Does anyone else get the “Sunday scaries”? Simply hearing the opening credits from Antiques Roadshow or Countryfile is enough to send the first pangs of dread coursing through me. It’s like a klaxon in my brain that signals the end of the weekend.

Suddenly I’m a child again and can hear the hiss and clatter of the iron as my mum presses my white school shirt and I sit cross-legged nearby, frantically rummaging through my satchel, looking for my jotter to check that I definitely finished my homework.

The Sunday scaries tend to begin creeping in between 3pm and 5pm. One minute you’re loading up the dishwasher and feeling pleasantly stuffed after a leisurely roast dinner, the next it’s ding ding, all aboard the Sunday Scaries Express, next stop: Impending Doomsville.

Often described as a form of anticipatory anxiety - worrying about something that is yet to happen - the Sunday scaries can be sparked by the prospect of a hectic work week, a packed diary, a looming test, or simply having to psych yourself up to tackle a lengthy to-do list.

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In the summer months, when the daylight hours extend far into the evenings, this sinking feeling can be particularly dispiriting if you allow it to take hold.

Rather than embracing the sense of freedom and boundless possibility that the lighter nights can bring, you’re already mentally drafting emails and fretting about what unfolding crisis might await at work in the morning.

For many folk, that’s when the distraction techniques start to kick in, such as mindlessly scrolling on social media, binge-watching TV or comfort eating. All of which are the equivalent of watering a parched front lawn when the house itself already has flames licking the walls.

This is something I have learned the hard way. My weekends used to go: Friday (euphoria), Saturday (recover hard from the previous busy week), Sunday (wake up relaxed, then experience trepidation building as the day wore on).

Having the Sunday scaries now and again is normal, but doing so week after week can be a warning sign that something is badly out of kilter somewhere in your life.

It’s jarring that it has taken me almost 47 years to have this epiphany. But now it seems so obvious. Go figure. In recent times, I’ve made a concerted effort not to let the gremlins of the Sunday scaries ruin my time off.

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I’ve also come to realise that the Sunday scaries tend to be worse when my weekend has been frittered away on mundane tasks, soul-sapping social obligations and a raft of other activities that simply don’t spark joy or feel meaningful.

As the saying goes: “A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content.” Or my own particular favourite: “Use the weekend to build the life you want, instead of trying to escape the life you have.”

And so that’s exactly what I have done. Yes, it is lovely to have two days stretching ahead with very little to do, but I have found there is a sweet spot between relaxing and not feeling like I have rotted on the sofa and wasted the opportunity to do something enriching.

Each weekend there has to be time set aside for active fun, whether that’s heading to parkrun with friends or tramping through the woods on a long walk with my husband and the dog.

Then there is time allocated for essential life admin, such as grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning or doing maintenance jobs around the house.

I’ve also realised I need quality time alone to decompress. I enjoy my own company and feel like my social battery doesn’t fully recharge if I’m “on” too much.

Get all those ducks in a row and embracing Monday and a brand-new week feels like a cinch.