How to Beat the Monday Blues
If a Monday morning reminds you of a cup of fresh coffee, your weekly planner, and inspirational thoughts of productivity, you are a unique person. Unfortunately, the Monday blues are so widespread that they have become a cultural phenomenon.If you feel depressed, annoyed, overwhelmed, sluggish, or tense at the beginning of a work week, you are probably dealing with a case of the Monday blues. Monday is the first day of the work week worldwide, except for the GCC countries, where people go to work on Sunday or even Saturday in some instances. For most of us, though, this familiar lethargic feeling happens to us on Monday.
What Do Monday Blues Mean?
Having the Monday blues means that you wake up feeling sad, low-spirited, and run down on Monday morning. This phenomenon generally affects students, workers, and employees who have a five-day work week. Returning to work after the weekend can annoy and depress people, leaving them feeling unmotivated.
Considerable research has been carried out to test whether people’s behavior is affected by specific days of the week. The findings of these studies confirm that the Monday blues are not just a figure of speech. An experimental study at Emporia State University has shown that people tend to be more depressed on Mondays than Fridays.
The University of Melbourne has published an article about Mondayitis. This illness cannot be found in medical textbooks, but research has revealed that heart dysfunction is most likely to happen on Mondays. This generic term comprises chest pain, heart attack, and abnormal heart rhythms. In addition to on Mondays, heart problems are more common during colder seasons, natural disasters (i.e., earthquakes or tornados), world soccer or football tournaments, and terrorist attacks. All these situations are stressful for the human body. Unfortunately, Mondays occur way more often than World Cups. They create chronic stress that heightens the risk of cardiac dysfunction.
People tend to underestimate minor continuous stress. Constant pressure wears away a stone, not to mention a complicated biological system like a human being. The Monday blues don’t end on Tuesday. The phenomenon lasts until Friday evening, to a lesser degree. But days off do not provide full-fledged relief. On Saturday, people start to feel anxious about the upcoming Monday, and on Sunday, they begin to truly stress. Anxiety can cause some people to remain in bed all weekend and prevent them from doing more active and engaging activities. This vicious circle requires a thoughtful solution.
Reasons Why We Hate Mondays
There is almost no difference between a Sunday and a Monday. Both days can be enjoyable or painful. We often hate Mondays not because we hate our jobs. Rather, our weekend/weekday lifestyles are so dramatically different from each other that this psychological shift is highly unpleasant for us.
Your Sleep Pattern Changes: If you have ever traveled by plane far enough to experience a two-hour time change or more, you know how difficult it is to readjust to a new sleeping schedule. Unfortunately, few people consider how much stress their bodies suffer every Monday morning. On weekends, you wake up without an alarm clock, but on Monday, you force your body to shift to a new “time zone.”
You Don’t Want the Weekend to Be Over: Successful modern companies are aware of their employees’ need to be engaged in communication at a deeper level than just work issues, so they arrange team-building events and other social activities. However, not every job can provide the luxury of relaxed chatting. So, in this case, employees replenish their need for human interaction on weekends. On Sunday night, we know the fun is over. But if you have a good friend at work, this change will become less noticeable.
You Are Less Healthy: You’re not making up your symptoms; people are actually less healthy on Mondays. Heart attacks are more common, and people even weigh more on Mondays than other weekdays. During the weekend, our meal size increases, and physical work decreases (we sleep more, remember?), so that sluggish feeling on a Monday morning has nothing to do with Monday itself.
You Feel Worse: In addition to excessive meals, Sunday evenings are often used for other unhealthy stress-relievers, such as alcohol and smoking. Furthermore, in an attempt to extend the pleasure of a weekend and postpone the working week, people go to bed later than usual on Sundays. All these factors make the Monday blues a physiological condition, not a psychological one.
5 Ways to Overcome Your Monday Blues
Although it may require some time, effort, or changes to your habitual lifestyle, these problems can be resolved. The next five tips provide a comprehensive solution to the Monday blues to ensure enjoyable mornings throughout the working week.
1. Go to Bed Early
The early bird can catch more than just a worm. However, to make early rising less painful, you need to go to bed before midnight. Getting eight hours of sleep is the standard, so note the time when you need to wake up and subtract eight hours to get the time when you need to fall asleep. Set an alarm clock for your bedtime and follow through with your plan. You’ll enjoy the feeling of getting enough sleep every night.
2. Avoid Over Scheduling
For a smooth transition from a relaxing weekend to a busy Monday, plan fewer activities for the first day of the working week. If you participate in activities outside of work, try to schedule them during the middle of the week. If personal meetings cannot be arranged for weekends, plan them for Friday evening.
3. Don’t Forget about Your Self-Care Habits
In part, Mondays are so hard because we leave normal sleeping, eating, and exercise habits behind on Friday evening. Try to balance your weekend and weekday lifestyles through creating enough time for sleeping hours, fun, rest, and work. It is often better to study a couple of hours on Saturday to make the week less packed. Similarly, never leave all the laundry and cleaning for the weekend. Your weekend will just turn into another working day without any rest. Find the least busy day during the week and do some of your chores then.
4. Do Something You Love
Make your mornings something to look forward to. This will motivate you to go to bed earlier, and also make Monday mornings less disappointing. Many people read before going to bed. If your schedule allows, dedicate Monday evenings to the things you enjoy doing. Distribute your assignments throughout the rest of the week to have some free time on this day. By doing this you will be more productive throughout the week and still be able to find an hour or two for your hobbies.
5. Rethink Your Job
Take time to recognize the things you appreciate about your job. There is always something positive to find—pleasant people you interact with, an amiable atmosphere in your office, exciting assignments, etc. Focus on what you get, not on what it takes. Still, if you know that your job is poorly-paid or too stressful to bear, you might need to make a decision to change your path.
All in all, Monday is just another day. You are the one who makes it enjoyable or daunting. Spend 15 minutes every Monday morning thinking about your overarching goals and writing down where you are at accomplishing them. You will get a bird’s-eye view of your life. It is a highly motivating practice, especially at the beginning of the week, when we feel that we have six more days in reserve.
Want to learn more about managing employee stress? Check out our blog post The Daily Self-Care Secrets to Combating Employee Stress.
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