Sunday evening, 11:00pm. . . you’ve been putting it off, but it’s time to start thinking about bed. It’s work tomorrow after all, so you can’t stay up much longer. Lying in bed, staring at the celling you can’t get comfortable. It’s been forty five minutes already, how are you still awake? Then the thoughts begin to flood in. You try and stop them, but it’s useless:
- I don’t want to go to work tomorrow
- I can’t face feeling this way in front of my colleagues
- I’m worried about. . . (please insert worries here)
- Why do you always do this on Sunday night? Go to sleep!
Any of this sound familiar? Well then welcome to the world of anxiety… population myself – plus more people than you think.
What is it about Sunday evenings? Tbh, it’s relatively simple when you think about it. For the last two days your standard routine has gone out the window, (at least it has if you’re anything like me.) 7:30 get up? Why on earth would I do that when I can stay snuggled under the covers until 9:00 at least? Too many indulgences? Bad food (that tastes so good,) alcohol and fancy coffee? YUP. Staying up late on both Friday AND Saturday? YUP. Well then this is just the perfect recipe for a Sunday night disaster.
Do you know that these are bad habits? Probably… Do you do anything about it? NO – then why the f**K would you expect anything to change? (Apologies I’m shouting at myself mainly.)
More than most people I should understand the importance of structure. My brain depends on it.
Let me give you an example from my standard morning routine:
- 7:10 alarm goes off – snooze for 20 minutes
- 7:30 get up – and have a 5 minute cuddle with Rigby
- 7:35 – make breakfast (normally porridge with fruit.) I also have hot water and lemon to drink. I then have 15 minutes of quiet breakfast time. NOBODY is allowed to talk to me. . . do so at your own peril
- 8:00 – have a wash and get ready for the day
- 8:15 – pause for a few minutes to say goodbye to Dan and cuddle Rigby some more
- 8:30 – ready. Check my work emails on my phone and delete any spam
- 8:40 – leave the house and travel to work in silence – VERY IMPORTANT – if I saw my own mum during the commute I’d actively avoid her (sorry mum, you know I love you.)
- 9:15 – arrive at work. Turn on my computer and make a weak coffee to drink whilst chatting to colleagues (although again I’d prefer silence)
- 9:30 – ready to start my day. All may approach happy Claire without fear!
This routine is sacred to me and God help anyone who tampers with it. Seriously I was once in a foul mood all morning because we’d ran out of porridge:
Dan: It’s not a big deal babe we’ll get some later, just buy a pastry on your way to work.
Claire: ARE YOU MAD MAN? I don’t eat on the commute.. I read. How can I eat AND read? Chaos will surely follow!
Sorry about the side rant. Let me try and link it back to the original point.
I find that routine is very helpful for those who have anxiety because it = safety. It’s one of the few things that we can control and take comfort in. This is not to say that every moment of your life should be scheduled, but I find that structure is good to give the mind a rest. It’s one less thing to worry about.
Why is it surprising then to find that after two days of ‘chaos’ the brain struggles to snap back? It shouldn’t be a surprise, it’s common sense.
Ok so how about this. Let’s try and tackle it in a completely different way. Now bear with me. . . I thinking Sunday party night. Rather than dreading it, let’s embrace Sunday evenings and make them fun! What do I mean exactly? Well you can tailor it however you like, but I was thinking:
All of the below must be saved for Sunday evenings ONLY – 8pm onwards.
- Special Sunday pyjamas (I know it’s sad, but I LOVE nightwear) – these special PJs can only be worn on Sunday evenings.
- A cosy blanket for the couch
- A movie/TV show/documentary that you’ve been wanting to watch. Plan this in advance so that you don’t spend hours blitzing through Netflix, desperately trying to find something.
- A distinctive aromatherapy oil to burn, (I find sent association very affective.) Lavender is perfect.
- Good quality hot chocolate with or without marshmallows. Any warm drink can be consumed – except coffee, for obvious reasons!
- Party food! Again, this snack should only be eaten on Sundays so that the brain associates it as a ‘treat.’ Nothing too heavy on the stomach. Maybe crumpets or chocolate hob knobs. I’m also going to demand party napkins to make the plate look nice.
- If you’re a woman, paint your nails for the week. If you’re a man, maybe pick out what you’re going to wear tomorrow. Something that you feel confident in. (Or paint your nails if you’d rather,) just something that will make you feel good about yourself.
- Remove ALL clocks so you can’t focus on the time.
As I said, you can tailor your SNP to your own requirements, (oh Christ that means Scottish National Party) – ok SPN it is!
Here’s an important one for me. I won’t start my party until 9:30pm at the earliest. I know, crazy! This is mainly because my Sunday night jitters start around this time. Rather than desperately trying to avoid these feelings, I want to embrace them, so it makes sense to co-ordinate things this way. I’m not a child, I can stay up as late as I want, which is a wonderful thing. If I don’t go to bed until 1am then so be it… what will happen anyway? At least I’m cosy resting on the couch, rather than tossing and turning in bed. Will I be tired the next day? A little. But at least I won’t have spent the evening fighting an epic battle against my own mind. Most people can function on six hours sleep, it’s not ideal but it’s also not something worth fretting about.
I’m seriously thinking about starting the hash tag Sundayparty on Twitter. I’d love to share pictures or general words of love and encouragement. Every Sunday from 9:30pm look out for it.
Other things you can do to help ease the Sunday night blues are as follows:
- Try and get up on around 9am or earlier. Any later than this and you won’t be tired at night. Yes I know it’s unfair, but it will really help.
- A brisk walk after dinner. Burn off some of that adrenalin before it can even build
- Have a movie night with friends. It’s even more fun because you know it should be a Saturday activity.
Let us reclaim Sunday nights people! It belongs to us and we shall embrace it head on with fun.
Give me a shout if you’d be up for doing the hash tag thing. If not I shall go it alone!