If you know the feeling of dread, exhaustion and hopelessness as your alarm rings at 7 a.m. for the start of a new work week, then you know the Monday Blues. It’s the start of five consecutive days of real world obligations after two carefree days of fun.
So why do we feel this way? “It’s something called anticipatory bias,” says Robert E. Cohen, PsyD, ABPP, Director of Clinical Neuropsychologist at Orlando Health Neuropsychology Consultants. “You anticipate something bad is going to happen, or you’re in for another long week of work, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.”
Clinical psychologist Andra Brosh, PhD, agrees, explaining people who aren’t in love with their day-to-day duties tend to be most prone to this Monday frame of mind. “It’s a kind of mini-grieving that happens because the weekend is over and it feels like a loss. When people really use their weekends to recuperate and have fun, the dreaded Monday morning can be a huge bummer. When your work is your passion there is no such thing as a weekend on a Monday morning.”
If you suffer from this feeling on Mondays, here’s how to curb your negative thinking.
1. Exercise during the day. Cohen says so many adults have a desk job and completely forget to simply get up and move. If Mondays feel like you’re caged to the prison of your desk eight hours a day for the next five days, it’s no wonder you’re down. “Exercise is the most preventative form of healthcare we have,” says Cohen. “We know that now. A sedentary lifestyle will bring your mood down. Why would you expect your attitude to be up if you never are?” Exactly. So, take a walk on your lunch hour and get those endorphins pumping.
2. Stop thinking about time in terms of days and weeks. You are not tied down to a life of monotony for five days, with only two days of reprieve. Any day can be great if you allow it to be. “Remember that days of the week are something we invented to structure time, but the truth is that every day is an opportunity to have an amazing experience, change the world or to do something special,” Brosh says.
3. Plan activities during the week. Don’t save all your fun for the weekend. Set personal goals for sometime mid-week. Perhaps if you do yard work on Monday, then you can make plans to see a friend on a random Tuesday night for drinks. “It’s important to have positive reinforcement,” says Cohen. “You have to plan things and make that effort. Planning is big because it gives you a sense of control.” Control your day-to-day and you can control your happiness, too.
4. Transform your Sunday. Everyone needs a day of recuperation and reflection where they can quietly assess personal goals and needs. “A kind of preparation for the week ahead will put you in a better space when the alarm goes off on Monday morning,” says Brosh.
If you can’t seem to shake the Monday Blues then they might not be the Monday Blues after all. Watch for signs of depression in yourself and in others. “Some people are negative thinkers in general, and overall we are wired to be negative due to our ancestors need to be alert to danger,” Brosh says. “Positivity is work and requires a mind shift. Depression can be biochemical or it can be related to repressed feelings. If there is any question about depression, consult a professional–particularly when the symptoms are not going away.”
“What we’re really looking for is to give people the best quality of life,” Cohen says. So, if you feel like you can’t shake negative emotions, it can never hurt to get an expert’s opinion. Living in misery is no way to live.
If you’re having the Monday blues then try some of the tips above to get you through the week. If it’s more serious and you can’t put your finger on the source, then consider getting help as depression can affect your self-esteem, libido, sleep and energy levels.