Zoë Foster Blake tackles the gloom that can cloud day two of the weekend.
Ahh, the Sunday Sads.
Mine usually kicked off with a crushing hangover, and while initially there may have been a burst of joy as I recalled the fun night I’d had, or even a pash I’d danced my way into at a club, or seeing my bestie skoll a thickshake at 3am as we waited for a cab, by the middle of the day the S-Sads would kick in.
The lack of routine and Stuff To Do deeply reinforced my solo status, and of course, since Sunday is historically Thai food and Tracksuit Pants night for loved-up goons, the silence of being single was very, very loud. I was looking down the barrel of another week that required so much energy: to pretend I was fine and happy and everything was peachy, and enthusiastically say yes to everything while actively blocking the usual break-up feels.
I’d feel sorry for myself. Hangovers would make me depressive. The uncertainty of no plans made me anxious. A phone that was blowing up the day before with plans and excitement now lay torturously dormant. If I had seen or contacted an ex the previous night I would be deeply regretting whatever that interaction was. I’d clean my place, do my washing and eat my shame burrito and fries, knowing the eerie, overly contemplative evening stretched ahead for about 5000 kilometres.
Even if you don’t drink, were up at 6am and went to Pilates before baking muffins and heading off to lunch with your mates and hitting the beach, you’re not immune to the Sunday Sads. Sunday is just inherently quieter. A day for introspection. A day when insufferable loved-up couples go for brunch and buy milk and zucchini for the week ahead, and adorable families go for bike rides, just to rub your nose in the fact you’re alone. Or rather, lonely. (Yes, they are different: you can be alone and very happy; lonely means you’re feeling isolated and forlorn.)
Even people who aren’t heartbroken get the Sunday Sads. Serious Weekday You starts to appear, and Fun Weekend You starts to fade, you slept in too late and had a coffee at 4pm and now you’re completely wired at 11pm . . . it’s a disaster.
And, just to further mess shit up, you’re much more likely to hear from your ex on a Sunday. They’re not immune to the Sunday Sads. They’re hungover too. They’re lonely. They’re horny. But don’t fall into the trap. Sunday evenings are simply a six-hour challenge of your strength and willpower to win at break-ups, and make big steps towards Future You. Remember: You are the boss of this break-up. You call the shots. You’re strong, and you’re solid.
Here’s what you’ll do.
- As much of the fun, upbeat stuff you normally do on Saturdays on Sunday, so that you stay busy and feel productive. Family visits, hair appointments, errands, shopping and so on. Do the shit you don’t like, such as extra work, food prep or cleaning, on Saturday instead, because dull, routine stuff can compound any low feelings.
- Volunteer work will lift your spirits immeasurably. Helping people (or animals) who really need it is not only a fantastic distraction, but a positive, productive and selfless way to enhance your life, but more than that, other people’s lives.
- Enforce some kind of ‘active leisure’ on Sunday nights instead of watching shitty TV and checking your phone 1000 times. Go see a movie, or have dinner out – stay busy, in other words.
- Exercise. Don’t bitch and moan, don’t make it a chore, just put in headphones and do it.
- Don’t engage with the ex. Draft as many texts as you’d like; don’t send them. Cry and feel like shit as you watch them calling, but do not answer. It’s a big step backwards.
- Consider going out-out on a Sunday night instead of a Saturday. Controversial! A friend of mine swears by it, and if she ends up having one too many, she claims it’s better to waste a hangover on a workday, rather than on her day off. You gotta concede the logic . . .
- Make me some cupcakes and send them on over. Just 50 or so should do it.
And here’s some stuff to remember if Heavy Thoughts start to overwhelm you.
- You can’t get to properly happy until you drive through properly sad.
- People don’t change: who your ex was then is who they are now. Just cos you’re sad doesn’t mean they’re awesome.
- Don’t confuse ‘hard’ and ‘painful’ for ‘love’ and ‘real’.
- Don’t blame their new partner. It’s not about them. Or your ex. Just you.
- Don’t confuse temporary loneliness for ‘getting back together is a great idea’.
- Your feelings are not a priority to your ex. They’re doing them; you do you.
- If they are pleading to see or speak to you: no. If you can’t resist, schedule the catch-up for a week’s time. (You’ll be strong again by then and will cancel.)
- You’re never really alone because you always have you. And if you aren’t good enough company for you, then you really need to change that.