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Bloomberg has decided to take a break from in-depth reporting of political, social, and economic issues in the world to finally take a look at something that really matters: how do we cure the anxiety that clouds our lives every Sunday evening? Through a bunch of science-talk I can’t understand, they think they’ve figured it out.
“That all-consuming Sunday fog—unavoidably and forevermore known as the Smondays—is actual fear, says neuroscientist Daniel Levitin…‘We love the freedom of the weekend,” he says. “What’s happening in your brain is that a structure called the amygdala, the seat of fear, gets fired up and releases stress hormones’ in anticipation of that freedom disappearing.”
Other than the fact they’re trying to rebrand the Sunday Scaries with the name “Smondays,” which makes me gag even to say, they sound like they know their stuff. When I feel the weekend sinking away from me, soon to be replace by the monotony of work, gym, and errands, the pit that opens up in my stomach sure feels like fear. Fear of where my career is going, fear of wasting my life away, and even the fear of dying alone (if my girlfriend isn’t answering my texts) all cascade through my mind. However, all credibility Bloomberg had in the science department was lost with their weekend schedule to “take back your Sunday.” Let’s break it down.
5 p.m.: Organize yourself
Before leaving work, create a Monday-specific task list, says professional organizer Peggy Duncan. “When you’ve planned your time for the next week,” she says, “you can start out fresh.”
By 5 p.m. on Friday, my only task list is to be at happy hour with a seasonal beer in my hand and a fire group text with the boys about what we’re doing tonight. Monday literally does not exist to me after work on Friday, and I’m not about to get roasted for writing down my tasks for next week at the bar like some kind of nerd.
Night: Get to bed
Your body and brain want a fixed schedule,” Daniel Levitin says. “It keeps your biological rhythms in sync. It’s healthiest to maintain about the same sleeping-waking hours as you do during the week.
There’s a reason the phrase “party like a neuroscientist” isn’t a thing, Danny. I get two precious nights of fun a week, I’m sure as hell not wasting one of them going to bed at a reasonable hour. You’ll catch me stumbling home at 3 a.m. wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt and a smile, knowing I have no alarm to worry about the next day. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure you can figure out the formula for how many weeks of early Friday bedtimes it would take me to no longer have any friends.
Before 11 a.m.: Do your chores
Leaving hated tasks until Sunday will only reinforce your depression, says Cassie Mogilner Holmes, a happiness researcher and associate professor of marketing at UCLA.
Depending on my level of hangover/what kind of chores we’re talking, this isn’t a bad idea. Anything to relieve me of Sunday errands, I’m about. Unfortunately, between the months of September-December, unless those chores take place at a sports bar, it’s going to be pretty tough for me to find time for them. It’s not my fault the NCAA starts games so early, Cassie, take it up with them.
Afternoon: Happy thoughts
If you have to show up at something you aren’t thrilled about, whether it’s a never-ending neighborhood association meeting or your kid’s 600th Little League game, use tactics to stay positive.
I’m 25, so neither of these examples relates to me. However, I do try and maintain a positive attitude when I realize my bookie is going to be keeping my money for the third consecutive weekend or my alma mater is on its way to a 2-10 season. Usually, these happy thoughts come with the help of tequila shots, but to each their own.
Dinner: Keep it small
The weekend’s midpoint also tends to be its high point—which means it’s all downhill from here.
By dinner time on Saturday my weekend budget has already been blown out of the water and I’ve already ingested 3,000 calories in wings and appetizer platters, so I actually follow this advice. I like to go home, recoup with some homemade tacos, and maybe even take a nap so I can survive Saturday night.
Before noon: Brunch right
The midmorning meal can easily devour your Sunday, so a brunch at 10:30 a.m. is better than one two hours later. Go easy on the booze and be sure to include a protein such as eggs or yogurt. That’ll help you avoid the sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar that give you that “I just want to sleep all afternoon” feeling.
Totally agree with this advice. You need to get to brunch as soon as possible after waking up, if nothing more than to ensure yourself that you still have friends after you blacked out the night before. If your crew can’t be bothered to get brunch before noon, you need to drop them and find some more considerate people. Plus, football starts at noon and I want to be ready to move to a venue with TVs. Do I agree going easy on the booze and heavy food will help my Scaries? Absolutely. Will I end up getting accidentally tanked on bottomless ‘mosas because the rest of my table are degenerates and I have zero will power? Without a doubt.
Afternoon: Get out
Your idea of relaxing may be watching Netflix, but feelings of depression are most common when people aren’t particularly active. Exercise, go for a drive, visit a museum, or just go to a movie.
The only exercise I’m doing after brunch is a brief sprint across the street when I realized I stepped out into the crosswalk without looking both ways. That will be enough to leave me both physically and emotionally drained.
6 p.m.: Reach out
Before you start settling into your evening, text your close co-workers. Even if you’re just sending pictures of your kids from the weekend, “it makes it easier to jump into conversation with them on Monday.
I don’t know what relationship most people have with their coworkers, but if I texted one of them “just to talk” on a Sunday, I would spend the rest of my evening staring at read receipt and contemplating quitting my job just to avoid the harassment training my anxious brain would be sure is waiting for me at work on Monday.
Wee hours: Start a journal
If you keep thinking about what you have to do on Monday, write it down. “You always want to get out of your head when you can,” Duncan says.
The last thing I want to do is actually sit down and realize how much fucking work I have to do that I put off on Friday. Yes, half-remembered knowledge of meetings and deadlines are scary, but not as scary as staring at an actual list of tasks waiting for you in seven hours.
From now on I’ll keep referring to the foremost authority on Sunday Scaries, Will DeFries, for advice. .
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