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Sunday Scaries

A quick introduction to what I hope to maintain as a regular blog post series to be released every Sunday. These posts will be soothing mantras or thoughts to help encourage calm Sundays and best-foot-forward Mondays.


Today I will introduce you to a few tips for soothing yourself and helping you create a more sustainable Sunday routine.



The Four 'P's

Preparation, peace, patience, and perspective. These are the four words that I find helpful in planning weekend relaxation (oh look, another p!) for myself and with clients.


When we move through the week we tend to ignore our body's demands, when we are shattered we say 'I can rest at the weekend' or on our days off. However, this habit of avoiding our inner wellbeing is not sustainable and can lead to experiences such as burnout which can cause a lot of physical and emotional pain. It is easy to think about letting our days off take care of themselves, because it is only ourselves that we have to answer for when the planned relaxation goes awry, and we don't have a boss breathing down our necks like at work. However, as I occasionally will utter to clients, at some point you will have to 'pay the piper'.


I don't say this to stress you further, but to encourage you to see relaxation as as important as other areas of life. For instance, if you have a presentation at work or school, or should do some reading up for a new client, you don't just assume it will happen, you put in the effort and the energy into the planning because you know it won't magically come together. As I am sure your teachers at school used to say 'fail to prepare; prepare to fail'. Which brings me on to the first 'P':


Preparation


Instead of waiting for the weekend and then being too exhausted to do anything other than lie in bed and feel completely disconnected with the day, it is important to at least try to plan ahead. This is not to say you should plan for expensive weekend trips, nor am I saying you should be aiming for a weekend filled with outings or having friends around, but it would be good to ensure you have carved out at least a portion of the time to lend to recovery from the week.


Each person has their own unique set of obstacles when it comes to managing stress as well as any situational stressors on top of their schedule. Therefore this preparation should account for your own spectrum of ability. What do you know relaxes you? Does waking up early feel better to you? Does a specifically selected film help? How about ensuring you have that specific snack in? Maybe it is a meditation? However, it could even be that you are scheduling your time so that you are able to feel less rushed on a Sunday - maybe planning to put a wash on during the week to save yourself from putting every little bit of life-admin onto Sunday could be effective in ensuring a smoother transition from the weekend and into the next week.


Peace


Comparison is the thief of joy (and peace!) as someone or other said. As I mentioned above, a well planned weekend does not have to be hyper-productive in an admin sense, nor does it have to be packed with holidays and meetup after meetup. Sometimes peace looks like the ability to 'unmask' in your own home with a nice warming drink, or a walk in the forest or even having an extra-long lie-in! Sometimes the things that we may envy when we doom-scroll on social media might not even fit into what would actually bring us joy or excitement. In addition to this, another thing not to assume the weekend will take care of is the 'social' messages and emails that you've been putting off. Just because you have the energy does not mean you have the energy to give that person. You do not have to be immediately accessible to all people.


Patience


It might all feel a bit arduous and counterintuitive to be building a routine and putting such energy into it. However, this is based on what is sustainable for you. It is about scheduling you into your own timetable for the sake of your own wellbeing and personal sustenance. It is also worth noting here that it won't necessarily lead to an immediate change in the feeling that comes with the Sunday scaries.


Building a different way of doing things and a change of pace takes some time. In our society built on immediate gratification, this process of taking a step back and allowing the process to take place can be infuriating and lead to us feeling that the process is wrong or flawed. I especially notice this in my work with clients and sometimes find that when entering therapy, clients might (understandably) feel unsure to hear that the issues won't be fixed in a session … However the process in the long run is worth it, as I'm sure my own clients would attest to! It is important to be intentional with our rest, and that includes being patient with ourselves and with the process of allowing things to shift.


Perspective


One of the hardest parts of the 'Sunday scaries' is the fear of having to deal with certain people, tasks or management or even just the sheer amount of things to do in your workload. It is a bit of a misconception to think that not 'looking' at something that is stressing us out directly will make that thing less real, less imposing. Saying "don't think about it this weekend" or "out of sight, out of mind" does not actually always mean that that will be the case. When Sunday evening rolls around and Monday lurks on the horizon it can feel like a threat to our sense of peace and safety. By looking at something, we can deconstruct the fear, we can use our problem solving skills and insight to help us to gauge the the issue - e.g. is the fear the boss or is it actually the fear that you might fail?


Leaving something in the periphery can just lead to a building fear that becomes some sort of amorphous threat. Think of the witch in the original Blair Witch Project - we didn't ever see the witch and so our imaginations and our fear conjured an image that probably is far more terrifying than any physical shots of the witch that we might have been presented with by the filmmakers. By addressing these fears, courageously, we are able to find perspective, and perspective is something we can work with.


Perspective allows us to break things down into manageable chunks. So, to go back to that example - you feel that you are failing, maybe it is worth checking the facts: are you actually failing? What does your track record present? Or perhaps you might want to spend some time reading up a bit on how to use that specific bit of software, or checking with someone on how to use the till properly. By deciding to book in a meeting with a manager, to check in with a colleague or to have a vent session, you are able to quash those fears and to help sift through the rational and irrational concerns.



Be intentional with your rest

With all this said, it is important not to leave the management of our wellbeing only to the weekend. It is unfair to ourselves and it is not a gentle or kind way to live. However I hope that the main takeaway here is that it is important to try to be intentional with your rest.


As Sylvia Plath wrote in her diaries,


"I love my rejection slips. They show me I try"

All we can ever hope for is to keep trying, truly putting in effort to better ourselves and our communities. However, no matter what, just showing up and putting your best foot forward in our very messy human way, even when it ends in error and mistake, is still worth the showing up!


I wish you all a happy Sunday evening and I hope you have a good and fruitful week


If you resonate with anything I've discussed here, or want to speak to me about working together on something that might be troubling you, please do get in contact. I welcome all emails and calls.



Cat :)




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