responses, jump into action with your first steps. Although your actions will be customized to your needs and your responses to the above questions, there are some things we all can do to help create positive emotions about our work.
1. Maintain healthy physical self-care. This includes getting enough sleep, eat nutritiously and judiciously, getting some physical activity (including work breaks to take a walk around the office building, home office, or outdoors), and using your sick days if you’re sick. We often don’t give enough credence to the impact that taking care of our physical wellbeing has on our emotional and mental wellbeing. They really do go hand in hand. When we take care of our physical wellbeing, we are more refreshed mentally and emotionally to tackle our work projects.
2. Squash negative thinking patterns and replace them with positive ones. In essence, stop crap talking yourself. Speak affirmatively, positively, hopefully, and resiliently to yourself instead. I call this RESCRIPTing. This means:
3. Create better work life balance/time outside of work. Our work is a pretty big chunk of our identity, but it most certainly is not our entire identity. Too much of the time, however, we treat it like it is. We need to nurture all of who we are. Create a personal development plan with goals/desires for other areas of your life outside of work (relationships, financial, living environment, community engagement, physical health, emotional/mental health, intellectual growth, recreation/relaxation, spirituality). When feasible, talk to your boss about creating a flexible schedule that incorporates modified hours or remote working time. Decide a time of day you’ll shut down work on evenings/weekends to do enjoyable things that recharge you. Use your vacation days and spend them doing the things you love with people you love. We talk a lot about creating balance, but often put off the things that would create that balance. There’s never a perfect time free of a project that needs doing. Now is the right time.
4. Create a positive physical work environment. Whether at home or at work, your physical space influences your mental and emotional wellbeing. A cluttered space becomes a cluttered mind. Organize and declutter your office space. Decorate your space in your style. Put up inspiring quotes to motivate you. Make sure that what you see in your workspace inspires a positive mindset and positive emotions.
5. Only make commitments you can keep. It’s easy to become a people pleaser anywhere in life, including at work. We don’t want to let our boss or colleagues down. We worry about people’s opinions of our work ethic. We end up saying yes to projects, committees, and other work commitments that don’t serve our future or our now. Then, we feel overwhelmed and resentful. Don't volunteer for additional work tasks if you don't have time and/or that doesn’t serve your career growth. Create and maintain professional and personal boundaries at work. Remember, when you say “Yes” to too much, it ultimately leads to overwhelm and unhappiness.
6. Keep your mind refreshed. We often push ourselves through work projects when we know we’re exhausted and having a deep difficulty focusing. We tell ourselves, “Just keep going. You gotta get this done. You can rest when you’re finished.” However, the time we spend working in that exhausted frame of mind often produces mediocre work quality. If we just give ourselves some short refresher breakers, we could quickly get back to our work with an awake and focused mind that produces our best. Take some music breaks. Listen to a song you love that gets you pumped. Take brief brain breaks, including resting your eyes for 20 minutes, or meditating, or doing a breathing exercise. Or, laugh! Watch a funny video. Giving your mind brief refreshers during throughout your day can go a long way in keeping the positive feelings flowing and keeping the negative emotions at bay.
7. Do work that engages your strengths and passions. We’ll talk about amplifying work Engagement in depth in the next post! Stay tuned!
The Sunday Night Blues are beatable, but it requires regular maintenance. It's not just about what you do on your weekend that matters (although, as I mentioned, doing things you enjoy on the weekends certainly helps!). It's about regularly nurturing your work-related joy, so that work feels good on the regular, thus Sundays ain't so bad at all.
Want to really immerse yourself in creating career happiness in your life? Check out my Creating Career Happiness Course!
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I'm Dr. Colleen--a person who wants to see people demonstrate self-compassion, confidence, calm, kindness, and create an abundance of joy in their lives and careers.
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