What Is “Sunday Depression?”

Updated March 16, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Some people get depressed at night and feel better during the day. Some, however, only experience blues on Sundays. “Sunday depression,” sometimes referred to as the “Sunday blues," is the feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or dissatisfaction that many report feeling on Sundays (often in the evenings). Sunday depression is not something you would be diagnosed with if you were to visit a doctor or therapist. The condition does not exist in the DSM-5, the diagnostic tool that medical professionals use to classify mental health disorders. Despite its lack of official presence in the medical community, the phenomenon is very real.

The Sunday Blues Could Be An Indication Of Something Else

The following scene should be familiar to many. Sunday morning, you rise out of bed ready for another day of freedom from work or school. All is well throughout the morning and maybe lunchtime, but by afternoon a sinking feeling of dread starts to form in the pit of your stomach. Your mind starts racing, you feel overwhelmed. You may even feel physically ill. You find yourself distraught by thinking about the next day or week ahead. This cycle repeats every Sunday.

While Sunday Depression is the term that describes this feeling for those who follow a traditional work week (Monday to Friday, with Saturday and Sunday off), those who follow an alternative schedule are not immune. The feelings can creep up when any break from an ongoing schedule ends. This means that someone who works Sunday to Thursday may experience their Sunday Depression on Saturday. A student who attends classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday may have these feelings on Monday.

How Do I Stop Sunday Blues?

Sunday Depression can happen for many reasons. Each person's triggers are unique to them. In most cases, the phenomenon can be tied to underlying thoughts or feelings about the week ahead. Therapy can be a powerful tool in reducing Sunday depression. Below, other options are discussed.

Dreading Work

If you don't like your job, it is very likely you will experience the Sunday blues. It can be hard to find the motivation or desire to show up someplace you don't want to be. While many people report dissatisfaction with work, a severe case of Sunday Depression might signal it is time to look for another job opportunity.

Stretched Too Thin

It is also possible that your feelings might be tied to a lack of emotional resources to cope with the obligations you have ahead. Maybe you have overscheduled yourself, took on a task that is becoming more troublesome than you anticipated, or just feel like there is no way you can meet your current demands.

Too Much Piling Up

For some people, Sunday is a reminder that they haven't finished everything on their to-do list from the week before. It can subtly make them feel like they are always running behind, that they will never catch up, or worse, that they are a failure for not being able to do all things they wanted to do.

Tired of Routine

Routine can be a challenge for many people. New adventures stimulate our brain, while the day-to-day becomes tiresome quickly. In many homes, Sunday evening turns into a set routine to prepare for the week. This routine may include mundane activities like meal prep, laundry, organizing and packing things for the upcoming day, or planning on a calendar. It's very easy for the ritual to start going hand in hand with the feelings of Sunday depression.

Black and White Thinking

Sometimes, Sunday depression can be exacerbated by polarized thinking. Polarized thinking is another name for our tendency to see things in terms of polar opposites – like "all or nothing." We often start thinking of the weekend as time for fun, and the week as a time for work. We can get too rigid with our belief that the week isn't meant to be used for fun, or that there is no time for relaxation until the weekend. With this view, Sunday evening comes to strictly represent five days of unwanted activity.

Feeling Like Time Was Wasted

Some people who experience Sunday depression report that Sunday evenings make them reflect on the time they wasted throughout the weekend. Rather than getting to their long list of to-dos, they sat around and didn't use their time wisely. Or on the contrary, they were so busy they wasted the precious time they had for relaxation. Sunday Depression has a way of making us hyper-focus on all the things we didn't do with the time we had.


Sunday depression often comes with anxiety. Anxiety can stem from a number of factors. It may be a reaction to fears about the unknown in the week ahead or a response to a perceived threat on its way.

Tips to Make Sunday a Little Better

Unfortunately, for many of us, Sunday depression is going to happen from time to time. However, there are little improvements you can make to your week or weekend that can soften its effects. Keep in mind, if you are experiencing severe Sunday depression, it is best to speak with your doctor or a licensed counselor to find solutions that are right for you.

Bring Balance to Your Week

Instead of trying to pile all of your work into your week, and all of your fun into your weekend, rearrange your schedule a bit. Try to find time during the week to go out with friends, take a trip to the movies, or partake in any other fun activity you enjoy. Dedicate time for fun on your calendar just as you would work-related obligations. Honor that time, and try not to let other duties come first if they suddenly pop up mid-week.

