Having anxiety on Sunday is more common than you think
When I was in my early twenties, (back before I realized that I had anxiety,) every Sunday night I found myself feeling nauseous, restless and stressed. At the time I assumed it was because my husband worked out of town and left on Sundays so I thought that was the likely cause.
Then my husband got a job closer to home and no longer had to leave on Sunday nights. However, my Sunday night episodes of nausea and restlessness continued. Every Sunday I knew it was coming like clockwork and thought I was the only person in the world who experienced it.
Sunday anxiety is a common experience
One day, however I stumbled upon a blog by Sheryl Paul, a brilliant writer and therapist. She actually referenced “Sunday Anxiety” directly, and I was flabbergasted. Not only was Sunday Anxiety a real thing, but there were dozens of comments on the blog of people who felt the same way.
Sheryl shared: “Sunday anxiety is a common experience that strikes many people who struggled with school as a child, or work as an adult (similar to Fall anxiety)”.
After doing a deeper dive, I found out that even if individuals don’t currently have a particularly stressful work week or any events coming up that would result in stress, Sunday anxiety can become a conditioned response. This can happen because many people equate work with stress and so the brain begins to interpret work thoughts as a stress/threat. It can lead to people feeling anxious about work, school, events, etc. and is called anticipatory anxiety.
The feeling of comfort
Just finding out that Sunday anxiety exists gave me great comfort. It feels so supportive when someone in the world puts words to how you are feeling. It not only helps to define those feelings, but it also makes you feel less alone and open to understanding yourself more.
Learning about Sunday night anxiety
Learning about Sunday night anxiety led me to exploring all other kinds of scenarios where people have heightened anxiety. For example did you know people experience heightened anxiety when:
- Seasons change
- It’s August/September
- They are having a birthday
- They go on vacation
- It’s the Holidays
- They are getting married
- They are having a baby
- They are starting a new job
- They are moving into a new place
These are just a few triggers for increased anxiety.
I spent much of my life feeling like an oddball around important events. I was anxious before I got married, before moving into my house, before my birthday, on vacation, etc. These were all exciting times in my life and it was really lovely learning that I wasn’t the only person who experienced this type of anxiety.
I also learned that anticipatory anxiety can be magnified when facing times of transition. Changes can be difficult, even if they are “positive”. There can be added pressure around important events to feel or act a certain way so it can be concerning when how you’re feeling doesn’t match up with expectations. People who are highly sensitive are especially aware if their expectations and feelings don’t align (read more about being sensitive here). They are really attuned to the world around them and how they’re feeling so it can be difficult to navigate.
Sunday night anxiety has lessened
Since finding a job that I love and am passionate about I find my Sunday night anxiety has lessened significantly but every so often it spikes up and I try to remind myself that it’s okay.
I found so much comfort learning about Sunday Anxiety and other ways that anxiety pops up during times of transition which is why I wanted to share it. Putting words to experiences can help people feel seen, validated and feel less alone. It is my hope that this helps you, or someone you know, understand yourself/themself just a bit more.
Do you get Sunday anxiety? Do you experience anxiety before important events? Feel free to share in the comments.
having anxiety on Sunday is more common than you think
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