Health & Strength

Friday,10th June 2016

How’s your health? One could ask, how long have you been working in your stressful job? One could also ask, how do you feel when you know you have to go back to work tomorrow? Do you feel stressed?

Have you become use to the ‘Sunday evening blues’

Have you taken it for granted? It seems to be the norm, here in the UK for people to add negativity to the thought of going back to work after the weekend or few days off.

Adverts show people looking forward to Friday, Jumping throwing files in the air, everyone with smiles on their faces, people explaining what they are going to do on the weekend.

Then there is the back to work on Monday advert. These adverts are dull, depressed faces are depicted by frowns.

These frowns are caused by the mere thought of going back to work after a few days off. A British study reported in The Observer newspaper ,found that 26 percent of workers questioned, felt dread and apprehension on the day they were due to return to work. German and Swedish researchers, in their 2009 paper said that, surveys of 12,000 individuals confirmed that Sundays are the least happy day for most people, while Fridays are the happiest.

Some people, even as a child dreaded Mondays, Josephine Fairly, wrote in the Daily Telegraph on 15th June 2014 that she ‘’vividly remember the childhood dread of Sunday nights, the gloom that would descend as I realised that the weekend was coming to a close, and the carefreedom I'd enjoyed for 48 blissful hours was about to be replaced by History, Latin and Maths’’. This dread flowed into adulthood as she states that ‘a mini-depression would set in around’ 7pm Sunday evening.

It is sometimes called Sunday evening blues or Sunday night blues (coined by Austrian psychotherapist Victor).It has many names. Some call it the "Sunday Scaries." Others call it "The Weirds," "The Sunday Blues," or "The Sunday Spookies." Most people know it as "The Fear." This is an acute condition, mostly affecting nine-to-five workers and students. This condition is characterized by the notion or anxiety about the week ahead with a sense of helplessness and depression. People state that ‘’it creeps up on us, as we begin to transition from the weekend, to the reality of the impending work-week.” Symptoms can range from a vague sense of uneasiness to full blown panic attacks.

In a 2013 poll from the career site, 81 percent of American respondents said they get Sunday-night blues—and 59 percent said they experience them “really bad.”

The Huffington Post states a whacking 78 per cent of respondents said they suffer from the 'Sunday Night Blues'.

Frankl,  in 1946, suggested this problem is far from new. The names may vary, but all of them describe negative feelings - including anxiety, dread or plain sadness - that can accompany the knowledge that you'll return to a difficult or stressful job on Monday.

The Sunday night blues have probably existed in some form since the start of the five-day workweek, which became institutionalized in the U.S. in 1926, after Henry Ford began shutting down his automotive factories on Saturday and Sunday.

Again, how’s your health? how many Sunday evening mini mental breakdowns, are going to have before you start to live the life you where destine to have. I remember being out of work for nine months, after which I got a job, working as a ‘as and when needed’ health care assistant. Boy was I glad for every shift I was given…. I’d often get Monday mornings 6am – 10am. No nervous breakdowns there. Reason…….Grateful and wanting to be there.

Imagine the feeling of doing something, you can’t believe you get paid for. That is what it’s like when you are doing what you are passionate about for a living. Mornings become like a starting line on a race track. You can’t wait to get started. I go to bed at 2am because half the time I don’t realize the time, and I’m up at 7am (sometimes 3.50am that’s something Rumi talks about – we’ll come back to that on a later subject). Is that 19 hours working?

Why would anyone in their right mind, work for that many hours at something they disliked? Why would someone commute to a place where they have to deal with colleagues that can only be described as angels cunningly disguised aswork mates from hell. Why would anyone accept less than they are worth, for the work they do? Maybe not you, maybe you don’t do as many hours as I do, but even working the ‘norm’ 36.5 hours a week with bad pay, bad working conditions, bad work mates and low moral is enough to cause you stress. As mentioned earlier people just take it as a given, that they are going to dislike Mondays or the day they return to work after a few days off. Have you ever noticed ‘how good’ a work colleague looks after they have come back to work from a holiday? Not necessarily aboard, but just time off? They come back looking less stressed. Be honest, you know you’ve noticed.

Nobody sits down with a pen and paper and adds up the amount of stress they are under……So lets do some sums.

How Stressed are you?

Lets score it.

1 – 10.

1= Little or no stress and numbers up to 10= Very stressed

Work Stress                                     

Partner stress                         

Children stress                    

Relative Stress

Parents Stress

Friends Stress

Financial Stress

Housing Stress

Vehicle/Travel Stress

Health Stress

 1 - 30 Mild Stress

                        31 – 40 Moderate Stress – Slow down

                        40 +

What did you score? I am not your practitioner, but you know if you’ve scored 40+ Something will have to change or something will change!!! Something will give way.

What you do with that ‘Only for fun’ Stress test, is up to you. But you must admit, the amount of stress you have been under, may not have been a priority. Or you may not have paid any attention to your stress levels. Now you can see with your own eyes, how stressful your life has become.

I hope you are reading this with a cup of tea and your feet up. Chances are you are hunched over a computer……Chill out a minute or two Please.

