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It’s usually around 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon when it starts. It’s worse in the winter when days are short. Dark, slippery, and foreboding it’s difficult to explain exactly what this feeling is about without sounding slightly ridiculous.

Given that it happens so often, I should be less vulnerable but getting sucked in is part of the problem. It’s a little bit “first day of school” tremors, a little bit “I’ve-just-been-lucky-so-far-that-no-one-has-noticed-that-I-resemble-a-Komodo-dragon” and an unwavering conviction that I cannot face my job in the morning.

Much has been made of Monday morning blahs, but I venture to suggest that I am not alone in my experience of the more menacing hours that occur before Monday ever gets started.

I first noticed this pattern after reading an article about anxiety – although this is more rumination than specific worrying – but anyway, the author suggested that close observation of one’s thoughts would reveal that most of our concerns are the same movie we watch repeatedly. It’s exactly the same set of random thoughts. I need to hit the gym more; this week I really will eat better; I should look into that dance class I’ve been meaning to find out about and actually, why, unlike other people, do I never have all of the ingredients for a kale smoothie? (Including kale, which seems especially important).  I find this fascinating; and all the more so since, as a self-help devotee, I should be striving to eliminate such destructive thoughts patterns. Instead, I not only allot them top billing in my mind, but throw in a dressing room and some complimentary kindling as well.

Personally, I believe that the Internet has a lot to answer for. What better way to nobly distract yourself from Sunday Night Fever than by spending hours reading about how to make your own soap or – less nobly – looking at Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy photos? Suddenly, the light is failing and once more you haven’t been to the store to buy steel cut oats and blueberries.

Interestingly too – and I mention this here as evidence that the problem is universal – Buddhist literature calls this phenomenon the “monkey mind.” Thoughts fly from one branch to the next (I like to imagine a penetrating chimpanzee shriek here) and the meditator is supposed to wait until they subside. The only flaw here is that by that time, it could be Sunday night again …

 

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