Seven tips to help beat the Sunday blues

Who wants to waste a weekend day worrying or feeling terrible? We've got some pro tips for you.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

There's something about Sunday that makes some people sad, right? Or rather, maybe many things. It could be that it marks the end of the weekend, with another stressful workweek looming. Or it could just be a bad hangover!

Whatever the reason, who wants to waste a weekend day worrying or feeling terrible? We've got pro tips – from a positive psychology expert, a registered dietitian and a personal trainer/registered dietitian – to help us have a happier Sunday, despite what's got us down.

Get moving

"Hands down, just getting moving is going to improve your mood," said Nanci Guest, a registered dietitian and personal trainer in Toronto. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel happy. Take a stroll in the park, go for a run or do some at-home yoga for a boost of happiness.

Invest in quality outdoor gear

Winter blahs making your Sunday dread worse? Wearing proper clothing is half the battle when it comes to surviving a Canadian winter. "Don't let the weather scare you," said Guest, who points out that research suggests going for walks in nature can prevent depression. A quality pair of boots, a good insulated jacket and a proper toque can make the difference between feeling motivated to head outside and staying cooped up watching TV, she said.

Get cooking

If you're dreading how busy you'll be during the week, address it straight on. Do what you can to make your week easier; batch cooking on Sunday is popular for a reason, and you are better off doing it strategically. Registered dietitian Hélène Charlebois suggests making three big batches of food: one batch could be a vegetarian casserole, stew or soup, to ensure you get your veggies in, another could be cooked individual portions of meat, such as chicken or salmon burgers, that are easy to throw on salads or in wraps, and another could be a roast, such as a roast chicken or a pork tenderloin. With all these meals, you'll have more than enough for a hearty Sunday evening and food throughout the week.

Do brunch

So many reasons to head out for brunch beyond that killer french toast! Trying a new brunch spot will give you something to look forward to on a gloomy Sunday, said Charlebois. It's also a great chance to get together with friends and catch up over food – without having to worry about doing the dishes after.

Change your job, or consider it

If you truly dread going to work each week, it might not be you – it might be the job. Having the Sunday blues could be a sign you need a new job, said Jamie Gruman, an associate professor in the department of management at the University of Guelph and former chair of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association. "It can actually be worthwhile to take those blues seriously," he said. If you think this might be you, consider planning a career shift, or even spending your Sunday applying to new jobs.

Don't draw on the same resources

If you're a lawyer who spends weekdays arguing in court, and a parent who spends weekends arguing with the referee at your kid's soccer game, this is a bad. It means you're depleting the same resources you use during the week – in this case, brain power needed for arguments – on the weekend, without giving your brain a chance to rest and recover, said Gruman. "Sunday afternoon is going to come, and you're still going to feel depleted," he said. The solution: figure out what resources you use during the week – for example, physical labour or mental focus – and avoid activities that require those resources over the weekend.

Disconnect from work

Can't stop checking your work email on the weekend? You're doing yourself a disservice. "It's not enough to physically leave the office, you have to mentally leave the office," said Gruman. "If you don't psychologically detach…you're not going to feel recovered." And don't feel guilty about unplugging; research suggests relaxing on the weekend means you'll feel recovered from the last week and better set up for a productive Monday morning. Think of it as mandatory down time.


Katrina Clarke is a Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. Find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.