Ever dread the thought of returning to work at the start of the week? We have some tips to help you carry those happy weekend feelings into Monday, and beyond.
Do you find yourself spending Sunday evenings dreading what’s in store at work the following morning? Then the chances are you’ve got Mondayitis, my friend.
You won’t necessarily find it in standard dictionaries – or medical text books for that matter – but by definition Mondayitis is that unshakeable feeling of gloom many of us experience at the thought of returning to work after the weekend.
The underlying causes can be different for everyone. It might be that you’re stressed about all the tasks you know you’ll need to cover off in the coming week. Or it could be that you know your free time is coming to an end, and you’ll be nose to grindstone again within a few short hours. But however perceived the threat, Mondayitis is a real and potentially harmful phenomenon.
One global study found that up to 75% of us suffer from Mondayitis at some stage in our lives.1 Research in the US also suggests that Monday is one of the prime times for heart dysfunction, including chest pain, abnormal heart rhythm and heart attack.2
And while the reason for this would seem to relate to stress and stressful situations – colder seasons, natural disasters, tense sports games and terrorist attacks also came high on the list – the actual physiological link remains unclear.
Beating the blues
So what can you do to stave off the Monday blues and start your week on a happier note? We’re glad you asked. Here are our top 10 tips for thinking and acting smarter to fight off that Mondayitis feeling for good:
1) Identify the problem
First things first, try to figure out exactly what makes Mondays full of dread for you. Easier said than done, perhaps, but there’s usually one main culprit. For example, do you feel more tired and therefore grumpier at waking up earlier on Mondays? Is Monday when you discover your full workload for the week? Or is it simply the fact that your time is not your own any more? Be honest with yourself and you can start to uncover the truth.
2) Release the pressure
Do you expect too much of yourself on Mondays? Try to avoid making it your big day of the week, and treat it just as you would any other work day. In fact, where possible shift your bigger tasks onto other days. This will help to ease any perceived pressure, and allow you to ease back into things.
3) Stop overloading
Many of us bite off more than we can chew when it comes to work tasks. And as that To-Do list builds, Monday is inevitably the day where reality hits home and panic can start to set in. So try to pace yourself more, and avoid making deadlines for yourself at the start of the week.
4) Stay calm
Remember that feeling of relaxation you get on a Friday evening? Then try and carry it over to Monday. Set your alarm clock a little earlier on Monday morning and don’t rush. Take your time getting ready and stroll into work in a calmer state. Of course this may only be possible if you get a decent night’s sleep the night before. Talking of which…
5) Get enough sleep
Monday or not, a lack of sleep can affect us both mentally and physically, making us quicker to anger and more prone to mood swings, among many other things.3 So try to establish a decent sleep routine throughout the entire week, and don’t make weekends a time for overly long lie-ins. It will make Monday much more of a shock to the system.
6) Stay positive
Are you glass half full or glass half empty on Mondays? Instead of focusing on the negative, why not try switching the narrative? Start your Monday by writing down a list of things you’re looking forward to this week. Better still, arrange something you can look forward to on Mondays, like a regular lunch with friends, or wearing your favourite work clothes. That should help you stay positive.
7) Do your prep
Instead of leaving Monday as your day to get things sorted, start on Friday. Try to finish off as many tasks as you can before the weekend, and set things up so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning. Not only will it help even out the workload, it’ll give you closure for the week and allow you a clearer head over the weekend.
8) Relish your weekends
We all need our R&R, so be sure to set boundaries between work and personal life over your weekend. If at all possible, turn off your phone or don’t accept work-related calls or emails. It’s your chance to recharge and unwind, so just leave everything behind and focus on enjoying yourself.
9) Focus on colleagues
Monday anxiety can sometimes stem from our work relationships rather than our workload. So step back and assess whether anyone at your workplace is causing you stress. Then either try to sort the problem in an adult way, or if possible put some distance between you to alleviate things. And if the issue persists, talk to management to achieve a resolution.
10) Check your motivation
Lastly, it may be that Mondays are unattractive to you simply because you don’t like your job, or don’t feel particularly challenged in your role. If you’ve lost your zest, maybe it’s time for a new challenge.
Like many aspects of leading a happier and healthier life, the key to curing Mondayitis lies in making small changes before any big changes can happen. But if you follow these handy tips, hopefully you’ll be able to overcome the Monday blues - and never dread that day of the week again.