How often do you find yourself anxiously dreading the upcoming work week, even on a Friday? If you’re nodding your head and thinking, “All the time”, you might have a case of the Monday blues. Yes, it’s a psychological concept that creates a set of negative emotions about the upcoming week and affects many. Millions of individuals globally experience anxiety, sadness, and even depression at the thought of returning to work. Yet there are ways to learn how to beat the Monday blues and make every day much brighter.
How to Beat the Monday Blues
1. Prepare in advance
Mondays can be more stressful if you have overdue tasks through the weekend. That one uncomfortable email you avoided sending, that lingering unfinished project or that outstanding issue sitting in the back of your mind can all create anxiety and make Mondays harder. But if you take care of the tasks and responsibilities you least want to on Friday, you’ll feel a bit lighter starting a new work week. And if you have any icky tasks waiting for you on Monday, get them out of the way to boost your productivity and mood. You’ll feel happier for prioritizing any loose ends before you relax and let go during the weekend.
2. Separate work and play
It may be tempting to bring work home with you, especially if you have looming projects or responsibilities. But replying to even one email on the weekend can set off a chain of events where you’re glued to your computer. Instead, make peace with any unfinished tasks and practice setting clear boundaries between work and play. As a busy bee, you need to have fun and rest during your free time. If not, you’ll resent work more, and the Monday blues will become more challenging to shake off.
3. Invest in self-care
One of the best tips for learning how to beat the Monday blues is to remember your weekend is all about you. Therefore, use your time off to treat yourself, but don’t overindulge. If you ignore your positive habits and party too much, you’ll feel regretful for missing time to enjoy your life. It’s all about finding a balance that is optimal for your mental and physical health. And when Monday rolls in, reward yourself. For example, buy yourself your favorite lunch or dessert, or get a massage after work if possible. Buying yourself a treat will remind you that you work hard and you deserve to have more sunshine in your life.
4. Don’t sleep in
It’s challenging to feel optimistic about the work week if you’re running on an empty tank. Therefore, prioritize restful sleep during the weekend but don’t sleep in. While you may look forward to sleeping past noon, it can create bad habits that mess with your upcoming week. Also, go to bed a little earlier on Sunday. If you’re exhausted on Monday, you’ll focus more on how the day will be awful instead of how wonderful the day could be. And bonus, you’ll have a few extra minutes of you-time. Whether you want to meditate, journal (try these journal prompts for self-love and healing), or snuggle with your partner, more time will give you a longer window to prep mentally before work begins.
5. Use Sunday as rest
The running theme of this article is all about balance, and it’s the answer to seeing Monday as any other day rather than a nightmare. So, plan your weekend accordingly for play and rest. For example, if you go out on Saturday, you’ll have Sunday to recharge, plan your upcoming week, meal prep, and spend time with your loved ones. Conversely, if you go out Sunday and don’t recharge, Monday will feel horrible, especially with a hangover or a lack of sleep. Use your time wisely – you’ll be happier in the long run.
6. Address the problem
While the Monday blues is a common problem, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And if you dread the work week most weekends, it’s safe to say something needs to change. Therefore, ask yourself what’s wrong. Perhaps there is an underlying issue causing you anxiety and stress more than the typical work frustrations. For example, maybe you feel underappreciated, or you’re butting heads with your boss or a colleague. Whatever it is, try making a list or journal to help you pinpoint the problem. When you set time aside to investigate what’s bothering you, you’ll feel more motivated to find a solution.
7. Don’t overschedule
Mondays are significantly more challenging if you’re welcomed back with several meetings and a never-ending to-do list, especially after a relaxing weekend. So, if possible, avoid scheduling any important meetings or stressful projects on Monday. Think of each Monday as your day back into work mode, and doing so means you need to care for your mental health. While taking control of your work schedule isn’t always possible, use time management tools to help you track your tasks, schedule meetings, and boost your productivity.
8. Connect and go out
Similar to treating yourself, your day shouldn’t be about how to get through Monday, but how to enjoy your life more. For example, go out for dinner with a loved one, catch up on your favorite tv show, or take a fitness class. In fact, carry this tip throughout the entire work week, not just Mondays. Make sure you’re squeezing in time to have fun instead of working and getting through your to-do list as quickly as possible. Life is about far more than material success.
9. Improve your self-talk
We often wake up frustrated that the day will be horrible. Not getting enough sleep, burning our coffee, or traffic are all indicators we use as evidence to make us believe that the day will be awful. However, improve the self-talk and instead wake up and ask yourself, “Today will be wonderful. How can I make it a day that brings me happiness and peace?” If you think this, your brain will be more motivated to focus on the mindful moments. It will search for things that boost your mood, like a thoughtful conversation with a colleague, a delicious bite of your lunch, or a moment to yourself. So, when you wake up on Monday, tell yourself it will be beautiful.
10. Lay off the pressure
If you’re not in the mood to complete any of these items, that’s okay. Remove the pressure that you need to fix everything and do what’s best for you. For example, if you need to rest all weekend in bed, do so. Or if you need to hide from the world after work on Monday, do so. Our society is all about doership. We think we’re not valuable if we’re not working, doing, exercising, eating healthy, or (fill in the blank). Sometimes we need to shut off and do nothing.
While learning how to beat the Monday blues is a dream of many, there’s an important point to consider – Mondays aren’t the problem. It could be your work, especially if Monday blues turns into Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Therefore, spend time addressing the cause and prioritizing small changes each day. Dreading the work week is no way to live your life.
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