Mondays – traditionally the first day of the work week – can be challenging. As business professor Dr. Marylene Gagné points out in Psychology Today, “… for most American workers, well-being increases on Friday evening and decreases dramatically on Sunday night to reach a low point on Monday morning.”
Many of us are familiar with the cycle. After a few days of family fun, relaxation or recreational activity (depending on how you decompress), heading back to work or school bright and early Monday morning can feel like torment. You’re likely sleepy, grumpy and reluctant to face the week to come.
Seems a lot of that misery may be self-induced, the result of succumbing to the persistent narrative about Monday blues and blahs. Attitude is everything – does yours need an adjustment?
Here are just a few suggestions to help you re-frame your re-entry to the work week:
Preparation for a happier Monday can actually start the previous Friday. Before the weekend break try to tie up loose ends. Don’t leave the toughest tasks for later – they’ll be harder to deal with on Monday when you might be feeling vulnerable.
Over the weekend don’t stray too much from your regular sleep and wake schedule. Messed up circadian rhythms can lead to added fatigue and anxiety.
Sundays present a great opportunity to organize things – from clothing to bagged lunches and simple dinner menus to ‘to do’ lists – for the week ahead. Also identify what you’re looking forward to during the week ahead – try to keep them top of mind rather than dwelling on tasks or events you may be dreading.
Do whatever you can to make more positive associations about Monday’s return to the grind.
Wear something special, an outfit that makes you feel particularly good. Switch up how you get to work, the route or the means. Leave time for a bit of a walk.
Adopt a ritual treat just for Mondays, listening to a special playlist, indulging in a fancy coffee or a treat for lunch, planning a favorite fitness or yoga break at the beginning or end of the workday.
These types of small rituals can help reset your outlook on Mondays, framing it in a more positive light.
Just Be Nice
To yourself above all, but also to others. Studies consistently show that helping others can elevate feelings of contentment and self worth. On Mondays (and all days, really) make a point of identifying how you can positively impact the lives of your co-workers by actively helping or passively supporting.
Social interaction typically makes everyone feel better so cultivate work relationships for Mondays and every other day too.
Change It Up
If nothing seems to impact your Sunday night sense of impending doom it may actually be your job or position that’s to blame, not the most maligned day of the week. All the visualization exercises in the world won’t help you love Mondays if a significant change needs to happen.
Whether it’s a lateral move, a promotion or a re-location, don’t be afraid to pursue change if feelings of dread or depression persist despite your best efforts.
People who are excited to return to work on Monday morning make the best employees – and everyone knows it.