Posted: Jan 21, 2013 5:00 AM
 
It's no big secret that Sunday night often triggers that dreaded combination of anxiety and depression commonly referred to as "Sunday night blues." In attempting to juggle work with family, working moms are particularly prone to increased stress as the weekend comes to an end and a new week of responsibilities begins.

Karen KhaleghiIt never fails: Sunday night always triggers the return of the lump in my throat. Between getting the kids ready for the week ahead, anticipating my own workload and clearing out my overloaded inbox, I often find myself running from task to task in a desperate attempt to finally get organized. The result? Pure stress.

According to Karen Khaleghi, Ph.D., pioneer of the dual diagnosis approach and founder of Creative Care, Sunday night blues is an across the board phenomenon. Anticipation and emotional overload trigger feelings of depression as the week begins.

What increases the stress level for working moms, however, is the complex process of balancing work with family life.

There are steps you can take to decrease Sunday night blues.

Put it into perspective

It's important to understand that many people experience Sunday night blues.

"Increased rates of depression and anxiety are prevalent on Sunday nights for all age groups, including men and women. Even school-age children experience that," says Dr. Khaleghi. Simply put: Working moms are not singled out.

Increased rates of depression and anxiety are prevalent on Sunday nights for all age groups, including men and women. Even school-age children experience that.

Know your triggers

Many of us use Sunday nights as a time to anticipate the week ahead and create enormous to-do lists that might or might not get done as the new week progresses. And when that to-do list inevitably disappears into the bottom of our oversized purses? We throw our energy into fantasizing about the quality time we will spend as a family come Saturday. The problem with this, of course, is that weekends often involve hard work.

They have the job that they go to each day and the job that happens after they go home.

"What's different for working moms," says Dr. Khaleghi, "is the phenomenon that they really do have two full-time jobs. They have the job that they go to each day and the job that happens after they go home." It's a lot for a mom to cope with.

If that enormous to-do list triggers your anxiety, consider breaking it down into smaller daily lists.

Understand your anger

What people commonly refer to as depression is often internalized anger. Label your feelings!

"Most women shelve their feelings of anger and resentment because they don't have time to deal with it," says Dr. Khaleghi.

Do you feel like you take on most of the parenting? Do you wish your husband would help with the laundry? Say it!

Make your life manageable

Learning to advocate for yourself and ask for help are great ways to decrease your stress.

According to Dr. Khaleghi, it's important for working moms to "figure out how much they take on and what they can start to take off their plates."

Take a look at the ages of your children and determine what they are capable of doing independently. Sit down with your husband and divvy up the domestic chores so that you are not overwhelmed with tasks after work.

Find your me time

All moms benefit from time spent alone. I always return from the nail salon feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything. Take a walk, read a book or simply call a friend.

More on decreasing stress for working moms

Why me time is such a big deal
Give yourself a time-out
How to handle stress with grace

Headshot courtesy of Karen Khaleghi

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