Monday blues: Strategies to cope

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A blue Monday is one that feels depressing or hard especially because the individual is being forced to get back to the work routine after the weekend. Although, feeling a bit down on Mondays is quite normal, according to researchers, especially after a fun and relaxed weekend, Monday Blues can be horrible and contagious.

According to Ryan Kahn, American career coach and author of the book ‘Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad’, “Your stress or bad mood can drastically change the overall work environment,” he said in Forbes. So, how does one counter the dreaded blue Monday?

Work ahead of time

According to CNN, Monday Blues are a combination of extra body stress with “the stark contrast of the joy and freedom of family, friends and alone time with the drudgery of answering a zillion work emails”. Thus, one way to beat the Monday Blues is to finish as much work as possible or work ahead of time on Friday before the weekend.  It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But unfortunately, many choose not to heed it. In fact, this is the perfect example of choosing between instant gratification – and thinking about the weekend plans – or delayed gratification which, in this case, would mean working a little bit more on Friday to then enjoy a more relaxed Monday morning. “By taking care of the things you least want to handle at the end of one work week, you’re making the start of the next that much better,” said Rita Friedman, an American career coach, in Forbes. Mahensingh Deonaran, a psychologist in Mauritius, agrees and advises employees to take care of the bigger or more difficult tasks toward the end of the week to ensure the workload is lighter on Monday. He also suggests organising the office before leaving work on Friday. For instance, he said, make sure your workspace is tidy before you leave work for the weekend. 

Moreover, the psychologist also recommends preparing for work on Sunday so that there is no rush the following day. “Have your work bag prepared, your clothes laid out and documents ready. If you are unorganised, this will most probably lead to a hectic start on Monday morning, thus increasing the chances of arriving at work feeling stressed and irritable,” he said.

Have something to look forward to

Why do we look forward to the weekend? Probably because of the fun things planned or for the well-needed relaxing time. Either way, we look forward to the weekend because of the nice time that is awaiting us. In the same way, every Monday doesn’t always have to be just about dragging oneself through the day to get it over and done with, but about looking forward to something good. “By making Monday a special day where you get to go out with friends, make your favorite dinner, or eat a bowl of popcorn and catch up on a show you recorded, the day doesn’t have to be all about getting up to go into the office,” Friedman said. It can be the day on which you take long and relaxing baths, watch the latest movie or your favourite TV show, wear one of your favorite outfits to work or catch up with and tell your coworkers about your weekend and soon, Mondays won’t look so bad anymore. Who knows, you might even start looking forward to it.

Find out what the problem is

According to Alexander Kjerulf, an American consultant author and expert on happiness at work, sometimes Monday Blues happen if one is not happy at work. In his opinion, Monday Blues are so prevalent that they have become somewhat normal feelings. “But they can be much more than just a passing tiredness; they are often a serious warning sign that something is not right at work. If you were happy, you’d be excited and energised on Mondays, not tired and depressed,” he said. And it makes sense. If you love your job and what you do, Mondays should not be dreaded. In this case, you should stop and think about the problem. 

According to studies, if an individual experiences Monday Blues every week, then it might be a notable sign that he or she is unhappy at work. If that is the situation, then either the problem needs to be fixed or talked about, or time has come for a change of job. “If you have been feeling tired and unmotivated consistently over a protracted period of time and you believe your difficulties stem from problems outside of your control, perhaps you will need to consider moving on to find another job,” Deonaran said. “Chronic feelings of lethargy, lack of motivation, depression, cynicism, pessimism and the inability to detach oneself from work may be warning signs of a burnout syndrome.” Looking on the bright side, the weekend is the time to not only have fun, but also to get plenty of rest, relax and unplug from work. Very often, having a well-defined line drawn between personal time and work can be a blessing. 

“Being unable or unwilling to detach oneself from work can lead to feeling like you had no time away from work at all,” Deonaran said. “Try to ensure you have protected time outside of your working hours where you are not making work-related telephone calls, e-mails or dealing with work-related matters at home.” 

Most importantly, make sure to get a good night’s sleep on Sunday night to better start the following week.

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