Feeling lethargic or down today?
It’s not uncommon; the start of the regular workweek can bring on a dysphoria or sadness. If you’re no fan of Mondays, the chances are that it’s not the day itself you dislike, it’s what you have to do upon waking up. Responsibilities, phone calls, commitments. ￼Your pangs of dread are about the task at hand. I often work for half the weekend, habitually. Every day should be about you crushing it, and that shouldn’t change for any day.
Several researchers have also found that Monday blues is a very real thing. Based on a study of Twitter messages, researchers think people are most likely to feel feel the blues or even full out depression on Monday and Tuesday. But it can go beyond hating the alarm clock. A recent study in Japan found suicide rates were highest on Mondays. Monday-morning depression may even trigger cardiovascular problems. Heart attacks and strokes frequently occur on a Monday, above other days.￼
Some hacks to win over Monday that I share with patients:￼
- Don’t live for the weekends. Although we all say and use the expression, TGIF, don’t make weekends exceptional compared to the rest of your life.￼
So don’t only look forward to Saturday and Sunday. Try to spread out the joy and plan something fun during the week, like a movie night or virtual dinner with close friends.
- Pick either Saturday or Sunday as a day of rest. We all have to do chores and errands, do them on one day or the other so that you have a day where you can actually rest.￼
- Pick either Friday or Saturday night to go out, and spend another evening staying home. Then, take some time for yourself, whether it’s taking a bath, whipping up a special meal, or getting a workout in, time taken for yourself is going to balance out those feelings about impending Monday. Also, it goes without saying, too much time out and about may lead to less sleep and potential hangovers.
- Don’t sleep in. Sticking to the same sleep schedule can help you adjust to the shift back to work days from your carefree weekend. I ask patients to get up at the same time, approximately, seven days a week. And only take short naps during the day￼. Plus, keeping a regular sleep schedule all week can help you feel rested and energized, and doing so is important. Irregular sleep schedules have been highly correlated with anxiety and depression.￼
- Plan ahead on Sunday night. Do something relaxing, like listening to soothing music, reading a good book, or watching a light movie.￼
- Lay out the Monday morning outfit, meal prep, and pack a good lunch the night before: eliminating stressors in the a.m. will only make Mondays more tolerable.
- Set the alarm early enough so that you wake up on time and avoid rushing around or being late for work or class.
- Hit the pillow early on Sunday. It will start training your brain that rest is important.￼
- Try to wake up early on Monday. Waking up before you usually do on a Monday means you can have some “you” time before your shift.
- Boost metabolism and jump-start the day by eating breakfast.
- Hit the gym, do some yoga or stretching, go for a walk, or a run. Even just walk your dogs.￼ Exercise amps up endorphin levels, so try getting in early morning exercise to start the day off the right way.
- Give yourself a treat.￼ Make Monday rewarding: Indulge in a piece of chocolate, eat something delicious, ￼do some online shopping during lunch-hour. Creating pleasurable associations trains neural pathways to not hate Mondays.￼
- Take small breaks throughout the day. Don’t stay glued to the desk chair all day. Take a walk to get some fresh air, head out to eat lunch (even if that’s just a sandwich in the park), or if possible, hit the gym for a quick workout. But, also, get up and walk around every hour. The average level of concentration for most people is no more than 40 to 45 minutes. After that attention wanders. ￼Grab yourself a coffee. Stretch your legs.
- Figure out why your Mondays are blue. It could be your job, but it could be other things, your commute, bills, virtual learning responsibilities for your children, social anxiety, feelings of fatigue. Try to get a handle on why and where the feelings come from.￼ If you’re dreading Mondays no matter what, then it may be time to make some changes.
- Find social support. Talk to a close friend on the phone, text a buddy during your break, If you have a trusted colleague, make it a pact that you will spend some time each day just interacting in a friendly way.￼￼ If the feelings persist, it may be time to seek a consultation with a mental health counselor to find more ways to fine-tune the transition to Monday.￼
Let’s make Mondays just another day.￼