Sunday evening. Doom. A time of the week so loathed that it even got its own syndrome, the Sunday night blues. That sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach couldn’t be more different from the fizzy excitement of the Friday feeling just 48 hours before.

But I think Sunday evening gets a bum rap. Rather than being a boring passage of time to kill before getting on with Monday, it’s actually flying under the radar as secretly, secretly the best time of the week.

No, hear me out. Here are three reasons why.

1. Homework

Most articles about Sundays advise that you get your homework done on Friday so that you don’t have a pile to face at the end of the weekend. This can be a good idea, sure, but I also think that Sunday night is a brilliant time to do homework. By Friday evening you’re often knackered from a busy week and need a bit of a break. Plus loads of the good stuff happens on Friday night! However dedicated you are to getting good grades, it’s not realistic (or good for your overall wellbeing) to expect yourself to turn down the chance to go out and have fun in order to finish your Geography essay (no disrespect, Geography).

So rather than feeling the pressure to get everything finished at the start of the weekend, see how it feels to open your books when it’s quiet on a Sunday night anyway. Decide in advance what time you’re going to start so that you don’t spend the whole day thinking about it, then stick on a chilled playlist and enjoy working knowing that you’ve already had a great weekend. Hopefully.

2. Comfort TV

You might think I’m deranged for saying this but the best TV is on Sunday evenings. I know that literally no one else in the world agree with me. My best friend claims that the theme tune to The Antiques Roadshow actually triggers the Sunday night blues for her.

But I don’t understand this at all. Regardless of how boring the programme itself may be, you can have loads of fun with it. As well as the classic game where you guess the value of the item, there’s also ‘Sad, smug, surprised’ (copyright: me), in which you have to predict whether the owner will look, well, sad, smug or surprised at the valuation. Get those around you to join in. You never know what you might learn from their rationale; turns out my boyfriend has an irrational dislike of red trousers on men.

And whatever your idea of comfort TV, there’s something to suit scheduled on Sunday evenings. Get all teary at Call the Midwife, indulge fantasies about a former life at Downton-esque period dramas, go all Cluedo watching a crime mystery or be on alert for embarrassing moments in live productions, like when everyone’s slightly creepy uncle Tom Jones dropped the F-bomb during The Voice final or when Bruno swears on Strictly. Bruno is *always* swearing on Strictly.

If you can invent a silly game to accompany your chosen programmes then that makes it even better – in a world that can seem scary and unpredictable, there’s something super comforting about looking out each week for the same element of a television programme. As well as The Antiques Roadshow, I totally recommend Countryfile for this. No seriously. Entertain yourself playing ‘Snog, marry, avoid’ with the presenters, of which there are many and they change each week. If you’re lucky Tomasz Schafernaker, the Dermot O’Leary of weather forecasting, will be the meteorologist #winningatlife.

3. Do what you like

If for some bizarre reason neither homework nor crap – sorry, ‘comfort’ – TV take your fancy then there’s always the Sunday night trump card: free time. You probs don’t often have anything scheduled for this time of the week so it can be totally clear for you to fill with whatever you fancy. There are so many options. Maybe you’d like to visit your gran more, or have a regular slot to Skype your mate who has moved abroad. Perhaps you’re always searching for a few hours to work on a project, such as writing a blog, or you’d like to claw back the chance to read books that aren’t set texts.

However big or small your ambitions, what we often think of as dead time from about 4pm on a Sunday offers a great opportunity – even if all you want to do is lie on the sofa eating cake. Because really, isn’t that what Sunday evenings were made for? I’m off to put the kettle on.

@rae_ritchie_

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Image: Katie Edmunds

I think I was seven or eight the day I cried to my mum about just wanting a cake with candles.

I pleaded so much that she brought out the Victoria sponge with raspberry jam that she had just made, stuck a dinner candle on top and lit it. ‘Are you happy now?’ I wiped my eyes and nodded, because for a moment I think I genuinely was. I made a wish like I had seen on TV – probably for Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin to be my boyfriend, yuck – then blew out the candle. I don’t even think it was my actual birthday.

The joy quickly went away though as I looked at the once perfectly good cake now with blobs of wax and a gaping hole in it, and waited for a call from Macaulay that never came. What a letdown. I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about, but I was glad that I finally got an insight into the ritual that seemed to be the norm for everyone else but me.

I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, a Christian subsect that views many aspects of society as morally corrupt and, cheerily, believe that the world is due to end any minute now. Basically, Witnesses believe that living according to their interpretation of the Bible will mean that once the world ends, they will be rewarded with eternal life. And while it’s not specifically mentioned in the Bible that birthdays are bad, Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays as they believe they are rooted in pagan origins and therefore a big no-no to God.

As an adult, the reasoning behind JWs not doing birthdays (as well as Christmas, Halloween and other ‘worldly’ practices) makes more sense to me – but as a kid with little understanding of what the point of religion even was, it was mostly just embarrassing and silly. What kind of god hates cake, presents and a cute song? And I constantly felt guilty for being naturally excited about turning a year older.

This isn’t to say the lives of Jehovah’s Witness children all over the world are grim. I still got presents and stuff, just sprinkled throughout the year for no reason at all, and there were always parties for some reason or another. I was pretty lucky in that my mum understood how confusing being part of a world-critical religion but having to, you know, be a part of the world, could be for a kid. A lot of Witness families are much stricter though. I remember one boy in the year below me at my primary school whose parents requested he sit out of the end of Autumn term assemblies so that he didn’t have to sing the Christmas carols. I think the most important thing in my family was that we had a solid foundation and understanding of the faith but weren’t given an excuse to be made to feel like weirdos, especially at an age when that can happen easily enough without even bringing religion into the mix. 

Over the course of my teens, my family gradually stopped being practicing Witnesses. Conveniently, this was also at a time I was increasingly convinced that it was in no way the faith for me. So the first time I had a proper birthday cake with real candles and actual icing, I was 18. This time it felt a little more magical (although that could have been the cocktails). I can’t remember what I wished for but I remember not having that guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach that I was doing something wrong.

I’ve still never had a big party though, I don’t really see the point when I managed my entire childhood without one. Now I see birthdays as a time to reflect on how much I’ve grown over the past year and where I hope the next year will take me, whether that’s spent amongst friends and family or alone. But either way, I’m always happy to catch up on all the cake I missed.

@KirbyAfua

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