5 Recovery Ideas for the Sunday Scaries

Sunday scaries

Monday is just a sleep away…

The Sunday Scaries are the feelings of dread that occur before heading back to responsibilities like work, childcare, or school. Studies show that 80% of Americans experience anxiety on Sunday afternoons when looming duties remind us that Monday is just a sleep away. Speaking of sleep, 79% of Americans say they have more difficulty falling asleep on Sunday nights than on other nights.


5 Recovery Ideas for the Sunday Scaries

For those in recovery from a substance use disorder, anxiety, lack of sleep, and that sinking feeling can be hazardous. Add rain, loneliness, a change of season, or an empty schedule, and Sunday can become a trigger to relapse. We have pulled some of our favorite articles from Excursions Magazine to give you great ideas to enjoy Sunday afternoons/evenings and smoothly transition to Monday morning’s rigors. We hope they help!


1. Take a Walk

As the adage says, “Use it or lose it.” In other words, moving your body, even on a slow walk, clears a cluttered mind and is good for what ails you. Take time to wind down, validate your feelings, and enjoy the world.

Awe Walks for Mental Health

Walking for Addiction Recovery

Exercise and Addiction – 12 Good Reasons to Take a Hike


2. Practice Mindfulness

Who wants to “live in the moment” when your stomach is tied in knots, right? However, mindfulness focuses the attention on the present and not on what will happen tomorrow, counteracting rumination, worry, and the Sunday Scaries.

mindfulness dock

Mindfulness, Manageable Stress, and Addiction Treatment

I’m a Believer in Mindfulness!

DBT, Eating Disorders and Tools to Thrive (with Dr. Anna Flores)


3. Work on your Sleep Hygiene

Sleep deprivation causes problems with self-image, appetite regulation, outlook, and optimism. Also, those who are sleep deprived have a greater experience of pain, guilt, and feelings of sadness, distress, or hopelessness.

Anybody Else Having Trouble Sleeping?

The Wellness Trifecta: Sleep, Social Interaction, and Exercise


4. Make a Plan for Sunday Afternoon

Start a walking group, book club, or family outing for Sunday afternoons. When you have a positive energizer to look forward to, it redirects anxiety and lengthens the weekend. Also, a person can reset at any time throughout the day. It’s never too late to start over; it’s never too late to decide to have a good day.

women laughing

Finding Joy in an Unsettled World

Happiness in Recovery – Reset Your Day


5. Prepare for Monday – Write It Down in a Journal

Take a moment to jot down a few important things to accomplish during the week. Spread the tasks out over the week to lessen the load on Monday. And keeping a journal is an effective tool for charting progress in recovery, defining stressors, and reliving the best parts of the weekend.

typewriter flowers

Secrets and Truth – Writing it Down in a Recovery Journal

Why Positive Thinking is Good for Recovery 


Take the Sting Out of Sunday

The Sunday Scaries are triggered by the end of the weekend and the anticipation of the coming week. Try changing your mindset with positive thoughts. Instead of, “I hate Monday,” think, “I can do this!” Treat yourself to a Monday bonus like a specialty coffee on the way to work or a new plant for your desk. The more you expect something good to happen, the more often your brain sees the outcome as positive and makes it so.


Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.