How Americans Cope with the Sunday Scaries

By Neal Taparia - 04/01/2024

An illustration of a person marking a calendar

As Monday nears and the fantasy of weekend fulfillment fades into the sobering reality of yet another workweek, millions of Americans experience a very specific feeling of dread known as the “Sunday scaries.” According to a recent survey, 69.2% of U.S. workers regularly experience the Sunday scaries, defined as a sense of dread or anxiety in anticipation of the coming workweek.

The Sunday scaries manifest in unique ways for different people and creep into your consciousness at different times. The most commonly reported symptoms include racing mind, knot in stomach, and the jitters, and they kick in for most working adults between midday and early evening on Sunday. And while weekend anxiety depends heavily on factors like age, seniority, and job satisfaction, there are common methods everyone can use to help cope with the Sunday scaries.

Because we know many of our uses play our solitaire games on Sundays to relax before the work week, we here at Solitaired wanted to discover the best strategies for coping with the Sunday scaries. To find out how people cope, we surveyed over 2,000 working Americans on workweek anxiety, asking participants about their experience with weekend anxiety as well as coping and prevention methods for dealing with the Sunday scaries. Read on to learn how the Sunday scaries affect workers throughout the country and to discover the best coping mechanisms for dealing with them.

Key Takeaways

  • A majority of workers (69%) experience anxiety around the coming workweek on weekends, known as the Sunday scaries.
  • For most workers (68%), the Sunday scaries kick in between midday Sunday and early evening Sunday.
  • About 3 in 4 Sunday scaries sufferers (76%) watch TV or movies to soothe their anxiety.
  • Workers without a regular Sunday routine are 2.5 times as likely to get the Sunday scaries.
  • Sunday scaries are most prevalent in legal services, education, and real estate and least prevalent in arts, non-profits, and retail.

Sunday Scaries are Worse for Young Employees Who Hate Their Jobs

Two bar charts showing the correlation between happiness at work and age in relation to Sunday scaries

Saying goodbye to the weekend and hello to another week of tasks, projects, and coworker interactions is bound to be more bittersweet for workers who hate their jobs. The incidence of Sunday scaries correlates highly with job satisfaction, with 91.5% of workers who are “very unhappy” with their jobs reporting the Sunday scaries—compared to just 48.0% of workers who are “very happy” with their jobs.

Similarly, the transition from weekend to work week seems to hit younger workers harder than older, more experienced members of the workforce. While just 47.2% of workers 60 to 78 years old report the Sunday scaries, 82.0% of workers 18 to 27 years old regularly experience a feeling of anxiety as the weekend comes to a close—the most of any age cohort.

Industries with the Worst Sunday Scaries

A table showing the current impact of Sunday scaries compared to the impact in the past for workers in various career industries

Those in the professional services sector are most likely to experience workweek anxiety, with 78.8% of workers in legal services, 77.0% of workers in education and training, and 75.0% of workers in real estate reporting the Sunday scaries; compared to 58.95 of workers in arts, entertainment, and recreation, 59.1% in non-profits and NGOs, and 61.1% in retail and wholesale trade.

The Sunday scaries are worse in high-pay, high-stress industries where professionalism is crucial and the contrast between weekend leisure and workaday productivity is stark. While just 58.9% of survey respondents in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector report the Sunday scaries, 78.8% of workers in legal services do—the most of any industry. Other industries with the most Sunday scaries sufferers include education, real estate, and finance.

Weekend anxiety may also be rising in prevalence in industries undergoing transition and disruption, where shrinking payrolls and declining job security are likely to put workers on edge. Some 77.8% of workers in marketing, advertising, and public relations—where digital technology and a changing media landscape are forcing companies to rapidly shift their strategies for engagement—report experiencing the Sunday scaries, the most of any industry. Other industries where the Sunday scaries are becoming more common include legal services, food and beverage, and media and communications.

States With the Worst Sunday Scaries

A U.S. heatmap showing the states most and least impacted by Sunday scaries

As a result, the Sunday scaries tend to be more prevalent in wealthier states with larger professional services sectors. In 10 of the 13 states with available data where median household income is greater than the $74,755 national figure, the percentage of workers with the Sunday scaries is also greater than the 69.2% national share. And while service-oriented economies like Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, and New Jersey rank highly, the worst state for the Sunday scaries is Alabama, where 84.6% of workers report regular weekend anxiety.

Coping With the Worst Sunday Scaries

A table showing the most common activities Americans take part in to overcome the Sunday scaries

Luckily, there is no shortage of cheap and easily available techniques Sunday scaries sufferers can use to soothe their symptoms. While oft-reported coping strategies range from constructive tasks—exercising, cleaning, planning the coming week—to unhealthy stress responses like substance use and binge eating, the most common activities fall somewhere in the middle. Some 76% of Sunday scaries sufferers, for example, report watching TV or movies to ease their symptoms—the most of any activity. More than half of all Sunday scaries sufferers listen to music or browse social media to stave off anxiety.

Avoiding the Sunday Scaries

Two bar charts showing the correlation between having a routine and completing tasks in relation to Sunday scaries

While the Sunday scaries may be a natural response to the very unnatural environment that is American corporate culture, there are certain behaviors that can reduce that feeling of anxiety that comes as another Monday looms.

Weekenders with a regular Sunday routine, for example, are far less likely to report feeling anxiety as the weekend comes to a close. Yet the lion’s share of the workforce—38.3%—report both not having a Sunday routine and experiencing the Sunday scaries. Similarly, 53.9% of workers report both not feeling like they accomplish everything they want to in a weekend in conjunction with Sunday scaries anxiety.

Combat the Sunday Scaries with Solitaired

When the Sunday scaries do kick in, it is helpful to have as many tools at your disposal as possible to combat them. While commonly reported coping mechanisms like hiking, spending time with family or friends, and sex can help ease symptoms of anxiety, there are more convenient and accessible alternatives available to anyone with a mind for strategy and an internet connection. Free to use with no downloads necessary, Solitaired hosts dozens of games, including Pyramid Solitaire and Spider Solitaire, that offer a chance to achieve a bit of distraction and a sense of accomplishment before the weekend ends.


In this study, we surveyed workers across the U.S. to determine their experience with anxiety related to the coming workweek, i.e. the Sunday scaries. We asked a variety of questions related to the specifics of their experiences with workweek anxiety, what they do to cope with the workweek anxiety, as well as various demographic information.

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.

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