It's late afternoon on Sunday. The weekend hourglass is trickling down to its last bit of sand and you feel a pervasive sadness cascading over you.
As the afternoon wanes into evening, the intensity of the "Sunday blues" gets worse: job worries, angst and anxiety over undone weekend projects, and financial responsibilities.
You're not alone. Most people get gloomy on Sunday evening. Research shows that most people are saddest on Sunday and happiest on Friday. But do we need an expensive study to tell us that?!
There seems to be plenty of help for garden-variety Sunday blues. Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my favorite teachers, addresses it here. There's even a 10-point program for getting over the Sunday blues on WikiHow. Our friends over at The Third Metric have addressed it, too.
But if you're dealing with divorce, death, or any situation in which you're alone at midlife or beyond, the Sunday blues can be even more difficult.
There's no partner to fill the silence - no one to banter with, laugh with, cry with, even argue with. Memories of the past also seem to come flooding back on Sunday evening. The end of the weekend points out, more than ever, that you're now on a new journey.
Here are my top five unconventional tips to counter those Sunday demons, specifically for those of you recovering from divorce or other big life changes.
A basic rule of thumb: Forget all other responsibilities and take care of Numero Uno. You.
- Accept that the Sunday blues will arrive anytime after 3 p.m. If you get misty eyed, here's my unconventional advice: Go ahead and have a good cry! It's one of the fastest ways to clear stress hormones and toxins out of your body. Another suggestion is to write about your sadness. When you read your journal later, you'll see how far you've come.
- Don't do any prep for next week (Part 1). Exception: Care for your body. That means get a massage, take a bath, wash your hair, select your clothes. Exercise only if you love it, lie around and rest if you don't.
- Don't do any prep for next week (Part 2). Exception: Neaten up your house. Note the word neaten. That does not mean clean your house. It simply means tidy up. Do not cram any of the guilt-driven projects you "should" have done into the remaining weekend hours. It will all get done in due time, believe me.
- Do anything that makes you smile or laugh. I mean that literally. Suggestions: Phone a favorite friend. Watch your favorite non-violent television show or movie. Catch up on magazine reading. If nothing else, go to damnyouautocorrect.com for non-stop belly laughs.
- Go to bed early with a good book. If sleep is difficult, add a couple hours of rest to your bedtime. Hunker down and read. Turn off all electronics and place your silenced phone face down if it's next to the bed.
Above all, remember this: you've come a long way on your journey. You've worked hard to regain your balance, and you can be mighty proud of yourself. Don't let the Sunday blues get in your way! Stand tough!
If you'd like to learn more about re-inventing yourself after divorce when you're at midlife or beyond, please check out my previous blog posts.
If you need help concerning your own personal challenges, contact me personally.
Need upbeat energy first thing in the morning after those Sunday blues? Get my morning inspirations to get you energized for the day ahead. Go here for my 30-day audio download of inspirational (and often funny) four-minute messages to kick start your day for 30 days.
Kat goes international! Her book, Exhale Midlife Body Blues, was featured in the Irish Examiner.