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Why Sunday Evenings Scare Us

Leeza 2 weeks ago 8 comments

You don’t have to be a specific personality type to dread Sunday night. Just ask the 16Personalities staff.

It’s the season for ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. But for many of us, Sunday evenings scare us more than any monster could.

Anyone who enjoys the traditional two-day weekend can tell you that, sometimes, the end of it can be stressful. This is a specific kind of anxiety dubbed the “Sunday Scaries,” which is described as the fear of the oncoming week and all its obligations.

Whether you go to work, school, or anything else that involves a commitment on Mondays, you may feel overwhelmed by the stress of coming events or regret over everything you didn’t do over the weekend.

As nerve-wracking as this particular anxiety is, there’s power in commiseration. Three of our 16Personalities staff members – a Mediator, a Debater, and an Advocate – dive into what the Sunday Scaries mean to them and how they deal with it.

Laura, a Turbulent Mediator (INFP-T)

Oh, Sundays – I want so very much to enjoy them. I want to laze on a picnic blanket in a field of wildflowers with a good book, pausing every now and then to gaze at the clouds in the sky with nary a care in the world.

(Yes, this is my ultimate fantasy. I’m a Turbulent Mediator, after all.)

But there’s always this nagging voice in the back of my head – a voice that says, Monday is coming.

Thanks to the Intuitive personality trait, Mediators like me spend a lot of our mental energy on projecting into the future. I often struggle with simple decisions because I’m thinking things like, But what if this backfires? or How will other people react when they find out? or – worst of all – Will I regret this when I die?

And that struggle to make decisions? Well, it’s especially terrible on Sunday, that beautiful last day of freedom before the workweek. In theory, Sunday is a day of infinite possibilities: I could take a long bike ride or go hiking with my dog or visit a friend who lives an hour and a half away – or, you know, laze in a meadow of wildflowers with a good book.

Perhaps because I care so much about taking full advantage of each Sunday, choosing among such options feels paralyzing.* I can do nearly anything, but I can’t do everything. If I laze alone in the meadow, then I won’t be improving my fitness, and I’ll be neglecting my dog, and I won’t get to see my dear friend.

*(Thanks, Prospecting trait.)

Some people find it easy to accept that choosing one thing means you can’t choose everything else. Alas, I am not one of those people. Instead, my mind floods with worries** about all the things I can’t do if I go the lazing-in-meadow route, such as: What if my fitness level plummets and it’s all my fault? What if my dog goes stir-crazy and eats the curtains? And what if my friend gets sick or busy and I can’t see her for a while?

**(Oh, did I mention that I’m a Turbulent Mediator?)

The fear beneath all these questions is this: What if my life passes me by and I haven’t spent it the right way? And that, my friends, is a lot of pressure to put on a single Sunday. Which may be why I find it so tempting to do nothing – to melt into the couch with my smartphone instead of pulling myself together and doing something I’d actually enjoy.

If I could give myself one piece of advice, it would be this: Just do something on a Sunday – anything! Don’t worry about choosing the absolute best activity. Don’t worry about doing something so incredibly fun or meaningful or rewarding that it’ll carry you all the way through the workweek. Choose something enjoyable and do it – no worrying about all the other things you could have done, all the other ways you could have prepared yourself for the week ahead.

So, will I follow that advice? Will I peel myself off the couch, choose something fun to do, and actually find some enjoyment on a Sunday?

Maybe I will, or maybe I won’t. I’m sorry – I just can’t make that decision right now.

Leeza, a Turbulent Debater (ENTP-T)

Debaters are thought to be fearless, and, for the most part, I am. The things that typically scare others – haunted houses, ghosts, monsters in the dark – are things I actively seek out. Past questionable decisions include Ouija board séances in a cemetery, trespassing into a boarded-up jail, purposefully poking at an already angry Architect just to see what would happen. Things of that ilk.

But I’m not always fearless. I’m particularly cowardly between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday. I work from home (and on my own schedule), so the anxiety I feel may be completely different from what many office workers experience. Instead, my Sunday Scaries revolve around not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow.

You see, my Intuitive and Prospecting personality traits make me imagine a lot of things. They can be outlandish things, like, What if World War III breaks out while I’m sleeping? What if the ceiling suddenly collapses tonight?

Or they can be things that are perfectly within the realm of reason but somehow feel just as frightening as the thought of nukes in the sky. What if my boss hates the article I wrote? What if I said something really rude without realizing it, and now my close friends are mad at me? What if I have to drain my emergency savings suddenly?

Yes, as a Debater, “winging it” is my specialty. But even Debaters (especially Turbulent Debaters) get freaked by the unknown every now and then.

To remedy my Sunday Scaries, I make a plan. It sounds very anti-Debater, I know, but sometimes a little structure is what I need. If I’m worried about my spending for the month, I map out a budget to keep me in line and/or reassure me that I’m doing fine and I’m just overthinking. If I’m freaking out about a personal relationship, I make a note to send that person a funny text the next day. If I’m panicking about the weird bump I found on my neck, I make sure to schedule an appointment with an available medical professional (do not Google it).

Or if life is just getting to me and I don’t know where to even begin, I call up a friend to talk out my feelings. And then I plan out my outfit for Monday, maybe even make my lunch for tomorrow. Why? Mainly because any preparations I make that evening are sure to make Monday easier.

And, lord knows, I need Monday to be easier.

Monica, a Turbulent Advocate (INFJ-T)

Some people live in fear of the unknown. Some are afraid of the dark. Some people are terrified by scary movies, and some hide from other, less definable fears.

At one point in my life, my greatest fear was Mondays.

I am an Advocate and will nobly strive to face up to anything, but I hated Mondays so much that I actually found a job where I can work on my own schedule, and thus defeated the power they held over me.

Sunday Scaries are a real thing. Before I made my career change, I was okay on Sunday mornings – but somewhere after brunch, the cold dread of Monday began to take hold.

What was it? A longing for more time to myself? The feeling that I hadn’t quite recovered from my stressful workweek and wasn’t quite ready to face the next one? Anxiety about the piles of work waiting for me in the office and all their related deadlines and corporate intrigue?

As much as I wanted to spend more time chilling out – or maybe go for a bicycle ride or take the dog on a long hike – I also needed to defeat the dread of Monday so I could enjoy the rest of my day.

  • Sometimes this meant sitting down for an hour or so and planning out what needed to get done for the next week.
  • Other times I would double-check my email so that I wasn’t surprised by anything Monday morning.
  • Occasionally it meant knocking out one troubling thing on my to-do list, just so I could stop worrying about it.
  • And sometimes I’d just go for a bicycle ride or a hike anyway, knowing that exercise is often a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. There would always be more work to do than I could ever get done, anyway.

All these things helped. But sitting down and planning out the most critical items that needed to be done was one of the most effective things for me. For 30 minutes or an hour of my precious weekend, I could buy some freedom from worry and anxiety so I could enjoy the rest of my Sunday.

What About You?

Hating Sundays (and, while we’re at it, Mondays and Tuesdays aren’t so great either) isn’t exclusive to a single type. Any person can feel this way, from easygoing Virtuosos to dutiful Defenders to iron-willed Commanders. Often it’s more than a “personality thing.” Sometimes it’s just the human condition, y’all.

Go ahead and tell us about your own Sunday Scaries, no matter your personality type. It’ll make you feel better (and less alone) to write it out – we promise.

Further Reading

Me Time: Making Time for Yourself by Personality Type

The Frazzled Debater – Stories from the Real World

The Art of Time Management and Personality Types

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