World Mental Health Day 2022: what are the ‘Sunday Scaries’ and how is work related stress being tackled?

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‘Be Kind To Your Mind’ campaign revealed for Mental Health Day 2022 to help combat the Sunday Scaries.

As Mental Health Day 2022 begins, research has shown that two-thirds of Brits experience a form of work related stress dubbed the Sunday Scaries - known professionally as work related anticipatory anxiety.

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) conducted a study that showed 74% of those between 18 and 24 years old experiencing heightened anticipatory anxiety as the weekend comes to a close.

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Those anxieties have been known to include fears of Monday morning to-do lists, the first commute for the week and even remote working and maintaining a work-life balance while working from home.

The OHID have started a campaign in conjunction with the NHS from today called Every Mind Matters, which aims to help those struggling with anxiety and stress and stressing the importance for people to “be kind to your mind.”

What are the Sunday Scaries?

The Sunday Scaries have been shown to peak just after 5pm on Sunday as thoughts turn to the week aheadThe Sunday Scaries have been shown to peak just after 5pm on Sunday as thoughts turn to the week ahead
The Sunday Scaries have been shown to peak just after 5pm on Sunday as thoughts turn to the week ahead | Canva

Though some people refer to the Monday morning blues as “a case of the Mondays”, work-related anticipatory anxiety has become a worrying trend regarding mental wellbeing in the United Kingdom.

Sunday Scaries can cause a lack of sleep, a heightened sense of anxiety ahead of the working week and have been shown to peak just after 5pm on Sunday as thoughts turn to the week ahead with Google searches around sadness spiking, as many people look for help.

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The new research, commissioned by OHID, found that overall 67% of Britons frequently experience anxiety on a Sunday. To distract themselves, those aged 18-24 said they turned to social media, those aged 25-32 were most likely to binge watch TV and respondents aged 33-40 most likely to comfort eat.

What is being done to help with Sunday Scaries?

Every Mind Matters is a website set up by the OHID to assist with the overall well being of Britain’s mental health, providing tips for self-taught Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, newsletters to provide anxiety-easing messages and a free Mind Plan.

The Mind Plan asks users five questions to help create a personalised mental health action plan with tips and advice to help you be kind to your mind - the phrase being used throughout the campaign.

A number of famous names including pop star Tom Grennan, former Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt and BBC Radio 1 host Vick Hope are supporting the campaign alongside psychologist Kimberley Wilson.

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“These ‘distraction’ habits can actually exacerbate the problem. It’s so important to enjoy every last minute of your weekend and start the week in the best frame of mind” Wilson explains. “If you experience the Sunday Scaries like clockwork every week or feel sad or anxious, try getting active, which can help you to burn off nervous energy.

“Writing down or keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s causing anxiety and what you need to do to help manage it. Small things can make a big difference to our mental wellbeing.”

What if I’m struggling and need help?

The most important thing if you’re feeling overwhelmed is to remember - it’s ok not to be ok.

If you need help, you can call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans or text SHOUT to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line (or text "YM" if you’re under 19.)

You can also visit Mind, who also provide online help for those struggling with mental health and feel overwhelmed to make an immediate phone call.

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