Dread is a Dead End – 4 Ways to Kick the Sunday Night Blues

There are few things that are worse than dreading something. I remember as a kid when I would disobey my parents (we both know that didn’t happen much! Ha ha ha!) and my dad or mom would say, “You are going to get punished when we get home!” Immediately, my stomach would start churning, I’d get jittery, and the nervousness would begin. I’d start obsessing and imagining my punishment, which always made it worse.

Upon arriving home, I’d pray that my parents forgot what they said. I’d try to distract them by making a joke or quietly head to my room and sneak straight to bed escaping the dreaded punishment. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t, but the punishment my mind made up was always worse than what actually happened.

For many people, the dreaded Sunday night blues tend to work the same way. We think, “I really don’t want to go in tomorrow and deal with THAT client, THAT problem, THAT employee, or THAT boss.” We start building mountains out of molehills and before long, Monday seems outright impossible!

Here are four ways that I’ve fought these feelings and have beaten Sunday night into submission.

Visualize a Favorable Outcome

Circumstances rarely end up how we predict. When we imagine negative things, we end up with negative outcomes. Conversely, when we visualize favorable results, we will begin building mental pathways that guide us toward great outcomes. Our minds are more powerful than we realize.

When I was in my first job out of college, I had to prepare for a tough client meeting. I had received multiple nasty emails from the main decision maker and knew this meeting would be difficult. I dreaded it for weeks. When the day finally came for the meeting, my boss and I sat down with the client, and I sheepishly began navigating the agenda. To my surprise, I quickly learned that my client’s bark was far worse than her bite. We had a great meeting and left with multiple opportunities for more business. That day I learned that I could have saved myself a lot of stress and sleep if I would’ve just visualized a favorable outcome.

When we imagine negative things, we end up with negative outcomes. Conversely, when we visualize favorable results, we will begin building mental pathways that guide us toward great outcomes.

Build a Plan

Sometimes when I know that I am going to have to re-engage into a tricky situation I will build a plan for how I want to do it. For instance, when I see that difficult boss who’s going to want to nail me down again asking where his TPS reports are (you gotta love a good Office Space reference) I will simply tell him that I have time set up today at 10:00 AM to run them and that he should see them by 12:00 PM. Having a plan will take a lot of wind out of that difficult person’s sails.

Stay Positive

It goes without question that positive people are more fun to be around. If you are dreading a negative situation or dealing with a negative person, decide to be the positive one. Choose not to say one negative thing. What you’ll find is that the negative person feeds off more negativity, but when it runs out, there isn’t much to say. In fact, in some instances you may see the negative person make a bit of a turn and start to become more positive.

Create a Distraction

The Sunday night blues aren’t always people related; sometimes they’re task related. When you find yourself hating a chore at work, try to create a distraction to make it fun. I worked at a place once where every Friday was typically the toughest, most intense day of the week. Instead of dreading it, I created what I called “Beastie Boy Friday”. I would crank Beastie Boy tunes from my short-walled cube all day. If you walked by, you’d more than likely hear me say, “If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked. I’ll stir fry you in my wok!” For the guys sitting next to me, that became the day we all looked forward to instead of dreaded.So don’t hate Sunday night, instead look at it as a challenge and take some steps to making your world and those around you better!