Beat the Sunday fear by treating your weekend like a holiday

Journalist Colette Sexton on how you can go on holiday every weekend, with a change of perspective.

There is nothing I hate more than the Sunday night fear brigade on Instagram. There you are, having a nice scroll, maybe laughing at some memes or checking out pictures from one of the 750 weddings your friends went to at the weekend, and then boom — in the middle of it all, someone has posted about “Sunday night fear” and the “Glenroe feeling”. All of a sudden, you are hit with some Sunday night fear out of nowhere, and the feeling of dread starts sinking into your stomach as the thoughts of everything you have to do on Monday hit you. Some 76 per cent of people said they get Sunday blues, according to a poll by Monster.

Want to combat this feeling and strut into work on Monday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated? You can — just by treating your weekends like a holiday.

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In May 2017, researchers from UCLA put together a group of 500 working Americans on a Friday. They told half of them “treat the weekend like a vacation” and the other half “treat the weekend like a regular weekend.” They did not give specific instructions further than that, so participants were free to decide for themselves what treating the weekend like a vacation actually meant.

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When they went back to work on Monday, the group of participants who had been told to treat their weekend as a vacation reported being much happier than those who had just a regular weekend. When reporting their happiness level on a scale of 1 to 7, those having weekend “vacations” gave a mean score of 5.24, higher than the control group, which had a mean score of 4.83.

How to achieve the holiday mindset

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of treating every weekend as a holiday complete with turquoise seas and endless cocktails. Kids need to be dropped to football training, the grocery shop needs to be done, the bathroom won’t clean itself. But you can still benefit from a holiday mindset.

The researchers found the happiness increase was due to the fact that the people on holiday mode were more present in their activities.

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, one of the researchers, Cassie Mogilner Holmes, said that overall, the people who were in holiday mode were “more mindful of and attentive to the present moment throughout their weekend’s activities”.

If you slow down while doing the necessary jobs, it will help you to go into your own holiday mode and relieve stress.  Holmes recommended: “Turn on some upbeat music in the car while running errands, or make yourself a margarita for folding laundry.”

You can also make some time each weekend to do something nice. Go for dinner, watch a movie, bake a cake. I guarantee you the chores will always be there — they can just wait for a couple of hours.

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