Read various website about how to combat the “Monday Blues” and you’ll find pretty much the same advice in all of them: Get extra sleep Sunday night. Give yourself a jolt of cold water in your Monday morning shower. Have some coffee. Make sure to put something on your Monday “to do” list that gives you something to look forward to.
All are good ideas if the problem merely is that you need a jumpstart to the work week. But such suggestions are beside the point if there is a real and important underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Sometimes the resistance to Monday is an inner emotional alarm going off. If that’s the case, taking a cold shower or drinking a cup of coffee won’t solve your Monday Blues any more than taking the battery out of a smoke detector will stop a fire.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central’s Ask the Therapist feature. She is author of the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
Hate Mondays? Maybe you aren’t paying attention to one of these signals:
1. Your job isn’t really “workable.”
Let’s face it: For many, work has become much more demanding in the last 10 years. As companies cut personnel to cut costs, those left are expected to do more and more. Those who have been in their jobs for a long time often have high personal standards for quality that are almost impossible to meet with the increased workload. It’s exhausting and discouraging to feel like “the hurrieder you go, the behinder you get.” It may be appropriate to talk with your supervisor about adjusting your own or the company’s standards. If that’s impossible, it may be time to consider whether you can find a different job.
2. Your job isn’t satisfying.
Only a lucky few have jobs that are thrilling, satisfying, enjoyable, and enriching every minute of every day. Most of us have a whole lot of routine mixed in with occasional periods of excitement, or at least satisfaction. If those moments are few and far between, get busy. You may be able to up the portion of the time that you are happy in your work. Is there a project you could take on that would renew your interest? Is there a way to change your job within the company, either by going for a promotion or through a lateral move that would give you new opportunities? Does the human resources department offer workshops you could take to develop new skills?
3. Your life is out of balance.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” (or Jane a cranky girl.) It’s an old saying that is never irrelevant. If your life is work, work, work, of course you feel out of sorts. No matter how important our work is, we need to remember to refuel through self-care. That includes developing a hobby or interest, taking time for some fun and vacations (or stay-cations), and doing the usual daily regimen of eating right, sleeping enough, and getting some exercise. If you only take care of yourself on weekends, Monday morning is the beginning of five days of deprivation. Not good. Take the time to reassess how you are managing the balance of your life during the week.
4. Your job is hostile to your relationships.
Jobs that require long hours, or that require you to take work home or put in time on the weekends, are killers to family life and friendship maintenance. It’s sad to see parents at kids’ events who couldn’t leave their laptops at home. Friends get impatient with friends who interrupt a social evening to take a business phone call. Yes, these folks are in attendance, but they aren’t really there. Your discontent with your job may be a signal that you are missing out on too much of the warmth and intimacy you need from your relationships. Take a careful look at how you can manage the demands of your job in such a way that it doesn’t cost you love.
5. Your attitude toward work needs adjustment.
We do get what we expect. For some people, work is a four-letter word. Work is, well, “work.” It’s seen as the opposite of fun, the nasty dinner you have to eat before you get to have dessert. When a person has developed an attitude that any work or chore or required activity is a major distraction from enjoyment, Monday morning is, by definition, a downer. If that’s the case, it’s time for an attitude transplant. Unless you are one of the fortunate few to win the lottery or to inherit a trust fund, you’ll be working a great many hours of your life. Better to find a way to embrace it, and, yes, even enjoy it.
6. You are struggling with depression.
Depression can sneak up on a person. It may not be the job that is pulling you down. It may be that you are becoming clinically depressed. Is your appetite off? Are you having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Has your interest in sex plummeted? Does doing things that used to be pleasurable for you seem like just too much effort? These could be the signs of depression. Consider going to see a mental health counselor for an evaluation. If you are depressed, the counselor will discuss possible treatment options. This may include some medication and some talk therapy to help you get back to your old self.
Before you buy into the notion that Mondays are awful and simply can’t be changed, take another look. It’s important not to ignore the possibility that the awfulness resides in your choices, not in a day of the week. If that’s the case, you do have the option to make it better. Confront the issue, make some changes (and maybe give yourself that splash of cold water and a cup of coffee), and you can make Monday the start of a productive and satisfying week.