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20 Nov

How to Deal with “Smonday” Stress

Do you ever have a great weekend only to end up feeling super low on Sunday evening?

This experience is so common that it’s become an unofficial syndrome, the “Sunday Saddies” or “Sunday Scaries.” Recently when someone on Facebook asked, “Does anyone else hate the end of the weekend?” a friend of mine suggested that later in the day, Sunday stops being enjoyable and turns into “SMonday.”

Those end of the weekend blues are not a surprise, since according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of workers report their job was “very or extremely stressful” and 25% say that the number one stressor in their lives is their job.

When stress is overwhelming, our best options are either to change the situation or take steps to reduce or manage our stress. Significant life transitions, like a career change, may be important to you. I suggest to my clients that before making that decision or in the meantime, we can take steps to reduce stress so we feel better.

Give yourself a fanfare.

This suggestion comes from a former actor who was also one of my teachers in public speaking.  He said that before you walk into a room or face an unpleasant task, you can lift your mood and energy by giving yourself a mental fanfare. I personally like the one at the beginning of the movie “2001 Space Odyssey” and Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” is a close second.

Let go of muscle tension.

Scan your body from head to toe and consciously relax any muscles that are holding onto tension. You can experience how well this works by trying a little experiment right this moment. First, clench both hands into fists, tighten the muscles in your arms and shoulders and hold the tension for ten seconds.  Then relax those muscles and feel the tension drain away from your body.  You will instantly feel more relaxed.

Create your own relaxing thought toolbox.

When you feel stress rising you can calm yourself down by creating cooling thoughts that you’ve designed to fit your own unique needs. A good friend of mine says to himself “I operate on the 100 year plan.  If it’s not going to matter in 100 years then there’s not need to worry.”

One of my own cooling thoughts is looking around the room and asking myself “Is everyone still standing?  Is everyone still breathing?  Then there is no problem here we can’t solve.”

Create more structure.

Stress is a useful experience and we can use it to our advantage. Controlling and structuring the energy of stress can help you get things done.

There are some great resources for this online. There’s the “Eat the One Frog” approach. There’s also the Pomodoro Technique. These tools will help you channel that stressful energy into productivity.

Take a short break.

A five minute dance party while alone in your office, reading a poem or listening to a favorite song can relax your mind and body.  Or, how about a cup of herbal tea to relax your senses and warm your body? When things get overwhelming, just step away for a minute–whatever that means to you.

 

This is just a small selection of resources you can use to reduce stress. In the midst of all of your busyness, remember that you are not alone.  Each of us is trying in our own way to find solutions to the stress we all experience on a day to day basis.

 

Wanda Sevey, MDiv, LMFT is a CFR Staff Therapist at and Office Director at our Lawrenceville, New Jersey location. 

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