This unfortunate feeling is familiar to most people — waking up on a Sunday morning and panic immediately coursing through your body. After managing to enjoy your weekend, you suddenly realize the mountain of deadlines threatening to strip you of your happiness, joy and will to finish the semester. Even worse, Sundays are supposedly a day for relaxation and reflection, yet we often bear suffocating sentiments of terror. These unbearable feelings of dread and fear are better known as the “Sunday scaries.” Thankfully, there are several ways to combat the Sunday scaries — allowing you to turn Sunday into a day that does not have to be so scary after all.
10. Set your alarm for a reasonable hour
Waking up early enough to enjoy your day while still getting extra rest is key to a pleasant Sunday. It is refreshing to wake up and still have enough time to take things slowly. Aiming to be awake by 10 a.m. may sound daunting at first, but from personal experience, sleeping in too late only amplifies the Sunday scaries — stay ahead of the typical Sunday evening panic by front-loading your day instead.
9. Enjoy a cup of coffee
Indulge in a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage — hot coffee, iced coffee, a latte or a matcha — the possibilities are endless. Having extra time on a Sunday morning to slowly sip my coffee is my favorite part of the morning. Sometimes I read, sometimes I catch up on the latest content from my favorite TikTok creators, and sometimes I complete the daily Wordle. Regardless of the activity you pair your Sunday morning beverage of choice with, starting your day on a positive note is bound to ward off the Sunday scaries.
8. Make a small and achievable to-do list
Instead of overwhelming yourself with everything that eventually needs to be completed, make a specific and attainable list of the things you must do before Monday. To avoid procrastinating until Sunday night to start your to-do list, you can give yourself your own specific and attainable deadlines. For example, you can tell yourself that you need to finish your to-do list by 5 p.m. Once you prioritize the most important tasks, the sooner you can relax for the rest of the day, do something fun or set yourself up for an even more productive week by getting ahead. Even the simple act of crossing one thing off your to-do list helps ease anxiety stemming from the impending doom of the week ahead.
7. Use sunshine to your advantage
I know that the Sunday scaries often leave me feeling like holing up in my dorm room for the whole day. I also know, however, getting outside — even if it is just for a few minutes — makes me feel more energized and hopeful. Taking a walk to pick up a Sunday morning bagel or smoothie bowl is an easy and effective way to get fresh air and incorporate some movement into your day. If you are feeling bold and adventurous, you can take a longer walk with a friend or listen to your favorite podcast. Even better, you can knock out some of the assignments occupying space on your to-do list while sitting outside.
6. Organize your calendar for the upcoming week
While the Sunday scaries can make you feel like wallowing in the fact that the weekend is coming to a close, you can turn this around by focusing on the possibilities for the upcoming week. For me, this manifests itself in decorating my planner with fun and vibrant stickers and reviewing my schedule for the week. This, however, does not require stickers or decorating—simply reviewing your syllabi and recording all relevant due dates for the week in your calendar will be beneficial. If your week is looking rather gloomy due to a stream of due dates and exams, this is the perfect opportunity to intentionally incorporate fun into your schedule — make plans to grab Bodo’s with a hallmate, meet up with a friend you have not seen in a while or block off an afternoon to do something that you love on your own.
5. Plan a Sunday brunch or dinner with friends.
Establishing a Sunday routine that includes something to look forward to has significantly helped my own Sunday scaries. This semester, my friends and I have officially declared our Sunday dinner as “Runk Sunday.” During the week, we typically do not venture to Runk Dining Hall — therefore, “Runk Sunday” has become one of our favorite traditions. I used to absolutely dread Sunday nights but finding a way to make my Sunday evenings something I cherish has aided in my own journey of battling the Sunday scaries. Sunday brunch is also a lovely way to break the funk of the Sunday scaries. Warmer weather in Charlottesville means devouring chocolate chip pancakes, French toast and omelets while sitting outside — what could be better?
4. Enjoy an episode of your favorite show — or try something new.
As you wind down from a long week and start looking ahead to a fresh week, nothing is quite as calming as watching an episode of your favorite comfort show. Personally, I prefer to escape the Sunday scaries by watching “Survivor,” “The Bachelor” or “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” The Sunday scaries can also be quelled by trying a new show or watching that one movie that has been on your list forever — use the time that you would normally spend sulking about Monday to your benefit.
3. Make your Monday morning more streamlined
I aim to make my Monday morning as painless and easy as possible. This starts with a little extra preparation on Sunday evening — pack your bag, lay out your outfit and set your coffee ready to brew. Doing small and seemingly insignificant chores on Sunday night that ensure you can start your week without a frenzied dash out the door is a way to make yourself feel less worried on Sundays. Simply knowing that you are doing your best to be prepared for a great week can make Sundays and the mere thought of the rest of the week less intimidating.
2. Call a friend or family member
When I am in the throes of the Sunday scaries, it can feel like a never-ending spiral. Talking to someone like my mom instantly helps me recenter. I can distract myself by telling her funny stories about my week, hearing her latest political hot-takes and discussing the latest developments in the world of reality TV— our shared passion. Not only will your case of the Sunday scaries decrease in severity, but your mom — or whoever you call — will also be thrilled to hear from you and catch up on all the exciting things you have been up to. In the midst of the chaos of the semester, it can be easy to forget to call the people who are important to you. Why not improve both your Sunday and the Sunday of the person you decide to call? When fighting the Sunday scaries, you need as many win-win situations as possible.
1. Treat yourself to an early and peaceful bedtime
My sacred Sunday night tradition is going to bed — almost embarrassingly — early. In fact, my highly prized 9 p.m. Sunday bedtime has become a running joke between me and my friends. While it is slightly comical, I have found that by setting an early bedtime for myself, I have more incentive to finish my schoolwork earlier in the day. I also look forward to having extra time to scroll TikTok, read a book or watch an episode of my latest Netflix-obsession. Sunday nights have since evolved from something I fear to something I actively protect — this precious time ahead of the chaos of the school week is so special to me. Ending your weekend with a calming bedtime routine prepares you for a fresh start on Monday.
The Sunday scaries are brutal, but it is time that we all reclaim the last day of the weekend.