How to Use Sunday Scaries to Live Out Your Best Weekday Life
I can recall a specific time in my career when things were really tough—I mean really difficult. Trudging to the bus in the early morning felt like a feat that required some divine intervention; some days, I felt like I wanted to be thrown under it, as opposed to being on it. For me, the Sunday Scaries seemed mismarked on my calendar because they always started on Saturday. This late-weekend malaise was a dreadful experience when time felt like it was dissolving, and every bone in my body was rejecting the thought of returning to the office in 24 hours.
I vented to friends and family, who all had the same response: I think you’re burnt out and need a change.
It turns out that I wasn’t alone. According to research, over two-thirds of American professionals are disengaged with their work. They feel uncommitted to their contributions and unenthusiastic about heading to the office each week. Whether these feelings show up as stress, worry, anxiety, fear, or apathy, here is how to stop the disengaged train from speeding off its tracks, while directing it down the right path.
1) Recognize when the overwhelm is too overwhelming.
If you want to know when you’ve crossed the burnout threshold, you can refer to the Mayo Clinic’s Job Burnout checklist, which outlines screening questions to help spot the conditions of burnout. If these symptoms pertain to your professional situation, it is important that you seek other pathways and additional support, as they can have a lasting negative psychological and physiological impact.
2) Keep a gratitude journal.
The process of reflection helps to gauge where you’re at and where your professional attention currently lies, and it is this understanding that shapes our reality and our level of awareness. This exercise will help you to sort out whether you should stay with your current company or go.
When you are feeling disengaged with your work and contemplating your next steps, here are some questions to consider asking yourself:
When was the last time that you learned something new on the job?
Who have you helped at work?
How did you make difference in your workplace?
Where do your current interests lie?
Who do you want to help?
What is your primary professional driver at the moment: money, impact, or creative expression?
If you feel detached from your work, be sure to consider all of your options before pulling any drastic moves. If there are aspects of your job or workplace that you appreciate, decide what you want to change and commit to exploring that possibility first. If you are a dissatisfied professional who doesn't take time out to process and lets your pesky monkey brain take over, you won't be able to effectively sort out important feelings or have a clear baseline to operate from when considering your next steps.
3) Maintain compassion for yourself.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the act of cultivating a degree of compassion and empathy for yourself can help you observe how you experience life, by allowing you to notice and recognize what you’re thinking and feeling. This empathetic approach will require you to quiet the inner critic/judge so that you’re willing to explore and share your story in informational interviews.
To boost your confidence and provide additional clarity, it can be helpful to reflect on a time in your personal or professional life when you felt at your best. What were you doing? Who were you with? How did you feel? What difference did you make? What skills were you using? It is when you are able to match these skills and interests with what the world needs that magic happens.
I strive to live in a world where there’s less fear on Sunday and more joy every day of the week. Life is too precious to be disengaged.