If you’re anything like me, the start of the workweek can trigger almost-overwhelming anxiety, stress and even sadness. But why?
You don’t have to lack passion or motivation to dread Monday’s. This black day makes people sluggish. It makes them tense. The Monday Morning Blues are a very real thing — and one we’ve all dealt with at some point.
The Monday Morning Blues are basically just the negative set of emotions that many of us get at the start of the work week. These blues can make you tired, depressed, hopeless and even set up in you a sense that your work is unpleasant or unenjoyable.
This start-of-the-week dread is such a major cultural phenomenon that it’s inspired trends like #MotivationMonday and #InspirationalMonday. All over the world, people come together to share their dislike of the day and it’s so common that we easily laugh it off and treat it as just another part of being alive.
The problem is, though, that Monday Morning Blues can often be a sign of a much bigger issue in your life.
Sometimes, Monday dread is a serious warning sign that something is not going right at work and is much more than just passing tiredness. If you were happy about the kind of work you were doing, there wouldn’t be any dread when it came to the start of the week. You’d be happy, excited and even energized on Mondays when it came time to return.
Rita Friedman, a career coach form Philadelphia, believes this to be true.
“If you love your job and are passionate about what you’re doing, going into in to work Monday Morning is another opportunity to do what you love,” she told Forbes in an interview. “But, if you’re feeling under-appreciated or unsatisfied with your job, it can be especially difficult to start another seemingly endless workweek.”
Having this kind of inherent dread when it comes to work can really hurt your productivity and personal success. It can also impact the people around you.
“We know from countless studies in psychology and neurology that your current emotional state has a huge effect on the quality of your work and when you’re feeling blue you are less productive, less motivated, more pessimistic, less creative, less engaged and learn more slowly — just to mention a few effects,” claims Alexander Kjerulf, an author who specializes on happiness in the workplace.
Your bad moods and stress can drastically change your overall work environment in the worst possible ways. When you come into work with a bad attitude and a cloud of stress — your coworkers pick up on that, and it becomes very difficult for them to be happy or productive. Your stress becomes the team’s stress and things only go downhill from there.
If you want to beat the Monday Morning Blues and set yourself up for success, try these 11 easy habits. You’ll be busting that stress and singing #MondayMotivation in no time.
Your professional and personal lives will thank you.
The 11 Best Ways to Bust Monday Morning Blues and Conquer Your Week
1. Get to the root of the issues.
If you want to really get rid of that Monday morning funk, then you need to get to the root of your issues with it.
Sit down and make a list of the things that are bringing you down in your life or at your job. Write down negative co-workers, meetings with the boss — whatever it is that makes you dread starting your week.
Doing this will help you to decide if that Monday loathing is something you should laugh off or if it is something more serious. Clarifying what is bothering you can help you become active in finding realistic solutions. By doing this, you can empower yourself to take charge and improve the situation.
Remember: Be honest when defining the problems you face at the start of the week. If you’re not honest about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through, you can’t come up with realistic solutions.
2. Prepare for your week before the weekend.
If you’re here, then you know that Mondays’ suck.
They’re stressful, and when Sunday comes around it seems that all you can think about is the work that’s potentially piled up for you from the few days you allow yourself to breathe.
It’s challenging to switch back on when that first day of the week rolls around. You can get anxious from even the thought of returning to work, and that’s just not good or healthy.
Help minimize this stress by preparing for your Monday on the Friday before.
Take care of things you least want to handle at the end of the work week instead of leaving them until Monday. If you get them out of the way ahead of time, you’ll be able to better enjoy your weekend and you’ll minimize the dread you have when that feared morning rolls around.
If you can’t take care of a particularly nasty task the Friday before, then do it as soon as possible Monday morning. Get it out of the way so you don’t spend the day dreading it or procrastinating (which will impact all your other tasks).
Having a black cloud hanging over you makes you uncomfortable in everything else that you do. When you resolve the outstanding issue, instead of putting it off, you’ll be able to relax and clean up any other fires you might also have going on.
