I once read that the night before time off from work is actually better than the time off itself.
You know, the time off stretches out ahead of you, not a second has been used and you’re as far away from work as you can possibly be.
Then you wake up the next day and every passing moment puts you closer to going back to work. Your joy lessens more and more until you’re dreading the moment the alarm clock starts going off again.
A universal experience? Unless you really, really love your job, probably. Let’s be honest. The huge majority of us work to pay the bills and keep ourselves and whoever’s dependent on us fed. We complain about our jobs endlessly and dream of financial independence.
But now this is becoming a weekly thing for some people. A recent study by monster.com, a job hunting website, found more than two-thirds of people have what is being called the “Sunday Scaries.”
This is where you can’t enjoy Sunday because all you can think of is having to go to work the next day. So, you’re great on Friday night, Saturday is OK because you’re off and the next day is an off day also, but come Sunday the dread starts to settle back in.
Why you feel this way is a very individual thing. Everybody has different work experiences, even if you work at the same place. Some might dislike their co-workers, some hate the boss, some hate the work, some just hate having to get up in the morning before they’re ready.
I’ve always been back and forth on the Sunday Scaries. Some Sundays have been completely ruined, while others were just fine. Depended on what I had happening that Monday and whether I was looking forward to it or dreading every second of the day.
Dread is the finest of emotions and the only one that can be erased in a second when what you were dreading turns out not to be as bad as you thought, or doesn’t happen at all. There is truth to the old saying that the things I worried most about never happened.
I’ve dreaded a lot of things in my life, though most of it was undiagnosed anxiety. When I figured that out and got a happy pill that balanced out my brain chemistry, the dread receded into a dull roar, sometimes not making any noise at all.
A lot of people are feeling dread because they’re having to go back to work after having been off for a long time, usually not by their choice, and they’re just not used to it. The human brain, heck the entire body, loves routine as a default setting and does not react well when that routine is interrupted.
That’s why some people have 20, 30 or even 40 years at one job. It’s not great pay or great co-workers or even the work. It’s knowing you’ll get up at the same time in the morning, come home around the same time, have the same lunch hour, see the same people, take the same vacation week or weeks.
When that routine is taken away, it can knock you for a loop. Trust me, I know. So, if you lost that routine because of the pandemic and you’re maybe having to start anew somewhere else, you might dread Monday mornings and have the Sunday Scaries.
I sometimes have the Sunday Scaries because I don’t like getting up before I’m ready. And believe me, getting up at 3 a.m. is way before anybody’s ready. But it’s part of my routine now and on the rare day I don’t have to do it and get to sleep in until 4, it feels weird.
If you’ve never experienced the fear of a weekend coming to a close, you have my envy. Maybe you work a job where your weekend is Wednesday and Thursday and what the rest of us call the weekend means nothing to you. Though I guess you would potentially have a case of Thursday Terrors then.
In the end, none of it really matters. We’re all in headlong rush to the same place and, if we knew when that time was coming, we’d definitely have some day turning scary on us.
But tomorrow won’t be that day for most of us. And if it is, at least you won’t have to dread anything any longer.