Change How You Prep for the Week

The Sunday Blues Could Be An Indication Of Something Else

Avoid doing all your weekly "chores" on Sunday evening. Rather, break them up over the course of the week. This will help you break the slump of routine. For example, if you usually spend Sunday evening doing meal prep and laundry, consider moving these activities to another time during the week that you are usually free. You might have to sacrifice a little evening time during the week to get these things done, but you will likely extend your free time on Sundays.

Make Use of Your Morning

Many people use Sunday evening to get ready for the week ahead. This inevitably contributes to Sunday depression as the hours dwindle down, and we are faced with a mountain of tasks to do. Consider prepping for the week first thing in the morning. Try to have all your tasks done in the first few hours of the day to free up your evening for relaxation.

Do Something Fun on Sunday Night

Avoid the work of Sunday altogether. Instead, do something you actually enjoy with the remaining hours of the weekend. If possible, stick to an activity you can look forward to week after week. This could be an art class, movie night or simply enjoying a long meditation session. The choice is yours.

Make a Change

Some cases of severe Sunday Depression may signal a change is in order. It might be time to seriously consider changing jobs or cutting ties with a certain obligation. Change can be scary, and it is often filled with unknowns, but if you can link your Sunday depression to a specific trigger, it might be worth investigating the benefit of removing that trigger to improve your mood.

Set Yourself up for Success

Sunday is a great day to stock up on resources you need to make it through the week. For many people, this can take the form of self-care. Instead of diving into more obligations on the weekend or completely checking out, dedicate Sunday to prioritizing yourself. Self-care looks different for everybody. Stick with activities that make you feel recharged and ready to tackle the week.

While your emotional and mental needs are important, don't neglect your physical health either. Use Sunday to practice healthy eating and exercise, renew prescriptions, and get a good night’s sleep. Starting your week prepared and healthy can help give you the extra boost you need to power through.

Work With a Therapist

Research has proven that online therapy is highly effective in providing the tools necessary for people living with depression to manage their symptoms. One of the most widely accepted methods of treating depression is through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in which a variety of components (self-help guides, lessons, assignments) can be combined with therapist contact and support. The goal of CBT is to modify thought patterns, such as negative associations with work or routine. In a study published in Psychological Medicine, researchers examining the effects of internet-delivered CBT found that depression symptoms were reduced when utilizing online resources, especially after extended use.

As discussed above, online therapy is a useful tool for addressing depression and other mental health concerns. Online therapy provides you with the flexibility to communicate with your therapist outside of sessions, and not just inside of a 50-minute window. The licensed therapists available online through BetterHelp.com can help you build the skills you need to create a more balanced life, and make the Sunday blues a thing of the past—often at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy. For reviews of BetterHelp counselors from those experiencing similar issues, read below.

Counselor Reviews

“Dianne has helped me deal with my depression, trauma and anxiety in a natural way. She really listens and helps you see the other side you might not consider. She’s helped me bring back aspects of my confidence and make me realize the choices I have made are down to me nonetheless. The therapy sessions have really given me strength that I’ve needed to cope and become better as a person.” 

“I’ve spent many years in frustration and sadness, not equipped with the tools to manage those emotions and situations. That all slowly faded away in my 3 months together with Courtney. She is patient, she speaks so kindly, she is always emotionally available and helpful whenever.” 


If the effects of Sunday depression are wearing you down each week, don't feel bad. We are often pulled in many directions and sometimes obligations include places you do not want to be, or tasks you do not want to do. Your doctor may never diagnose you with Sunday depression, but its effects are real. Click here for help dealing with this and other mental health concerns today. 

Some commonly asked questions related to this topic can be found below:

Is it Sunday blues or Monday blues?
How do you beat Sunday blues?
Why do people get Sunday night blues?
Why do I struggle with Sundays?
What is Sunday night syndrome?
What is Sunday Syndrome?
How do you stop Sunday anxiety?
How can I stop being sad on Sundays?
Why do Sundays feel weird?
How do I get rid of Sunday Scaries from drinking?

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
You don't have to face depression aloneGet Started