Monday Blues: 5 Ways to Counter It
In studies conducted with US participants, results have shown that suicides are more likely to occur on Mondays than any other weekday, and not surprisingly, the number of suicides is the least during weekends. It is also revealed that Monday depresses most people compared to any other days of the week. Seems like there is a reason behind the term ‘Monday Blues’ after all.
It probably wouldn’t come as a shock to you that a UK research also found that most sick leaves are also taken on Mondays. As to why Monday is a particularly moody day, well, it’s pretty obvious that we’d end up a bit down when returning to work, especially after fun and rested weekend. In reality though, the real reason may be more than meets the eye.
It turns out that Monday Blues could be a case of biological emotional cycles that determine our ‘biological’ moods. In other words, it’s not the negative feelings we have of going back to work that’s making us blue, but periodic mood shifts that go by the week. Fortunately for us, there are a few simple things we can do to help minimize the ill effects of Monday Blues.
1. Have Something to Look Forward to on Monday Nights
What is it that keeps you going from Monday ’til Friday? Weekends! You’d probably be thinking about the weekend getaway with your buddies, daydreaming about the sea breeze and the golden sandy beaches that await your arrival; no doubt these thoughts would help make the time pass faster.
The same theory thus, should also apply to your Mondays. Plan something for after work so that you have something to look forward to. Monday is probably just the start of a hard week ahead, so you deserve an exciting event at the end of the day to motivate you while you work.
If you feel that you’d be too exhausted for a night out, consider doing something at home; something relaxing. Taking a long bath while indulging in soothing music and a homemade aromatherapy session should lessen the stress you are facing at work or after a long weekend, partying.
If you make it a habit to go home to relax every Monday evening, sooner or later you’d not see each Monday as a taxing day. Rather, it will become the day that you’ll long for. Monday doesn’t have to be the most painful day of the week; it is only so if you focus on it.
2. Prepare Monday’s Work on Friday
This one seems like common sense, but people don’t seem to heed it. It is a case of instant gratification versus delayed gratification. Yes, Friday is the day when we can finally say take a breather and count down to the weekend. But in reality, some of us have already ‘closed shop’ by midday, and simply thinking about plans for the weekends.
The result? We leave Friday’s work to pick up on Monday, and we face a double whammy when we return to work after the weekend.
I suggest that you bring the coming Monday’s work to this Friday. This will not only minimize the dread you’ll face on Monday mornings, but also keep your mind off work during the weekend. At the very least, if you plan out Monday’s workload on Friday, you’ll feel less overwhelmed come Monday. Planning ahead can help you cope with Mondays and maintain your productivity levels for the rest of the week.
Humans are social animals. Even if you are an introvert and prefer to keep to yourself most of the time, you still need some social contact once in a while. Engaging in a conversation stimulates the mind enough to actually kick-start it for the day. If you dive straight into your work the moment you reach the office, chances are that your brain is still trying to ‘wake up’. Like a car engine, your brain needs to warm up before it can function optimally.
Other sources would suggest waking up earlier, getting some sunlight, or finding something to laugh about, etc. The idea is to freshen up your mind before you start work so that you’ll get enough motivation and energy to face yet another demanding Monday.
I suggest socialization here because there’s nothing more invigorating than the exchange of ideas and opinions via conversations. The conversations need not be ‘deep’ in nature; even a simple chat about how the weekend was spent can wake up all your senses and your mind for the day ahead.
4. Reconceptualize Mondays
This one is a little tricky because it has a lot to do mind over matter. Ask yourself: why does Monday have to be blue? Just because everyone says so? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you should ‘reprogram’ the way you see Monday. Monday may be the day we have to drag our feet back to work after an awesome weekend but if you look at it as the beginning of a great week ahead, the thought can empower you and propel you to a great start.
As it is with other things in life, it is a matter of seeing the glass half empty or half full. You can be overwhelmed with all the duties and deadlines you are in charge of, or you can be enthusiastic about the responsibilities and goals were thrown upon you.
If this doesn’t work for you, my fifth and final tip, the simplest and most counter-intuitive solution could just be the answer to your Monday woes.
5. Accept It
Monday blues is like a Chinese finger trap; the more you struggle, the tighter it gets. In other words, fighting the blues only makes it worse. The solution to both Monday blues and the finger trap is surprisingly very similar. For the finger trap, you just need to relax your fingers and push them further in. The trap will then loosen and you’ll get your fingers out. As for your Monday blues, just accept that it’s a dreadful day and that you’ll probably feel a bit tired and down.
Think about it: Monday is already a miserable day and you’re still thinking of ways to stop yourself feeling that way? It will only exhaust you further. Why not go with the flow and cope with the stress? Time passes by quickly when you don’t dwell on it.
After a while you wouldn’t even remember that Mondays are supposed to be blue. It’s just the day after the weekend when we all have to return to work.
How do you cope with your Monday blues? Share your thoughts about the phenomenon and how you cope with the first-day blues in the comments section. Have a great week ahead and Cheers!