Right, we have done the stress bit. Lets do some stressless stuff.

Think about your passion – Think about engaging in your passion and doing it for a living. Think for a moment….What does it feel like? Use words to describe it…. For me those words are bliss, joy, stressless, an utopia zone, contentment. I could go on…..What words did you use? (Right there, you’ve alleviated a little stress from your shoulders) How long did it take you to go back to your stressful ‘It can’t work’ self? Be honest

Image your work days, were filled with doing what you are passionate about. What do you think that would do for your health and well being? Just something to think about. You should consider yourself happier, because you are doing something you love. What do you think that would do for your relationships? The relationship with your Parents, Partner, Children, Siblings, Friends and if remain at work, your angelic colleagues.

Add to that mix, your passion bringing in a few extra pounds every week, with the potential of making more, the more time you spend at it. Would that alleviate some financial stress? Imagine earning enough to sort out that housing issue you have, or even buying another house? Still staying with the thought that you are earning enough to alleviate some financial problems,. Maybe you could upgrade your current vehicle or stop travelling during rush hour. mmmmm It’s just a thought…

Lets Re-cap You are working at what you are passionate about. This immediately makes you into a more pleasant person, a more tolerant person, why? Because you are less stressed. You are more approachable, you find yourself less rushed, so less irritated. Your passion has yielded some financial increase, which in turn has helped to sort out your housing and travel issues. Now what’s left from our ‘for fun’ Stress test? Oh Health….Well as I said I am not your practitioner, but if you are less stressed, your health may improve. What do you think? You now have a happier household. I say happier but please be aware that following your passion will open up a can of worms. It will allow you to see the amount of stress you have been allowing yourself to take up. Sometimes when I look back at what my life use to be, I feel sad. I remember finishing a night shift, going on to my day shift, coming home and trying feavous to find, book and attend a house viewing. After which I would drive back to house clean, eat, shower and sleep before doing it all over again. I have on occasions fallen asleep at the keyboards or whilst holding a cup of tea. And having my children tell me to go to bed. My sleep was never rest as I’d dream of the bailiff coming with the police to remove me and my children from our home. Or some similar night mere. Having slept and dreamt, I’d get to work to be met by, as mentioned above, angelic beings masquerading as work mates from hell. I, on the other hand, always smiling, always giving 100%. If you have ever worked with me, you would never know the amount of stress I endured. Sometimes just to add insult to injury, I’d get a call from one of my children (all over the age of 14) stating that this had happened or that had happened….Sometimes it was trivial, sometimes not, and it would depend on which child called. I have even had my children turn up at my work place to complain about one issue or another. Just thinking about it makes me sigh….but that was then……Things are different now.

Following your passion and becoming less stressed, will have you looking at other areas of your life. You will distant yourself from Type B people, which could be within your immediate friends and family circle. You may begin to get an idea of your worth and expect more from your current employer or leave all together. You may come to the realization, as I did, that what you have been putting your body through, would not be conducive to your health in the long run. I was in a constant fight or flight mode, not healthy. You may begin to carve out time, just for you.

If you are anything like me, you’ll find that new found freedom a little hard to indulge in. For two months after leaving my last job, I felt guilty for sitting around , in fact it was difficult to sit in my arm chair and put my feet up . I felt uneasy to sit on my sofa, and get cosy under a throw my daughter insisted on buying, as she said, ‘its what people have on their sofas mum.’ I’d sit there looking around the room trying to find something to tidy or rearrange. Instead of just sitting there and enjoying a film or just sit there and relax.

In the two months since leaving my last job, I’ve been able to resonate with people who snuggle up on the sofa, in the evening with a pack crisps and a drink. I hadn’t sat and watched a film with my daughter in about a year – Shameful. I’d be just too busy, agitated or tired, to allow myself to just sit still, and do that rare verb in my vocabulary, ‘relax’. People now tell me that I look more relaxed and happy….That’s because I AM. God knows I really am.

Nobody in the Western world can be truly stress free, But I have surly put relax back in my vocabulary. In fact I’m sitting on the sofa now, my legs are on the foot stool and are covered with the throw I now have, while I write this rendition of my blog by hand, before typing it up on the computer. Oh what a life. I am at work on my sofa, doing what I love. I am not here to boast. I am here to tell you that you too can have that feeling of freedom. You owe it to yourself. Small steps is how you do it.

Start by dictating to everyone around you that between 1 – 2 on Saturday is your time. During that time you indulge in your passion. I understand that not all households can just take an ‘hour off’. Remember if you work for seven hours outside the home, you are entitled to an hour break.

As mentioned in my Blog ‘Who’s holding you back’ You will need to ask members of your household to help, stipulating exactly how they can help you pursue your passion. Your family deserve a happier, stressless you and your community, if not the world need your contributions. The talent that YOU have kept hidden all those years. Remember It’s not yours to keep, It’s yours to SHARE.

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A look at what you do for a living, using examples from my life, that is, being a single mother at 17, being evicted from homes, enduring domestic violence to gaining an Honours degree in Psychology. I went on to study a Masters in Counselling psychology and PhD, to helping others find and follow their passion regardless of what life has thrown at them.