What Weekend Anxiety Is and How to Overcome It

If you’ve ever had that feeling on Friday where you`re so worried about how you’ll spend your weekend, you`re not alone. There are actually so many people who have that fear of not spending their days off the right way, that there is a term for it — Weekend Anxiety Syndrome. Not doing the tons of cool things that other people are doing and posting about them on social media can make you feel like your weekends just aren`t good enough.

We at Bright Side wanted to know more about this kind of anxiety, to figure out what we can do about it.

What is Weekend Anxiety Syndrome?

Weekend Anxiety Syndrome (WAS) is not an official medical term, but many people are affected by it and know exactly how it feels. After a whole week of hard work, you finally have 2 days to do whatever you want. You might have such high expectations about all the fun you can have that you're afraid your weekend won't be as eventful as you imagined. And that can put so much pressure on you and give you anxiety.

Feeling pressured to do fun activities

Sometimes you might feel like you go out not because you want to, but because everyone expects you to. Your friends probably have tons of plans for the weekend, and they all have to be super exciting and unusual so that you can discuss them with your colleagues on Monday. Or they don`t have any plans at all, and they`re ready to do whatever, whenever. Well, they`re your friends, so you might feel you have no other choice but to do the same.

Even if you were planning to spend these 2 days doing nothing, just relaxing on your couch, cozily reading your favorite book or binge-watching a new TV show you haven`t had a chance to watch because you were so busy with work. All around you, there could be people who just can`t sit still and try to spend their weekends doing as many exciting things as they can.

Especially when they post pictures on social media of all the amazing things they did. You see how they`ve met some new interesting people, how much fun they had at that stand-up club, and you can`t help but feel you`re missing out by just staying at home. And even if you do go out and do something, you might feel in the end that it just wasn`t fun enough, and your weekend seems wasted.

But maybe sometimes it would be better to miss a party or a night out for the sake of having some much-needed you-time. You can always go to another party next time, when you feel like it. And your friends are certainly not going anywhere, so you can ask for a raincheck. If they are really your friends, they will understand and give you time to relax on your own and make plans for another day.

The pressure to have a fun weekend doesn`t necessarily have to come from other people. You yourself might be convinced that if your weekend isn`t full of all the exciting things you planned to do, or some cool spontaneous things, it can be called a failure.

Modern life might be to blame.

Dr. Luke Martin, a clinical psychologist, says it may be a side effect of modern life. We`re always so busy making plans, having meetings, and running errands, that when we actually have more free time we don`t know how to deal with it. This free time feels so precious to us that we get hung up on spending it the right way and getting the most out of it. We want everything we do during the weekend to be perfect. And that`s just not possible.

Workaholics know the struggle.

This kind of anxiety can be especially hard on workaholics. If you are one, you`re used to having a routine that works well from Monday to Friday, you know what to expect, and it can be easier to control your anxiety when day-by-day you do the same things and actually have things to do. However, when the weekend comes, there`s no routine, no more work to be done, and all the free time you have can be extremely overwhelming.

Especially when you get a text from your friend out of the blue inviting you to go somewhere. It's exactly this spontaneity, not knowing what to expect, and not having a pre-planned schedule that can cause your anxiety levels to go up. There`s also another side to this, which is when workaholics decide to make their weekend as busy as possible with all kinds of activities, and end up having no rest at all.

Recognize the symptoms.

Here are some of the cues you can see in your behavior that can tell you that you might have Weekend Anxiety Syndrome:

  • Irritability
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling panicky
  • Worrying too much
  • Being cranky
  • Upset stomach
  • Inability to relax around the house

What can you do to deal with WAS?

If you`re used to having a set schedule Monday to Friday, and not having that on Saturday and Sunday is what makes you feel anxious, then plan ahead or even establish a weekend routine that you can do every weekend. Think of things that you find pleasant or relaxing. You can make plans to meet with your friends at a certain time and go see a movie or go to a café and chat. Or you can decide to spend some time alone watching TV at home or going for a jog in the park.

Meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature can also help you deal with anxiety. In the end, every weekend can turn out a bit different, and that`s alright. One time you feel like you need to spend the whole 2 days relaxing at home, another time you might feel like going out and meeting with someone is what`s best for you. The most important thing is to not put pressure on yourself to do one thing or another and to make sure you enjoy your time off, no matter what it looks like.

Have you ever experienced this type of anxiety? What helped you deal with it? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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