Work-Life Balance: The Sunday Struggle

One aspect of wellness often discussed clinically, in the research literature, and simply amongst friends is the ongoing effort to strike a satisfactory Work-Life Balance. Many of us want to be successful and be considered hard workers by our peers and family members, and at the same time to not want to give up time with our loved ones, leisurely pursuits, and other aspects of self-care. One place where this often manifests for those working a traditional work week is Sunday afternoons into the evening. This phenomenon was recently described by Jessica Stern, PhD, who also offered some tips on how to manage it.

Dr. Stern describes feelings of worry, fear, dread, and anticipatory feelings of being overwhelmed at what is coming up in the next week, along with sadness at leaving other things we enjoy behind. She feels that this anticipatory distress is often chronic, is common, and is a sign it is time to check in with ourselves, what we have on our plates, and how we are coping with this.

The goal is not to avoid the thoughts that trigger these uncomfortable feelings but to manage them effectively by finding ways to take control of what you can. To help with this, Dr. Stern suggests that we prep for the week throughout the weekend in brief ways through activities such as meal preparation, putting together outfits and hanging them in order in the closet, or scanning your calendar to get a good sense of what your game plan is going into the week, so things feel more predictable when you hit the ground Monday morning.