Are Friday Scaries A Thing? How I’m Managing Weekend Anxiety
Do You Get The Friday Scaries?
I don’t get the Sunday scaries. This shouldn’t be mistaken as a brag. In fact, with all this talk about Sunday scaries on the Internet these days, I actually feel a little left out.
The phenomenon described as an intense feeling of anxiety the Sunday night before returning to work or school has become somewhat of a buzzword in pop culture. A simple Google search for “Sunday scaries” produces a plethora of articles about how to get rid of them. There’s even an entire podcast and CBD company dedicated to alleviating the gut-wrenching, Sunday-night-specific fear.
As much as I weirdly wish I could relate to this collective anxiety, my recurring bouts of dread tend to show up on a different night of the week: Fridays.
Only recently did I verbalize my Friday scaries to my therapist. I described the feeling as a sense of harrowing anxiety that plops itself on top of me like a thick, weighted blanket.
Unlike Sunday scaries, which begin in the afternoon and grow more intense throughout the evening, my Friday scaries start around 7 or 8 p.m. I’ll have just kicked off my shoes after a long work week. I might be pouring myself a glass of Trader Joe’s wine or browsing through Netflix, when one of two things happen:
My phone dings and, like a modern-day jester, announces a slew of invitations from my friends: “Brunch tomorrow?” “I have an extra ticket for this show…” “What are you doing on Sunday?” Suddenly, I’m tasked with contemplating if I want to go to brunch, figuring out how to politely decline that extra ticket, and deciding whether or not I’m willing to give up my precious Sunday for a potentially disappointing outing.
Alternatively, my phone doesn’t ding. Not even once. In fact, my phone screen maintains its darkness through the night, lighting up only to remind me of my 10 p.m. bedtime. Instead of dodging an influx of eager invitations, I’m left to ponder all the fun things I could be doing—roller skating, watching a movie with friends, dancing the night away.
This back and forth between introversion and extroversion isn’t at all new to me. It’s the ambivert’s classic volley between social overwhelm and FOMO, simply concentrated into Friday nights. What makes it feel so intense is the unspoken expectation I’ve always had for what a 20-something-year-old’s weekend is “supposed” to look like. The kind of weekend that looks good in Instagram photos and invokes envy when your co-workers ask, “What did you do over the weekend?”
I can’t say whether it was my obsession with young adult fiction as a teen or watching too many unrealistic rom coms about writers living in NYC that initiated this concept of the “Ideal Weekend” for me. But whenever I’m drinking my five-dollar wine in my IKEA bed on Friday nights, I can’t help but feel that, if I don’t live up to this ideal, I’m somehow missing out on my twenties.
Much like the Sunday scaries, Friday scaries tend to feel so poignant because they seem to hint at a greater issue that our bodily anxiety is trying to illuminate. Often, Sunday scaries are a result of some form of job discomfort or insecurity about career performance. My Friday scaries, on the other hand, point towards something a bit more inward-facing. When I get these scaries I find myself pondering questions that are nearly impossible to resolve in the span of a single night. Questions like: Who do I feel most connected to in my life? What’s important to me? How do I want to spend my time? Am I wasting my time?
It’s difficult in these moments to remember that I’m a complex human being, and I don’t have to ascribe to any one label (introverted/extroverted). The nature of being a person is to be in flux, to have questions, and to feel as if you’re always racing against time. This is where therapy has come in handy for me. After discussing my Friday scaries at length with my therapist, she and I figured out some ways I could practically combat the overwhelming feeling of anxiety, and answer some of those big-picture questions.
1. Take Control of Your Physical Space
The first tactic we came up with is to take control of my physical space. More often than not, when I get the scaries, my apartment in a disheveled state, and it feels dark and desolate, much like my mood. Instead of sulking in all of that negative energy, I take the time to clear my space. I open the windows and turn on the lights. I burn some incense or light a candle. I play good music and fold the laundry that’s been sitting on my bed for a week. Simply changing my physical space incites a huge shift in my mood, and the weekend starts to feel a bit less daunting.
2. Go Sober
Another (less exciting) tactic is to opt-out of that glass of wine. Though it feels nice to wind down with a glass of cheap Sauvignon Blanc on a Friday night, I find that my scaries feel a lot less intense when I skip the alcohol. Instead, I’ve been thinking of ways to treat myself that don’t involve alcohol, like baking cookies or trying a new recipe for dinner. As a general practice, I’ve been making sure to check in with myself before I reach for the wine, rather than pouring a glass out of habit.
3. Create a Weekend Blueprint
I take some time to assess what I want my weekend to look like. Sometimes, I’m in the mood to be a social butterfly; other times, I want to be a bit more of a hermit. Mostly, I desire a more balanced weekend, and so I try to plan one day of alone time and one day of social time. Once I have my weekend blueprint drawn up in my mind, I feel more equipped to adjust my plans accordingly. Sometimes that means declining invitations I’m genuinely not interested in and even canceling plans if I need to.
Other times, if I am in the mood to be social, I’ll reach out to a friend I haven’t seen in a while, or hang out at my family’s house for a few hours. Navigating other people’s feelings about how I want to spend my time during the weekend isn’t always easy. However, it’s more important for me to have control over how I spend my time than it is to appease the desires of others.
4. Make Your Own Ideal Weekend
It’s easy when you work a 9-5 to take the weekends for granted, filling up your calendars with events and social engagements that don’t bring you joy. But the weekend is supposed to recharge us and fuel us for the week ahead. I mean, even God needed a day to rest after creating the universe (at least, that’s what I’ve heard).
These days I’ve been trying to reframe my “Ideal Weekend” so that it’s not based on what I’ve read in books or seen in movies but on what feels right to me. With these new mindsets, Friday nights have become something to look forward to rather than dread. They’ve become a reminder that I get to control my own narrative, and that it’s okay to be whoever I am at any given moment.
Do you get weekend anxiety? Share your favorite ways to handle it in the comments below!
Celeste M. Scott is the Social Media Coordinator at The Good Trade. She is a writer and photographer who is passionate about film and Internet culture. She can often be found sifting through the racks at her local Savers. You can find her work on her website and Instagram.