Controversial opinion: I love Sunday nights. They’re the evenings I’m least likely to have plans, and most likely to get to bed early. These are the only nights of the week I have both the time and energy to recipe hunt, grocery shop, and cook, all in the span of a couple of hours. Sunday nights are the most wholesome of the week and, in my opinion, the Sunday Scaries have given them an unreasonably bad reputation. When it comes to Saturday mornings, however, I have a problem.
The Saturday Spirals generally take place within two to three hours of waking up. (In my experience, the later you wake, the faster they arrive.) Unlike the Sunday Scaries, the Saturday Spiral comes from a place of desperate anticipation, rather than dread. While some people spend their Sunday nights mourning the weekend’s conclusion in fear of the week to come, I spend my Saturday mornings overwhelmed and anxious that I’ve already missed the chance to make my weekend count.
Let me paint you a picture: It’s Saturday morning and I wake up around 9 a.m. I didn’t go out the night before, but stayed up late watching TV. I am not hungover, but I’m tired, so I might as well be. I decide to go back to sleep, but instead lie in bed for an hour just looking at my phone. Eventually, I get up. I have no breakfast food in the house, so I don’t eat. I wander around my living room, straighten my couch cushions, look out my window, check my phone for the 20th time. I consider leaving the house to get an avocado and some bread, but don’t. I check my phone again. Then, the spiral hits—as it always does.
In my head, I begin to calculate the remaining hours I have until my Saturday night dinner plans, the hours until I need to leave the house to get to that dinner, the hours I have left until I need to start getting ready to leave the house to get to the dinner. I divide the remaining hours between everything I’d been hoping to achieve that day: go for a run, start reading one of the five novels piled on my nightstand, tint my eyebrows, research flights for an upcoming wedding, go to Home Depot, hand-wash that sweater. I waste half an hour doing these calculations before I realize I don’t have enough time to do even half the things on this list. I check my phone again, see on Instagram that a group of people I only half-know are at brunch a few blocks from me, and imagine how it must feel to be both fed and dressed. Now, I am well and truly spiraling. The weekend feels like it’s over before it was meant to begin, and I feel like the only one who missed out on it.
The Saturday Spirals don’t hit every single weekend, but they still curse me frequently. Typically, they come to torment me after a long week at work, when I’ve promised myself that working late was absolutely fine because imagine how much fun stuff you’ll be able to do on the weekend. Since becoming aware of the Spirals, I’ve tried my best to actively combat them. The best approach, I’ve found, involves getting out of bed and ready for the day as if I have to go to work—a tricky kickstarting hack that gets me awake, ready for any kind of spontaneous plan (or errand), and keeps me off my phone until I’ve showered or had a coffee. My coworkers swear by making Saturday morning plans to force them out of the house and have something to do first thing—which I intend to start trying ASAP. But my most urgent emotional need is validation: Are the Saturday Spirals a real thing? Or have I just reached expert levels of self-sabotage?
Graphic by Lorenza Centi.