Have you found yourself feeling anxious on Sunday because you know that Monday means you’ll either be alone for the next five days with your kids or you’ll be away from your kids at work for the next five days?
After our son was born and my husband had returned to work, I remember having intense anxiety on Sunday night and Monday morning. I was afraid to be alone. I wasn’t afraid of caring for the baby, but my quiet perfectionism crept in and I didn’t like feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing. There was this new person that relied on me for everything. And I relied on my husband—and he was out of the house.
If you’re reading this, and you feel that sense of dread about Monday morning, I have a few helpful tips for managing those Sunday Scaries as a mama.
Here's how to deal with Sunday Scaries:
1. Check your thoughts, and then challenge them
Instead of: This is going to be horrible or I’m going to be alone and what if I need help?
Try: It’s a new week, and I know that support is only a phone call away if I do need help.
When I’m feeling anxious, I personally really like to ask myself:
What is the worst that could happen?
What are the chances that the worst will happen?
If the worst happens, will I still be OK?
Most of the time I find that leaning into the worst-case scenario is usually borrowing worry and, in turn, creating more anxiety. Being able to get my anxious thoughts in check really helps to bring calm. Another way to do this is to do a brain dump. Write down everything that is bothering you, sitting at the top of your worry. Get it out of your head and onto the paper. Allow yourself the freedom to let those concerns just sit in your journal.
2. Make a Monday plan
Having a plan or some semblance of a plan can help relieve the Sunday Scaries. Schedule a friend date, take a walk or explore a new area where you live. Put it on your calendar—and stick to it. Even if your plan is as simple as catching up on your favorite TV show, give yourself something to look forward to.
Another helpful tip is to space your day into chunks of time. The morning, midday and afternoon. Pick one activity to do during each of those times. That way, you have something to look forward to and a frame around the day.
3. Try your best to get a good night's sleep
OK, let’s reason with each other: babies and good, restful sleep usually don’t go hand-in-hand. I know this. You know this. Any parent of young kids knows this. My strategy: get in bed for the night earlier. Even 15 minutes earlier. Having a little more time for rest and potentially a little more time alone usually helps me feel rejuvenated and refreshed.
4. Create new Sunday rituals
Instead of sitting and stewing all day on Sunday in anticipation of Monday morning, create new Sunday rituals to help you stay present. Think Sunday Funday: Parenting Edition.
A few ideas are family brunch, a new skincare routine or a space carved out for you to participate in any sort of self-care. And again, self-care as a new mom... can that even exist? It can. There are things we can do with 10 minutes that help to nourish our sense of self like listening to a favorite podcast, scrolling through social media accounts that make you feel good, going for a walk or doing some good stretching.
5. Treat yourself on Monday morning
If coffee is your thing, treat yourself to your favorite coffee shop. Other ideas include: decluttering a small space that’s driving you nuts (anyone else love a good declutter!?), adding something for yourself into your online ordering cart or saying no to plans (if you want to say no).
And always know that help is only a phone call away. The Sunday Scaries can be dreadful and intimidating, but there's always a way to manage them, mama.