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5 Bosses Share How They Rise Above The Sunday Scaries

Who said Sunday had to be scary or that Monday had to give you the blues?

Workin' Girl

Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Sundays. On the positive side, I love Sundays because it's normally my day to unapologetically indulge in an endless amount of mimosas and delicious bites while catching up with my girls at the latest day party. But after the mimosas are gone, the food has been digested, and the music stops, I'm back at home, looking at my upcoming reality - Monday.


Despite how much fun Sundays can be, once night hits and the fun is over, I tend to get a case of what I like to call the "Sunday Scaries." If you're unfamiliar with the phrase, the Sunday Scaries are the anxiety that sets in on Sunday nights with the impending return to the office, school, or work.

For many people, Sunday Scaries can disrupt you, impact your productivity and mood, and can cause chaos for the week ahead if you let it get the best of you. It doesn't matter what level you are in your career, or how high up the corporate ladder you are, the Sunday Scaries is a real thing and it's something that many of us experience. Recently, I was able to connect with a few successful women of color and they shared what their Sunday Scaries are and how they overcome them.

The “Never Ending To-Do List” Sunday Scary...

Kristina Willams, Founder & CEO of ZiM

Kristina Williams, Founder & CEO of ZiM

Courtesy of Kristina Williams

What She Said:

"At times I get overwhelmed when I think about all of the tasks I need to complete at once. I've had to learn to compartmentalize and to strategically plan my days in blocks.

"The first part of my day is for self-care, then comes emails. Next, I'm dedicated to completing any tasks my team needs from me before I head into my own daily tasks. I designate certain days of the week for meetings and try my best to stick to this schedule. I am naturally a big-picture thinker so creating visual charts, color coding, and having databases help to keep my brain focused, categorized, and linear.

"I have a tendency to get lost in my work so I've recently adopted the practice of planning for fun throughout my week as well. I aim to have at least one fun outing per week that allows my brain to decompress, build relationships and even gain inspiration from seemingly unrelated experiences. My tip for you would be to remember to design for joy, whether it's the colors you choose for your Post-Its, sharing a non-work-related hello to a team member, or planning your schedule with inserts of breathing time. Use your Sunday to remember you are in control of all of it, as much as it may seem overwhelming. Most importantly, remember to give yourself grace."

Yene Damtew, Salon Owner & Hair Educator

Yene Damtew, Salon Owner & Hair Educator

Courtesy of Yene Damtew

What She Said:

"Typically, my Monday errands make me nervous every Sunday. Being an entrepreneur requires you to wear a lot of hats and the only way to do that is to have structure. I am the queen of what I like to call 'TDL's' which stands for 'To-Do Lists', and I am old school in the fact that I prefer writing it down on paper rather than digitally as I get satisfaction on crossing the task out. I am a woman who likes to have a game plan and stay organized. I write everything down including my personal activities like workouts and self-care routines. It really helps calm my nerves.

"As a salon owner, traveling hairstylist, and educator, Mondays can include social media planning, stocking inventory at the salon, folding salon towels, laundry or repacking a suitcase for an upcoming trip. As long as I have it written down, almost anything seems possible to achieve."

The Sunday Scary That Actually Starts on Saturday

Aria Bell, PR Consultant at AT&T

Aria Bell, PR Consultant at AT&T

Courtesy of Aria Bell

What She Said:

"Honestly, I start getting the 'Sunday Scaries' on Saturdays.

"I tend to think about how the weekend will be ending the next day and hate that we don't have three full days. We all know Fridays don't count since we go into work on that day. Whenever these thoughts consume my mind, I ask myself, 'Why am I getting anxious when I've never failed at making it through every week no matter what?'

"Normally, what makes me anxious is thinking about my outfits for the week, my upcoming workload, and what I'll be eating (I try to be frugal with spending). I've found that picking outfits for the week on Sundays, or at least the night before, helps make my mornings run smoother. It also allows me the option to even stay in the bed an extra 15-20 minutes which is an absolute plus for me.

"As far as my heavy workload, I write out the most important tasks and/or goals I need to accomplish in order from most important to least. This helps me keep things aligned and prioritized throughout the week. Lastly, if there was ever a task that can save you time during the week, it would be meal prepping! Preparing and cooking my meals and snacks for the week effectively eliminates bad spending and eating habits. This task might seem intimidating, but you'll thank yourself during the week and keep some money in your pockets."

The Startup Founder Sunday Scaries...

Kendra James-Anderson, Virtual CFO

Kendra James-Anderson, Virtual CFO

Courtesy of Kendra James-Anderson

What She Said:

"My Sunday Scaries consists of thinking about my growing team and my growing client list. I tackle these Sunday Scaries in two main ways:

(1) I set no more than 1-2 high priority goals for the week.

(2) I dedicate Mondays exclusively to Team Meetings.

"I've found that having only 1-2 high priority goals for the week allows me (and my team) to all be focused on key objectives. Once you have an ever-growing to-do list of 50 random items, things feel overwhelming and impossible. Instead, I simply narrow that down to what really has to be done this week.

"I think about my business's overall monthly and quarterly objectives and create weekly goals based on that. Oftentimes, we include so many to-dos that don't even tie to our main objectives... so I use Sunday to get focused and outline those objectives. And then on Monday, I dedicate my time to holding team meetings. In the team meetings, I disperse those objectives to ensure that we are all on the same page. The Monday meetings really help set the tone for the week, and because I know what our company focus is for the week, I can properly lead my team.

"Sunday doesn't have to be scary if you utilize that time to find your focus for the upcoming week. My advice? Trash the 5-page to-do list and narrow your focus on the key objectives. It really helps your work feel more intentional and efficient and less erratic!"

Ashley Edwards, Founder & CEO of MindRight Health

Ashley Edwards, Founder & CEO of MindRight Health

Courtesy of Ashley Edwards

What She Said:

"My 'Sunday Scaries' are usually finance-related. As a small startup, I want to make sure everyone on our team consistently has all the resources they need to thrive. When I feel overwhelmed, I make a list of major stressors I may have in the week ahead - investor meetings, product deadlines, etc. - and then I make a list of all the things I can actually control. It's easy to feel stressed by all the things out of your control as you run a startup, so for me, it's important to remind myself of what I do have the power to change. I feel good as long as I know that each day I've done the best I could with what I have."

What are some things that give you the Sunday Scaries, and how are you overcoming them? Drop us a note and let us know!

Featured image courtesy of Kendra James-Anderson

Originally published February 10, 2020

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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