Okay wait, what are the Sunday Scaries? Whether you call them The Sunday Scaries, The Sunday Blues, The Sunday Dread – they’re the anxiety you feel on Sunday with the impending return to work, or school, or whatever your weekday routine. The feeling you have of running through that never ending to do list, trying to prepare for the week ahead, only to feel like you never actually had a weekend.
I remember it vividly. Sitting in church roughly three years ago. A sermon about time and how we use ours. I cried through that entire sermon. Not just pretty little tears that gently roll down your cheek, full on Kim Kardashian sobs. God put me in my place that morning.
I was exhausted, feeling like I could never get caught up. (And for a girl who loves crossing things off her to do list, that is an uncomfortable situation.) Every Monday, I would hit the ground running, and every Sunday was full to the brim. Sunday nights were spent waiting on laundry to finish so that I could go to sleep. I didn’t have time for anyone or anything that wasn’t on my to do list, and every Monday morning felt like I didn’t even have a weekend.
So that Sunday morning, just like every one before that, my to do list was running through my head. I’m embarrassed to admit how many sermons I spaced on, because I was so distracted by all of the things on my list. But like I said, God delivered a message to me that morning about rest and the importance of a Sabbath. And it clicked. Through the tears, I heard every word deep in my heart.
Over lunch, my husband, who, although is used to my crying for no reason, was caught a little off guard by my sob session and inquired about the source. And he confirmed what the sermon had said–he had seen me running myself into the ground every Sunday and knew it was affecting me throughout the week.
Right then, I made the commitment to observe the Sabbath every single week, and it has changed my life. Maintaining a rest day every single week is crucial, no matter if that is Sunday, or another day that works for you. God set the example for us to observe a day of rest from our labors, to fill it by taking care of ourselves, and by honoring Him.
Here are five things that I implemented to set myself up for a successful rest day and to prevent the Sunday Scaries.
1. Start every day, and especially your rest day with prayer. For most of us, the feeling of unrest is more mental, so tell God what is on your heart and how you need Him to show up for you. Sometimes it helps me to write it down too, but we’ve established that I’m a writer, so…
2. Church. This is the absolute only “to do” on my Sunday. Everything else is relaxed and unplanned, but church is a necessity. It’s important to be surrounded by like minded people who will support your commitment to rest. Even if we are traveling on a Sunday and cannot physically be in our building, we’re watching the sermon online! We actually even go to the later service so that we don’t have to set an alarm on Sundays. (Embracing that rest…)
3. Clean, meal prep, laundry, errands, and other tasks on Friday and Saturday. These used to be my Sunday tasks, but no more. These things get done before Sunday so that I can truly enjoy my rest day with the things and people I love. Even my Monday schedule and to do list get made on Friday before I leave work so that I don’t have to take up any of my Sunday energy on Monday’s work.
4. Friends and family. The idea of the Sabbath is more about relationships than law. I was so busy on my Sunday, that I didn’t even spend time with my husband. We would go to church, rush through lunch, and I would busy myself until bedtime. Not cool. A rest day should consist of friends and family and the people who bring you joy. And furthermore, be present with those people. Don’t spend time with them only to disconnect on your Instagram feed; really show up.
5. Only participate in activities that fill you up. Church, good food, pajamas, cuddles, Real Housewives, all things that have a place in my Sunday rotation. I don’t check email. I don’t work. Look, we all know I love to exercise, but it does take up time, and everyone needs a break from it too, so even that gets a pass on Sunday. And for the love, go to bed at a decent time; you didn’t get all that rest just to blow it! Here’s the thing, if you treat your Sunday like a mini vacation, you’ll enter the new week refreshed and rejuvenated, versus anxious and bitter.
So what about you? Do you have a rest day each week? How do you create space for it, protect it and yourself, and what do you do with your day?
Here’s to preventing the Sunday Scaries and looking forward to the new week ahead.