Do you ever wake up on a Monday morning, groan, and think to yourself, “How is it Monday already?”
Ah yes, those pesky Monday blues. We all know them too well. It’s that low mood you experience at the beginning of the workweek. Though these blues aren’t an actual medical condition and they end up being the butt of many jokes, they can have rather serious consequences. According to Alexander Kjerulf, an expert on workplace happiness, Monday blues can lead to lower productivity, motivation, creativity, and engagement at the workplace. YIKES!
So, what causes Monday blues? Unhappiness at the workplace due to a toxic work environment, heavy workload, or micro-managing bosses could contribute to that dread you feel on Monday morning. If you don’t enjoy what you do, going in to work on Monday mornings can feel like torture. But you could still come down with a case of the blues even if you do enjoy your job.
Over the weekend, our sleep schedule tends to get messed up, and resetting our internal clock on Monday can be rather tricky. Catching drinks with friends can be a great way to connect and destress, but if we overdo it, we could end up with a serious hangover on Monday morning that leaves us feeling pretty miserable. Also, working over the weekend may be a culprit here as you don’t feel sufficiently rested to start the new week.
Since Monday blues have adverse effects on our performance and morale at the workplace, it’s important to have some strategies to beat it. Here are 7 ways to fight the much dreaded Monday blues:
1. Identify the problem
If you’re feeling intense sadness at the beginning of most workweeks, something might be wrong. Are you facing problems at the workplace? Is there anything you can do to improve the situation? Do you enjoy your job? Reflecting on these questions or discussing them with someone you trust could help you figure out a solution to the problem at hand.
2. Plan something to look forward to
Over the weekend, list down 3 to 4 things you’re looking forward to in the coming week either at work or in your personal life. If there isn’t much going on, consider making lunch plans with your colleagues, or plan a date night with your partner on Monday. Having things to look forward to makes the week feel less dreary and gets you feeling excited.
3. Unplug for the weekend
Imagine you check your work e-mail on Saturday and notice something you can’t follow up on till Monday morning, but since you’ve seen it, it weighs on you all weekend. It’s at the back of your mind and you can’t shake it off. Well, there goes your weekend! It’s best to avoid checking your work email until Monday. Of course, pressing matters do come up now and again that you’ll need to respond to, but unless it’s urgent, try your best to ‘log out’ for the weekend.
4. Get a head start on work (only if absolutely necessary)
This point may come across as contradictory to the previous one, but hear me out. Unplugging for the weekend is certainly the guiding principle we should stick to most of the time. However, there are times when we have big projects due soon and the thought of kickstarting the engine on Monday makes us anxious. If you have lots to do, consider getting a head start on Sunday for an hour or two. But make it a point to rest on Saturday; no rest at all will only end up making you feel tired and stressed on Monday morning. When I was a trainer, taking one or two hours on Sunday to go through the slides for a course the next day would always make me feel more prepared and less anxious to start the new week.
5. Don’t mess with your sleep schedule
If you usually sleep at 11 pm and wake up at 6 am, it’s probably not the best idea to mess with your internal clock and hit the sack at 2 am on Friday and Saturday. You may find it difficult to retune your internal clock on Sunday. Of course, the best part of weekends is getting to stay up a little later than usual, but if possible avoid going to bed any more than one or two hours after your regular bedtime.
6. Do some prep on Sunday night
Mondays are hard enough and having a bunch of stuff to do right in the morning just makes matters worse. Do a little prep the night before – pick out your clothes and accessories, iron them if necessary, prep your breakfast ahead of time, and pack your work bag. This way, you have a little extra time in the morning to indulge in something you enjoy since everything else is sorted. Have breakfast with your family, go for a walk, read a book, or do some yoga. Doing something you enjoy can fight off those Monday blues and put you in a positive mood.
7. Fake it till you make it
Feeling low on Monday morning? Don’t feel like dressing up? Do it anyway! Wear your cutest outfit and strut into work. You may not feel the part, but dressing up can make you feel good and more confident. While you’re at it, grab some snacks for your work gang and hand them out. Be the reason someone smiles at work. You may not feel like it, but lifting the spirits of others can make the work environment more positive and rub off on you in a good way too!
If you usually get a bad case of the Monday blues, do give some of these tips a try! With enough rest, sleep, and advance preparation, you might just find that Mondays aren’t so bad after all.