Does the start of your workweek trigger overwhelming feelings of anxiety, sadness, or stress? Do you lack passion and motivation on Monday morning? Are you sluggish or tense?
If you’re nodding affirmatively, you might have a case of the Monday Blues.
“The ‘Monday Blues’ describe a set of negative emotions that many people get at the beginning of the workweek if they’re not happy at work,” says Alexander Kjerulf, an international author and speaker on happiness at work. “It contains elements of depression, tiredness, hopelessness and a sense that work is unpleasant but unavoidable.”
The Monday Blues are so prevalent that they have become a cultural phenomenon, “and this makes it easy to laugh them off as ‘just the way things are,’” he says. “But they can be much more than just a passing tiredness; they are often a serious warning sign that something is not right at work. If you were happy, you’d be excited and energized on Mondays, not tired and depressed.”
Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, agrees. “If you love your job and are passionate about what you’re doing, going in to work Monday morning is another opportunity to do what you love,” she says. “But if you’re feeling under-appreciated or unsatisfied with your job, it can be especially difficult to start another seemingly endless workweek.”
As it turns out, your case of the Mondays can have a negative impact on your performance and productivity—as well as the people around you.
“We know from countless studies in psychology and neurology that your current emotional state has a huge effect on the quality of your work and when you’re feeling blue you are less productive, less motivated, more pessimistic, less creative, less engaged and learn more slowly–just to mention a few effects,” Kjerulf says.
Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, star of MTV ’s Hired, and author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad, says the Monday Blues are contagious. “Your stress or bad mood can drastically change the overall work environment,” he says.
Friedman agrees. She says everyone’s productivity is affected by your Monday Blues. “When you’re unhappy at work, it makes it very difficult for those around you to be happy, and oftentimes just one worker with a case of the Mondays can spread the doldrums to the whole team.”
Here are 11 ways to beat (or avoid) the dreaded Monday Blues:
1. Identify the problem. “The first thing to do is to ask yourself what’s wrong,” Kjerulf says. If you have the Monday Blues most weeks, then this is not something you should laugh off or just live with. It’s a significant sign that you are unhappy at work and you need to fix it or move on and find another job.
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, suggests making a list of the things that are bringing you down in your job. “Maybe it’s a negative co-worker or a meeting with your boss first thing on Monday morning, or maybe it’s that you don’t feel challenged–or maybe it’s all of the above,” she says. “In either case, clarifying what is bothering you can help you try to be active in finding solutions. It’s a way of empowering you to take charge and try to improve the situation.”
Kjerulf says if you only suffer the occasional bout of mild Monday Blues, then you can do some things to successfully cheer yourself and others up on an otherwise dreary Monday.
2. Prepare for Monday on Friday. “Mondays can be extra stressful from work that has potentially piled up from the previous week and, for many, can be challenging to jump right back in,” Kahn says.
To help combat that Monday morning anxiety, be sure to leave yourself as few dreadful tasks as possible on Friday afternoon, Friedman says. “By taking care of the things you least want to handle at the end of one work week, you’re making the start of the next that much better.”
If you do have any unpleasant tasks awaiting your attention Monday morning, get them done as early as possible so that you don’t spend the rest of the day procrastinating or “feeling as if there’s a black cloud hanging over your head,” she says. “Make that uncomfortable phone call, resolve that outstanding issue, or clean up that mess that’s waiting for you. You’ll feel a lot better once it’s over.”
You’ll also want to make sure your calendar is up to date and synched, and you have a good view of and handle on your upcoming work week–especially Monday, says Deborah Shane, a career author, featured writer, speaker, and media and marketing consultant. “What do you need to prepare for and get organized with? Get it done Friday, or by Sunday, if possible.”
3. Make a list of the things you’re excited about. “We often look at the week ahead of us and think of all the tough stuff we have to do and the difficult tasks ahead of us,” Kjerulf says. “Turn that around. Sunday evening, make a list of three things you look forward to at work that week. This might put you in a more positive mood. If you can’t think of three things you look forward to, that might be an indication that you need to make some changes.”