Hot tip: Make sure your calendar and to-do lists are up to date and synced with all your devices on the Friday before. By doing this, you can make a plan of action for the week and get a handle on everything you need to tackle.
Someone who knows what’s coming can make a plan. Someone with a plan is someone who is confident and ready to conquer the week ahead.
3. Create happiness lists and don’t forget to reward yourself.
The work week is tough. Not only are we challenged at work, but we’re challenged by our day-to-day lives and it makes the going tough occasionally.
Give yourself something to look forward to.
Sit down on Sunday nights and make lists of the good things you have going on that week. Make a list of at least 3 things that are happening to you in the week ahead that make you happy or excited.
It could be as simple as a bubble bath or as big time as a trip to Disney World. Whatever it is, add it to the list and put it somewhere prominent (like a planner or wall calendar) so that you can be reminded of what you have to look forward to regularly.
You can also use the old carrot-stick method.
When facing a particularly nasty Monday (or week) build some rewards for yourself into whatever schedule or routine you’re following.
Rewards can be big or small. Treat yourself to that fast-food lunch you’ve been craving, or book yourself in for a 6 p.m. massage at that spa you’ve been eyeing for ages. This will help put you in a positive mood and give you a reason to get through those tasks that you’re really dreading.
Hot tip: If you can’t think of 3 things to look forward to, or don’t have any way to reward yourself, then it might be an indication that major changes are needed in your work or life.
4. Turn off your iPhone (or Android…I’m not here to judge.)
When you walk out of work for the weekend, turn off your phone. I’m serious. Leave your office problems behind you when you leave the office on Friday.
It’s tempting to get a jump start on all the little work surprises that build up for us over the weekend, but it’s incredibly toxic.
When we check work email or voicemail repeatedly (even if we don’t respond until Monday) we start to blur the lines between our professional and personal lives. This causes anxiety to bleed over from one world to the other. Before you know it, you’re a crippled pile of dread and the people around you are miserable too.
Don’t let Monday dread creep into your off time. Turn off your work phone and put it away whenever your off day falls. You have a right to your “you time” and you should protect it with everything you have.
The weekend is your opportunity to recharge, so that you have the mental and emotional health to face the extremely stressful tasks that are lingering ahead. Without it, you get stuck in the quick moving current of Anxiety River and lose the resilience that’s required to get through the day.
Take a step back and put the work phone and work email away. Take a step toward your true self instead and enjoy some time with your friends, families and hobbies.
5. Go to bed early. Wake up early.
You have to face Monday like ripping off a bandaid.
Instead of hitting snooze 1,000 times, go to bed early on Sunday and get up early on Monday ready for battle.
When you go to bed early, you can wake up earlier and actually feel well-rested. Running on a couple of hours sleep is never a good idea, but it’s an especially bad idea when you’re preparing to encounter potential stress. Getting inadequate sleep won’t leave you feeling great, and it’s definitely not going to make you feel good about facing what seems unfaceable.
It might seem counterintuitive, but getting up an extra 20 — 30 minutes early on Monday morning can actually make things easier.
You can use this time as “me time” or just use it as a buffer to take things at a little less hectic pace. Use it to journal or take the dog for a walk. You could start a basic yoga practice or even try your hand at meditation.
By giving yourself a bit of spare time (and getting a bit more sleep) you’ll feel more centered and calm for the rest of the day. The extra time will help you remember that you’re a unique individual and not just some robot that’s working and sleeping your life away.
Hot tip: If you’ve got the time but aren’t sure how to best use it, then learn more about building a morning routine that works for you.
6. If you can’t be happy about it, at least be fashionable.
You might have heard the saying before: Dress up. Perk up. Show up.
Believe it or not, this is incredibly true.
The way you dress can dramatically shift the way you feel about yourself and your place in the world around you. It sounds cliche, but when we feel good in our clothes, we often feel better about the things and people around us.
Use Monday to wear your favorite new outfits and wear them with confidence and pride. Take a little extra time and make a little extra effort. People around the office will take notice, and before you know it you’ll be sharing compliments and helping lift of the vibe of your entire team.
