The Sunday Dread: How Toxic Work Leaches Into Our Free Time

You can call it the Sunday scaries, Sunday dread, Sunday blues, or whatever you’d like, but the harsh truth is far too many Americans spend their limited weekend free time stressed out about returning to the office on Monday. 

One user came to the popular antiwork community on Reddit to find out work culture had the same negative impact on others. 

Does anyone else hate their toxic job this much? Nightmares and all?” they asked.

1000% Agreement

Most users commiserated. Dreading work so much it ruins your weekend is an all too common phenomenon. 

“Sunday for me is just full of work dread,” replied one user. “I never sleep well on Sunday nights.”

“Friday night and Saturday morning are full of such potential,” commented another, adding, “Then by Sunday morning, you are worried you wasted your weekend, and then comes the Sunday afternoon existential dread of another week at work.”

Depression Sets in on Sunday Night

Many users used the term Sunday scaries or Sunday blues to describe what OP felt and shared their stories on how the Sunday dread affects them. 

“Not until Sunday evening, and then I start feeling depressed,” said one user. 

Staying Up Late

Others said they stay up as late as possible on Sunday night because they don’t want to wake up and go to work on Monday. 

“It’s after 11 here, and I’m dreading going to bed because as soon as the alarm goes off, it’s back to h*ll,” replied one user. 

Quitting Helps

Many users said not working significantly reduced their Sunday night anxiety. 

“The only time in my life I enjoy is the brief window after I’ve quit a job but haven’t run out of money yet,” stated one user. 

“I got laid off in October and got a decent severance package. It’s the best!” exclaimed another. 

Of course, quitting isn’t a reasonable option for the vast majority of people experiencing work-related depression and anxiety. They need their jobs to survive. 

Better Solutions for Sunday Dread

There are some things we can do to avoid Sunday night blues. As individuals, we can try to get better jobs without toxic managers or stop caring so much about a job that doesn’t care about us. 

Unfortunately, most of the problems leading to Sunday scaries are institutional, and there’s not much individuals can do to change it. 

A Paradigm Shift

However, we can work towards shifting culture. Currently, our toxic work culture elevates work above all else. We can change that and celebrate humanity instead. We can put people and wellness above profits. 

In addition, we can shift the way we think about work and schedules. The nine-to-five and forty-hour work week are outdated. With the rise in technology, we no longer need to dedicate most of our time to work

We can lean into remote work opportunities so people can live where they want and not stress about commutes. 

Any of these changes would reduce the impact of Sunday Scaries on people’s personal lives. 

It’s time to have these difficult conversations and change how we think about work.