How to Cure the Monday Blues

Clinical psychologist Dr. Monica Vermani reveals the chief culprits of—and solutions to—the dread that sets in as the work week approaches

Don’t like Mondays?

In a 2018 LinkedIn survey, Your Guide to Winning @ Work, a whopping 80 percent—and more than 90 percent of Millennial and GenX—respondents reported experiencing a dread of Mondays. If you find your weekend vibes displaced by feelings of anticipatory stress, overwhelm or anxiety by Sunday evening, you are most definitely not alone.

While there is no one-size-fits-all cause of the Monday blues, examining red-flag problematic feelings through the lens of self-care can provide a useful pathway into the chief culprits of—and solutions to—the dread that sets in as the work week approaches.

Energy, Stress and Self-care

We all lead busy lives with tasks and responsibilities that can sometimes mount to the point where we place our needs and happiness last on our to-do list. Here’s where self-care comes in. Self-care is all about prioritizing our physical and emotional well-being while managing our obligations. When the demands of all we take on outweigh our energy levels, we become stressed. To that end, self-care is all about maintaining our energy levels.

We have just four sources of energy: the food we eat (our fuel), sufficient, high-quality rest (sleep), exercise and our breath, and our psychological well-being (a calm state of mind). Less than optimal states in one or more aspects of self-care relate strongly to the main causes of dread of the approaching work week.

3 Main Reasons We Dread MondaysSad woman working at her compuaterPoike

1. Job dissatisfaction

This broad category includes being in a job or on a career path that does not align with your interests, is not engaging or challenging, and does not provide opportunities for growth or expansion. Job dissatisfaction leads to a lowered sense of self-esteem and state of mind—one of the four sources of energy we have.

2. Problematic workplace dynamics

This looks like stress, overwhelm, conflict, feeling overlooked, excluded, unfairly treated. or lacking in decision latitude in the workplace. When we are stressed, overwhelmed and feel powerless to manage the demands and dynamics of our workplace, we lack the time to take care of ourselves, eat healthily, and sleep well. In a state of stress, we breathe short, shallow breaths and rarely take a moment to pause and breathe deep, calming breaths.

3. Exhaustion and burnout

Chronic tiredness, emotional overwhelm and physical exhaustion contribute to the Monday blues. If you are tired—whether from prolonged periods of over-work or burning the candle at both ends at the end of the working week—you are depleted due to a lack of quality rest and healthy sleep cycles, where the body recovers from the wear and tear of the day, heal and restores energy levels.

Confronting the Causes

We are all we have in this world, and it is important that we prioritize ourselves and our self-care. We are not meant to live in pain, in a state of exhaustion, dread or fear. If you dread Mondays, it is important to identify the source of your dread.

Are you feeling dissatisfied with your choice of job or career path, frustrated or dissatisfied with the opportunities for growth in your field or position? Are you happy with your career choice, but feeling overworked, over-burdened, or unfairly treated or excluded in your current job? Are you physically exhausted at the start of each work week due to the overwhelming responsibilities of caring for others? Or are you burnt out from burning the candle at both ends all weekend long, and ignoring your body’s need for proper sleep, nutrition and exercise?

It is incumbent on us to pause, reflect and reset, and make healthier, more life-affirming and positive choices for ourselves, then bring in the resources we need to help us navigate through our challenges and live an authentic, fulfilling and happy life.

5 Steps to Conquering the Monday Blues

1. Don’t dismiss your Monday blues

See it for the red flag that it is, and make a promise to yourself to make positive life changes

2. Identify the source

Take the time to reflect deeply on the reasons why you dread the approach of the working week.

3. Do what you can now to make changes

Once you’ve identified the source of your malaise, take immediate steps to address what you know to be the cause. If you are chronically exhausted, talk to your doctor. Look at your lifestyle choices, take steps to improve your work/life balance, and improve your self-care routines.

4. Reconnect to your authentic self

If career dissatisfaction is the root cause of your Monday blues, honour yourself by exploring alternative career choices for yourself.

5. Bring in outside support if you’re struggling

Sometimes when we are struggling, we need to look beyond our own resources for solutions to our challenges. Mental health professionals, career counsellors, friends, and family members can provide valuable insights and support when dealing with challenges, choices, and change.

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