Might and Main Monday: Dealing With Sunday Night Dread
September 10, 2018
So many folks who work a traditional Monday through Friday schedule often feel the Sunday night dread. It’s that creeping sadness that sits in our guts as we realize the weekend is over and we have to return to a job the next day. It clouds our enjoyment of dinner, of a movie, or whatever else we’re doing that evening. We don’t want to wake up early the next day, we don’t want to deal with the massive project waiting for us at the office, and we certainly don’t want to interact with colleagues we dislike.
A New Avenue of Anxiety
A few years ago, I taught a class at the community college where I’d earned my certification in horticulture. I was teaching a careers class and was a new teacher to the program. I was excited and nervous. After the first class kicked off, I felt more confident in how the quarter would progress and I settled in nicely enough. But one thing that ate at me every week was the Sunday night dread.
It came on just after dinner and before my husband and I would watch my beloved Downtown Abbey. I felt a gnawing sense of reluctance in my stomach. An anxious knot. A feeling like I’d rather call in sick and make the worry disappear than face it.
I think I experienced the dread not so much because of the class, which was fun to teach, but because of my responsibilities. Because I was a new instructor, I had to make sure I was organized and communicated well. I had to make sure I had wrinkle-free, cat-hair-free, professional clothes to wear. I had to even make sure the door to our building was unlocked as I was the first person in on a Monday morning. The office assistant came in the afternoons. And the security team had forgotten to unlock those doors in the past. I had to make sure I had their number handy at all times.
The responsibilities weighed on me. And they weighed on me in a way they didn’t when I woke up on Mondays to work a gardening job, and even less when I had a writing gig. On those Mondays, I was the keeper of my destiny. I could roll out of bed and throw on clothes and leave. There wasn’t as much prep and I knew well what I was doing. I barely gave work a thought on Sunday evenings.
The Dread Dissipates
As the class weeks passed, I calmed down, to the point where I could half-enjoy a Sunday evening. Now, in looking back on that time, I realize how I could have approached my anxiety. It’s very simple. I needed to remind myself that I was even there at all. That I existed to even experience it. Many people die before they’ve had a chance to try a new career choice. It sounds silly to think, “Well, I could be dead,” but it’s true. That I had a new week of life ahead of me was a gift. I think about this now that I’m a woman of a certain age. I realize how precious each day is.
If you’re reading this, it means you probably have another week of life ahead of you. At least I hope so, but chances are good. And so, I encourage you to seize the day and seize the week. Make the most of your Monday — and your Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Before you know it, you’ll wake up to another fun and freer Friday.
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Karen Hugg is a writer and gardener living in the Seattle area. She is a certified ornamental horticulturalist and Master Pruner. When not digging in the dirt, she writes. She's been published in various journals, anthologies, websites, and more. Her life is happily hectic but she's lucky to have a patient husband and sweet children. Her pets aren't bad either. To learn more, explore http://www.karenhugg.com.