It’s normal to feel slightly disappointed when the weekend ends, but work anxiety can chip away at your well-being.

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Illustration by Ruth Basagoitia

Q: Every Sunday, I start to get this growing feeling of dread and anxiety about going back to work the next day. What can I do to relax and enjoy the rest of my weekend?

Occasionally, most of us have a bad case of the “Sunday Blues” — that feeling of dread that pops up on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

While it’s completely normal to feel slightly disappointed when the weekend ends, work-related anxiety can chip away at your well-being. This is why it’s useful to explore if stress may be the culprit behind your bundle of worries.

For example, is there a particular aspect of your job that you dislike? Or maybe you’re worried about an upcoming meeting with your boss, or you’re having trouble seeing eye to eye with a coworker?

Whatever it is, learning to stay in the present moment can help keep anxiety at bay.

One way to do this is by learning the life skills of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness simply means “maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations,” and numerous researchers have found that taking deep, meditative belly breaths can keep us grounded, which helps prevent things like worry and anxiety from sabotaging our day. 

To start a mindfulness practice, consider downloading a meditation app, such as Calm, or watch a short, guided meditation video on YouTube. Then try setting aside 5 to 10 minutes each day for a mini-mindfulness practice.

During your practice, pay attention to whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise, and then come back to your breath, using it as a cue to anchor you in the moment. 

In addition to mindfulness, mind exercises can also be anxiety-busters. For instance, if you’re worrying about work, ask yourself: “How will worrying about the future help me at this moment?” or “What evidence do I have that my worry is a fact?”

In order to gain a broader perspective, try stepping back by inquiring: “How much will my worry matter 1 month from now?”

Juli Fraga lives in San Francisco with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Real Simple, the Washington Post, NPR, the Science of Us, the Lily, and Vice. As a psychologist, she loves writing about mental health and wellness. When she’s not working, she enjoys bargain shopping, reading, and listening to live music. You can find her on Twitter