Coping with a case of “The Mondays”
The Mondays: A phrase used to describe someone that has a bad mood when he or she comes to work or school on Monday.
We’ve all been there. It’s Sunday evening, and that inkling of the new workweek beginning in a few hours has crept in. Maybe you feel sad that the weekend has ended, maybe you feel anxious about the to-do list for the week ahead. Even if you love your job, the start of the work week for many of us comes with mixed emotions and often a case of “The Mondays”.
If you have seen the movie Office Space, you may be able to relate the monotony of the waking up to the screaming alarm clock on Monday morning and not wanting to leave the comfort of your bed. In fact, you might argue that a case of “The Mondays” is natural. From an evolutionary standpoint, we have been conditioned to seek out problems as a means to protect ourselves from danger. So it is somewhat natural to seek out what’s wrong and focus on it; however, it is more likely that when thinking about the start of the workweek, this become less of a protective mechanism, and will likely make it more difficult to be happy. The good news is that you can train your brain to shift to a more positive perspective.
Below are some simple tips to help you beat the Sunday Blues and set a good tone for the work week ahead and hopefully cope with a case of “The Mondays”.
Make Sundays enjoyable.
One of the worst things you can do is to end Sunday in a stressed-out mindset, sleep poorly, and start the workweek off on the wrong foot.
Instead, this Sunday, plan to do the Monday preparations earlier on in the day. Organize laundry, choose your outfit, iron and pack your lunch in the morning. If needed, review your work calendar and address emails before 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. That way, you can take some time in the afternoon or evening to do one or two things you actually enjoy. Watch a favourite show, plan a movie night, make a meal you will look forward to, spend quality time with family and/or friends, go for a walk or practice some yoga – anything that you enjoy doing.
Studies have found that when we have something positive to anticipate, we feel better and more optimistic. By simply re-structuring your Sunday to complete the to-do list items earlier on in the day, you are setting the stage to not feel as rushed and finish the day with an enjoyable activity.
Our minds are very good at wandering. Maybe it is during your commute into work, or perhaps while sitting at your desk, you may find your mind wandering to the deadline later in the week, or the meeting in a few hours. Rather than letting it distract you or stress you out, take a mindful moment and practice being present. Tune into your breath, notice your surroundings, and take a moment to reconnect. When we do tasks mindfully, we increase our attention and focus, minimize our risk of errors and you may actually find yourself becoming more efficient at work!
One way to make “The Mondays” better is to treat yourself to something at the end of the day. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or take much effort, but by practicing a little self-care you can give yourself a pat on the back for tackling the first day of the week!
Why not spend some time:
- Reading for 10 minutes in your favorite chair.
- Make a cup of your favorite tea and savor it for a few minutes.
- Listen to music you enjoy (this is one that helps me with my commute home).
- Do some yoga or stretches.
- Draw a bath.
- Really anything that would be a little treat that you can reward yourself with.
End the Day With a Grateful Pause.
If you read our blog on Gratitude a few weeks ago you know how valuable this practice can be. Since many of us are rushing from point A to point B, you may feel like you simply do not have the time for this. The best way to do this is to connect it to something you already do. Try to think of something good that happened during the day before starting your car for your commute home or before you put the key in the door as you arrive home or while cooking or even while brushing your teeth before bed.
All the above are good habits to adopt to help manage stress after the weekend (and especially after a holiday). Start by trying out a few of the above strategies to take back your Sunday and find a cure for a case of “The Mondays”’.
 Van Boven & Ashworth (2007). Journal Of Experimental Psychology. https://www.psychologies.co.uk/self/life-lab-experiment-mind-2.html