Sunday Scaries (noun.): That feeling you have after a long weekend of ignoring your homework and going to social functions that cause you to question your entire existence. Usually, it goes a little something like this: you wake up at around 11:30 a.m. in a state of exhaustion and fog. After scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat for an hour, you are reminded of everything that you did this weekend. You go out to Starbucks to get a $6 coffee and spend the rest of the day struggling to do all the work you have put off while simultaneously questioning your future, regretting past decisions, and battling what always feels like your worst hangover of all time. Or is that just me?
My (almost) four years at college have been an endless cycle of Saturday peaks and Sunday valleys. I am constantly consumed by Sunday scaries. Up until this year, I have succumbed to the hangxiety (hangover-induced anxiety) and indulged in thoughts of regret and self-deprecation while eating Baked Lay’s in my bed all day long. However, I made a change this year and altered some of my Sunday habits in an effort to make it feel a lot less scary. Sundays for me now are a day of resetting from a long weekend and preparing for a new week ahead. Here are some things that I find super helpful in combating the scaries:
- Change your environment
I used to sit in my room all day on Sundays and engage in a constant battle between my desk and my bed. Now, though, I seldom do homework at home on Sundays. This change started last year when Zoom-University meant that I was at my desk in my bedroom 24/7. These days, I sit outside on campus or go to a coffee shop to do my homework. Even if it is not to do homework or study, per se, I think just getting out of your room and getting some fresh air is so important. Go for a walk, sit on the quad, do something to get out of your room. If you aren’t trapping yourself in your bedroom, it is more difficult to trap yourself in a rut.
- Eat something yummy (… but also kind of healthy)
I used to spend my Sundays getting Diet Cokes and chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. I thought it was an infallible hangover cure. It wasn’t until I swapped the McNuggets for a Village Juice breakfast wrap or smoothie that I realized that greasy fast food just makes it worse. After a weekend of staying up late, going to parties, and not being healthy, it is so important to fuel your body with the good stuff. I like to start with lemon water (or two) and have something substantial for breakfast that doesn’t come from a drive-thru. It doesn’t have to be egg whites and spinach, but eating something delicious and nutritious definitely makes me feel so much better. I still go for the Diet Coke, though. I can’t ever give up the Diet Coke.
- Call your Mom or Dad or Grandma or Best Friend or Sister or…
We are always so busy during the week that we do not take the time to reconnect with people that we don’t see every day in college. And then the weekend rolls around, and you are so done with another week of school that you go to parties to socialize and ignore your issues. And then it’s already Sunday, and you are so overwhelmed by everything you put off that you do not have time to call loved ones. Instead of falling into this pattern, a new Sunday routine that I am trying to implement is to call someone that I don’t speak to. Whether it be my grandparents, my younger sister, my older brother, my dad, or a high school best friend, it doesn’t matter! It just puts me in such a good mood to talk to someone that I love!
- Pamper yourself
Last Sunday I drove myself to Target and bought 3 fall candles, a jade roller, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. My roommates and I then proceeded to watch Step Brothers that night. I used to spend my Sundays not allowing myself to take time for myself, convincing myself that I spent the whole weekend ignoring my work and I wasn’t allowed to do it anymore. But spending your Friday nights in a sweaty fraternity basement and Saturday mornings getting sunburnt and covered in beer at a tailgate (though very fun) is not self-care. Whether it be doing your skincare, watching your favorite movie, making your family’s Sunday sauce for your roommates (my dad finally let me in on the family recipe), journaling, or doing anything to pamper yourself and take care of your mental and physical wellbeing is so, so, SO important
- Stop putting pressure on yourself
This was probably the hardest Sunday behavior change for me to implement, and I still am working on it. But here’s the deal: we are college students. We are allowed to have fun. College is not about studying 24/7. So what if you drank one-or-two many White Claws? Or said something embarrassing to the boy in your elementary statistics class? You are not a bad friend, bad student, or bad person, and I promise he doesn’t remember it. Any thoughts of regret or self-deprecation are just a result of the hangxiety. You are your harshest critic, and we constantly hold ourselves to harsh and unrealistic expectations. College is difficult, and the weekend is about (*responsibly*) having fun with your friends and blowing off steam from this week. Stop overthinking everything you said this weekend and all the time you spent not doing homework.
As I sit here writing this article, it is Sunday morning. I had a weekend of ignoring homework and going to social functions. I woke up this morning and I bought my $6 Starbucks and started to question my existence. But this time, the Baked Lay’s are remaining in the pantry, I have lemon water beside the all-too-expensive Starbucks, and my roommate is currently waiting for me to finish this up so we can go on a walk through Reynolda trails in the fresh air and sunlight. It is not that scary at all once you put away the negative thoughts and accept that Sundays can be a peaceful, enjoyable day to reset.
*Disclaimer: I am 21 years old. While “Sunday scaries” are not restricted to those that can legally drink alcohol on the weekends, I make explicit references to hangovers and functions involving alcohol, which are intended for those that are 21-and-over.*