The Sunday Dreads. I can’t shake them. I’ve been suffering from them probably since I was in the 2nd grade and realized that school was there to stay. I would have succumb to the teacher’s and my parents’s will and do classwork and homework. I would have to overcome my shyness and learn to get along with kids on the playground. I would have to pay attention to the teacher as she or he asked me to recite my alphabet or write down my spelling words or carry the 1 in arithmetic. Little did I know I would make school my career nor that I would be battling this chronic malady well into my mid-30s.
What are the symptoms of The Sunday Dreads you ask? I’m sure they vary for everyone depending on what job you do Monday-Friday. I’m a high school English teacher, and so I suffer from the following symptoms (in no particular order):
- a constant resentment that you have to go to work on Monday and that your weekend is soon to come to an end.
- a nervous stomach that gurgles and sputters whenever you think about and begin all the work you have to do to prepare yourself for work on Monday (this pertains a lot to teachers).
- a tightness in your chest and shallow breathing as the late afternoon and early evening set in.
- anxiety over the amount of grading you have to do, but really don’t want to (again, this symptom is specific to teachers).
- cracked lips from biting them or licking them because of your dry mouth (caused by “anxiety” or “nervous stomach” symptom).
- a slight fear that you have to stand up in front of people and teach them to correct their mistakes or how to become better people (for supervisors, managers, teachers, or self-motivation speakers).
- a ringing in your ears which is the far off buzz of the hum-drum work schedule you’re soon going to have to follow.
- a clenched jaw that pops and cracks whenever you open it.
- insomnia, interrupted sleep, or nightmares due to your over-anticipation of the day that is rushing to your doorstep too quickly.
How to treat The Sunday Dreads?
- Get up early in the morning, drink a cup of coffee, read a book and watch CBS Sunday morning while sitting in your comfy chair.
- Take a walk or 2 or 3.
- Take a nap (if the insomnia, interrupted sleep or nightmares have not begun).
- Go shopping.
- Watch a TV show on your DVR or rent a movie.
- Pretend that you don’t have to go to work and that you’ve won the Lottery and plan a virtual vacation.
- Or just do your homework and deal with it.
Obviously I have self-diagnosed and treat my condition as my figurative albatross that I have chosen to live with since I’ve chosen to be an English teacher. I simply can’t seem to shake my routine that has been in place since I was 8 years old. The Dreads were never present the rest of the week. It didn’t matter if my school day was great and I got an ‘A’ on any given assignment, or if I got beat up by the neighborhood bully and would have to face her every day at the bus stop, I would come home, eat my after-school snack, watch 3-2-1- Contact, Sesame Street, Bugs Bunny, The Flintstones and then go outside and play before I had to do whatever little homework I was given for the night.
Things remained somewhat the same in junior high school, but the bullies were now mean girls and puberty was rampant. My Sunday Dreads occasionally spilled over into Monday, Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday, but were gone before the weekend came. Then, when I got my braces off in high school, my concern over my looks and my perpetual gauge on where I ranked on the popularity scale blended into a whole other form of anxiety that looked similar to the Sunday Dreads symptoms. Still, I knew there was an end in sight because I was accepted into my university of choice and that would take away all of my school anxieties for good because I would be “free” (whatever that meant).
No one told me about the Saturday Drunks I would experience in college that fueled an ever heightened case of the Sunday Dreads, especially when finals were looming. Then, once I got my teaching job, I thought everything would settle down and I would feel normal and less anxious once I had been teaching for awhile. Once I was “in the groove” and had all of my classes, lessons, activities, worksheets, PowerPoints in order and all of my #2 pencils sharpened and sitting on my nicely organized desk. Now, 15 years in “the biz” and I’m still anticipating that ideal which will be my “cure-all” for these Sunday Dreads.
Until then, I guess I have to do my homework and take a few antacids.