Work is deflating, so feeling good about yourself is the majority of the battle. By building your own confidence you can build up the professional confidence you need to tackle Monday and its inevitable workload.
7. Try a little optimism.
Instead of ugh-ing and boo-ing Mondays, start the week off with a little optimism and a touch of gratitude.
Take time to appreciate the things you do enjoy about work and the things that it allows you to enjoy in your personal life.
Before you even get to work, start building a positive vibe. Listen to your favorite songs on the car or bus ride and when you get to the office see how long you can go without complaining about anything.
In that same train of thought, don’t listen to the complaints of others. When you create or contribute negativity — you share negativity. It’s like energy vomit and its not the best way to improve anyone’s attitude.
Make the decision to start your week positively. When you turn reluctance into optimism, you’ll find that you become more positive, productive and motivated to do what you need to do.
Hot tip: You don’t have to wait until Monday morning to start your preparations, though. Start on Friday, and make sure you desk and to-do lists are ready to go (sound familiar?). Then, take Sunday to rest, review and reward yourself, as well as plan, plan, plan for the week ahead.
8. Pay it forward.
Okay, this one is probably one you’ve never thought of before but try to make your Mondays better by making them better for someone else.
Doing nice things for other people is a great way to boost your spirits and can help shift the mood in a what might otherwise be a tense workplace. Shift the mood in the office by making Monday a #RandomActsofKindness day that boosts morale.
Paying it forward to your coworkers can be as simple as giving someone a compliment or doing something nice for a customer that’s having a particularly hard day. You can also take the boost outside of the professional environment and do something for a stranger on the street or by volunteering a little time during lunch or at the end of the day for a charitable cause.
Making someone else’s day better will make you feel better about yours no matter what you have going on. When we pay it forward, we pay ourselves. If you want a currency that grows on trees, try a little kindness of your own.
9. Minimize your Monday.
Somehow, anything that can go wrong does go wrong on Mondays. This knowledge in hand, try to keep your Monday schedule as light as possible.
If you’re planning meetings, try to schedule them for the 2nd or 3rd day in the week, rather than the 1st. Instead of tackling the biggest and most complicated tasks on your rota for the week, give priority to the little things that bug you or the boring things that don’t take a lot of brain power to get through.
Thinning out your Monday as much as possible will allow you ease back into the workweek, which is really helpful when you’re in a job that you don’t necessarily love. Don’t leave yourself too much free time, though, as you’ll soon find yourself glowering and depressed over an already blues-filled day.
10. Build in a little fun.
It’s okay to do things that you enjoy in the office.
Try to build a little fun into the day. For you and your colleagues. Bring in donuts for the morning ramp up, or share some stories with your closest team mates from the weekend you just enjoyed. Being social and doing enjoyable things together can help build workplace morale and help you feel better about your work environment and the people you interact with daily.
Schedule a weekly Monday morning coffee break or try going to lunch with a friend. Fun things are a great way to break up the work day and make you feel better, which in turn will help you to be more productive over time.
11. Plan a post-work treat.
No day should just be about “making it through”. Making Monday a special day is a great way to keep yourself excited and motivated to conquer the day. Having a post-work plan will help you look forward to Monday and give you a goal to work toward throughout the day.
Set up a dinner date with friends at a new restaurant or go home and binge that new show in your pajamas. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does need to be something that you enjoy.
Get over that trudge and give yourself something to look forward to. It really can transform your day.
Putting it all together…
Don’t let Monday beat you down. Instead, try a few easy tweaks to get the results and success that you want.
Focus yourself with reward that justify your work. Unplug on the weekends and do what you can to recharge and reset for the week ahead. Pay it forward and don’t be afraid to put a little fun in the workplace, and when things seem really grim, don’t be afraid to step back and really address the problems that are causing you distress on Monday mornings. Get more sleep and try to be more positive about the work that you do. And when all else fails, don’t forget the power of dressing to impress.
Mondays don’t have to be grim. They can be great. Build a little hope and happiness into your life by conquering your week from beginning to end.