Fighting the Sunday Scaries

Ever wake up on a Sunday and you already have that sinking, lonely feeling? We’ve all been there at one point or another.

Sundays can be incredibly busy or lazy depending on the person. For some, it’s a day to get organized for the week ahead, for others it’s just a day of sulking. I typically feel into the latter but I didn’t realize I wasn’t alone in my Sunday Scaries until my senior year of college when a friend shared a meme which stated, “It’s not a Sunday unless you waste the day and then start feeling sad around 8 p.m.”

Reading that made me feel realize why I felt so lonely on Sundays. I had recently ended a year long relationship and would wake up alone in my college bedroom. My one roommate was completing a co-op that semester and my other roommate had meetings all day on campus. Most of my friends would either have meetings or events to attend while others wouldn’t even be out of bed until the late afternoon with no intention of leaving their rooms.

The morning after a night of drinking with friends, I’d lie in bed and stare at my phone, waiting for them to respond to our group chat. Slowly, I’d piece together a timeline from the previous night. Fortunately, my friends and I never relived anything terrible, but sometimes I’d be reminded of something embarrassing I did. That embarrassment would mix with my hangover and loneliness and make my Sunday Scaries linger even longer. It was a type of sadness I just couldn’t shake.

I desperately wanted to meet up with friends to put an end to this indefinite depression but a larger part of me was incapacitated by the seductiveness of my cozy bed. So, I’d continued staring at my phone for hours or binge-watching tv shows and feeling sad for myself all while being fully aware that I had plenty of work I should be doing.

Eventually, I realized my comforting bed wasn’t doing me any favors, but it was still difficult for me to leave its alluring clutches. I’d make deals with myself: I can order takeout if I get out of bed and I have to shower or clean my room while I wait for the delivery person. Then I’d push it a step further and tell myself I’d have to get started on my homework after I was done eating.

This method didn’t always go according to plan but at least it would get me moving. When I felt particularly lonely I’d call home. Talking to my parents usually did the trick shake me out of my Sunday Scaries, but sometimes it made me homesick and made matters a little worse. In which case, I’d find myself calling a friend who was only a few apartment buildings away. I was happy to find out that usually they felt that same creeping sadness and that helped both of us feel a little less alone.


Even now, almost two years out of college, I still find myself a little somber on Sunday mornings, even if I haven’t drank the night before. The Sunday Scaries can also stem from FOMO (fear of missing out). Usually the first I do every morning is lay in bed for a few minutes and scroll through social media. Maybe I’ll see people getting brunch together or going out the night before and I’ll think to myself, “Why aren’t I doing that? Why am I just laying here? Why did I stay in last night and watch 4 hours of Netflix?”

One thing has changed though in the past two years and that’s my ability to stop feeling bad about myself…or at least limit my time for sulking.

If I didn’t have the night I intended, I tell myself I can feel a little sad about it now but if I make strides to do something positive later in the day. Recently, I let myself eat as much chocolate as my stomach could handle before saying, “Okay, Ciara, enough. This isn’t who you are.” Then I would try to move on with my day and use the low point as a reminder that I wasn’t going to let myself feel that down again, at least for the next 24 hours.

Lying in bed watching reruns of Parks & Recreation while shoveling leftovers into your mouth can be a big comfort sometimes, but it isn’t healthy, physically or mentally. Eventually, you have to summon the courage and force yourself out of the harmful routine. Your body and your future self will be happy you did.

When I have phases of sadness such as this, I try to remind myself that if I could get passed the moping around part of my day, I could move onto the next part which was never as bad as the previous one, and from there I’d move onto another part, until finally I felt like a functioning adult again. I also found that the hardest things in life all begin with the simple act of getting started. If you can get over whatever’s keeping you in bed, you can do pretty much anything.


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