Job Doc

I’m so anxious about my work week that my weekends are becoming less of a rest period and more just an anxious couple of days. What can I do? Elaine Varelas provides insight

Feeling a little anxious about work sometimes is typical but living in a constant state of dread is a problem. Elaine Varelas provides insight on how to manage your work anxieties and what steps you could take to alleviate some of that dread.

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Q: Every Sunday, I’m starting to get a sense of dread thinking about returning to the office on Monday. I’m anxious whenever the weekend ends, be it worrying about what a troublesome coworker might say, a deadline I may have missed, something I messed up, or otherwise. I heard this is called the Sunday Blues and a lot of people seem to feel the same way. Is there any way to fix this issue, or should I think about finding a different job?

A: That’s got to be a terrible way for every Sunday to feel for you. You used some very powerful words like dread, worry, and blues that are important for you to consider. Often people can have emotional reactions to the end of an especially great weekend or something special that happened during that time. But for you to have a consistently negative or worrisome view of what’s waiting for you during the work week suggests you should take a deeper look at what is causing these emotions for you. Take the opportunity now to get some support to understand what is happening, why, and what you can do it minimize (if not eliminate) the negative impact this is having on your life. I encourage you to get that support as soon as possible because you’ll need emotional strength and energy should you decide to get another job. Without putting yourself in a positive state of mind about work, you won’t have the energy to conduct a successful job search.

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And you’re not alone. Employee assistant programs are currently reporting that mental health issues have increased dramatically over the last two years during the duration of COVID-19. In June 2020, representative panel surveys were compiled by the CDC and some participating healthcare groups to look at various mental health struggles. Their findings showed that 40.9% of the people surveyed reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition.

(Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm#contribAff)

Additionally, according to a survey done in December 2021 by SleepJudge, out of a group of American workers they surveyed, 81% of people said they had an increase in anxiety on Sunday when thinking about the work week ahead. That broke down into 15% feeling dread or anxiety first thing Sunday morning, 29% feeling it by Sunday afternoon, and 57% of people feeling an intense sense of anxiety Sunday evening. Additionally, 62% were concerned about Monday the most, resulting in bad sleeping habits on Sunday.

(Source: https://www.thesleepjudge.com/sunday-scaries/#%25-of-people-who-experience-anxiety-on-sunday)

If you find that the reason for your blues is circumstantial and closely tied to work (manager, colleagues, and culture), how you deal with those challenges could be beneficial. You can learn new coping mechanisms and build up your emotional strength. Doing so may allow you to make your current situation more tolerable and you’ll be able to search for a new job more successfully.

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What we’re talking about is a scale. Regretting the end of the weekend can happen regularly, but regretting how you will spend the next five days is not a position you want to be in. Look for resources – does your company have an EAP (employee assistance program) for you to access? Can you call HR? If not or if you need additional support, you use online mental health support groups such as BetterHelp, Talkspace, Cerebral, Ayana Therapy, Wellnight, Amwell, and Pride Counseling or app tools like Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace, and MyLife Meditation to assist you. Additionally, look to your manager. Is your manager a source of support or a source of dread? If they are not a source of support, consider others within the organization if that’s possible. In the end, I encourage you not to let this linger and to make a phone call to gather the necessary support to make a positive impact on your life.

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