Sunday is the last day of of the week and a day where people normally rest. Even god took a break on the 7th day of the week. Over the years there were periods where I enjoyed Sundays immensely and other times the exact opposite. I also realised that my mood on a Sunday is a good indicator of my overall satisfaction of my current state of life. The Sunday test is a term I coined recently after thinking back of Sundays in previous periods of my life and what this meant for me. The Sunday test is similar to taking your temperature. Depending on the thermometers result it might help you to take action.
The three scenarios
Switzerland’s Sundays can be notorious, especially when you come from a country where weekends are busy and you have a lot of options how to spend your time.
Switzerland is exactly the opposite, here Sundays offer very little opportunity to do something except enjoying nature. 20ish years ago it was a lot worse by the way, no gas station was open and on Saturday at 4 pm Zuerich basically turned the lights off until Monday.
My Sundays can be categorized in one of three distinctive scenarios, let’s start with the worst case.
Dreadful – When you fear the week ahead
There were times when the weekend was my island of sanity, the place and time in the week where I felt safe and able to enjoy some quality time. One time this was particular the case during my time in the army. While Sunday was still technically the weekend, time was also ticking away and Monday was looming around the corner with an evil grin. Sunday morning I told myself “Sunday is still long so no need to worry”. Early afternoon it was only half time so plenty to do before the next week. After dinner I tried to tell myself that I still have a whole night ahead of me before Monday is here, but I knew it was a lost battle. The reason for this kind of thinking was me trying to avoid something I knew was not avoidable yet I didn’t want to admit that to myself which made it even worse.
Boredom – Stuck in everyday life
Another common Sunday theme was boredom and a general lack of interested. This was the case during times when I was stuck in the comfort zone. My day job during that time was probably okay but not particularly exciting or challenging. Leisure time was either spent with going out a lot and having a few to many or wasting a bit too much time in your favourite competitive online shooter. There is nothing bad with spending a night out or playing video games but if practiced regularly while knowing that there are probably better things to do with your life is not satisfying. A subtle guilty feeling is sitting behind your back during those times, not telling you to stop but you know it is there looking at you with an expression of “is this really what you want to do with your life?”.
Satisfied – Life is in balance
And then there are times when a Sunday doesn’t feel different than any other day. This is the best case scenario when weekends are great but you don’t mind Mondays coming your way. In my case this happened when I was living abroad for a while and now, where I am generally happy where I am in life and with what I do.
Root of the problem
So why is it that a Sunday can feel more like torture than a day to relax and wind down? I boil it down to the following factors through my own experience:
- A lot of free time and not much to do = procrastination
- Stuck in the comfort zone
- Following the same routines over and over
- Surrounded by people that drag you down
- Spending your spare time mostly with passive consumption
All these points can be summarized in not taking any action and hibernating constantly in a reactive mode. This is like stepping into quicksand, you keep sinking and getting out gets more difficult with time.
What countermeasure are available?
There are of course a few remedies that will improve your Sundays. As mentioned above the most effective weapon is taking action.
First Step – Don’t turn a blind eye
Start by facing your demons instead of wishing them to magically disappear. While serving my obligatory duty in the Army I was only focusing on the bad. But there was plenty of good during that time too.
- Meeting people from different backgrounds
- Learning about strategy and weaponry
- How to handle myself under pressure
- Finishing something that was though and testing my endurance
Second step – Ditch reactive mode
The next step is to define a goal and work for it. You have a job that earns you little money and you blame the world for your bad luck? Save that energy and invest in yourself by learning. Set goals, track your progress and don’t dwell in the past.
Third step – Trust your gut
If nothing else helps change the scenery and travel to another part of the world with different rules and mindsets. Some years ago when my Sundays felt dreadful and I was in a rot my gut feeling told me to leave it all behind. I quit my well paid and laid back job, left my awesome flat share and with the intention to travel went to London.
Of course nothing came as planned and that was the beauty of it. I stayed almost two years in the UK met the most interesting people in my life that initiated a spark in me. That spark is still glowing and guiding me through life.
Running away is never an option but taking a time out to recharge and to get a view on your life from a different angle is a game changer.