Sunday night blues. The inevitable doom and gloom about returning to work to battle your inbox on Monday morning. They happen to everyone from time to time, right? The problem gets so much worse when you're suffering from burnout.
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar:
- You don't make plans for the weekend because you are too damn busy;
- You get to Friday night and have no idea what to do.
- You pop along to the pub with friends or colleagues for a drink but by the bottom of the first glass you are so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open;
- You stumble home due to exhaustion and/or happy hour and fall asleep;
- Waking up Saturday morning you feel like hell - you ache all over, you're exhausted and could sleep through the whole day (and let's be honest, you might have a tiny hangover too, damn happy hour);
- But you can't stay in bed because you realise just how much you have to do. The list of errands, chores, things on the to do list are just endless and to top it off, you promised your friends and family that you wouldn't flake on them again this weekend;
- So you drag yourself around, all the while wanting to go back to bed/lie on the sofa eating crisps and watching an entire season of Orange Is The New Black;
- You get half of your errands done when all of a sudden - it's Sunday night.
- You feel overwhelmed, stressed, down about returning to work and have no idea what happened to your weekend.
This was my life every single weekend for a decade. Save and except the couple of years when I worked overtime/second jobs (because: money) and would cram all this negative emotion into a single day.
It is both physically and emotionally exhausting being this negative and running this consistent gauntlet of emotion. Your body was built for fighting off another person with a rock or fleeing from a lion. It was not built for this endless treadmill of emotional highs and lows perpetuated by feelings of overwhelm, guilt and pressure.
You can change this rhetoric, right now. Have a spare 10 minutes? Then try these three steps for instant Sunday night happiness.
Step one: what single thing could you do right now to make yourself feel better? Put down the wine and chocolate because this isn't about food, it's about a physical and emotional release and an act of self kindness.
Whether it is a Sunday night yoga class, kicking back to watch that dvd that you bought weeks ago and 'haven't had time' for yet or pulling out a boardgame with a loved one and kicking their ass at monopoly, choose something that makes you smile the moment you think of it. You get five extra bonus points if your choice includes other people, ten if it includes your dog.
Step two: make a plan. Right now, grab a pen and paper and list all the things you could do next weekend. Done? Now cross through every single thing that is a chore or errand. Add in those things that you keep thinking you'll do 'one day' and putting off; finally getting on the high-wire at Go Ape; visiting a local site of interest or National Trust property; arranging that brunch with your friends that you keep meaning to do; taking your dog to the beach for a walk (extra points again for borrowing someone else's dog with permission of course).
Step three: share your list. This isn't staying in your head. Make is concrete. Get out your firm and message those friends to arrange the brunch, buy tickets to the zoo online. Get people involved and create a plan for next weekend that will leave you on a Sunday night high, not down in the doldrums.
I'm here to help you beat burnout, build your resilience to be able to deal with bumps in the road. If you're struggling with burnout, exhausted and overwhelmed then I would love to gift you my free ebook Burnout First Aid. It's filled with the first three steps I took to beat my own burnout, whilst still working my demanding job as a lawyer. Simply pop your details in here and I'll send it to you right away!