“Oh, I just love Mondays,” said no one ever. Ok, that’s a bit exorbitant but why do we tend to find Mondays so hard? And what can we do to make Mondays that bit more bearable?
“It’s Monday, time to take over the world”.
Mondays aren’t so bad
Let’s start with the good news. As part of a study back in 2012 where a thousand Americans were interviewed every day for a year, clinical psychologist Arthur A. Stone discovered that people find Mondays to be just as enjoyable as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So, the fact that you’re dreading the next day on Sunday evening has less to do with your actual experience and more to do with your expectation of the experience.
However, on Sundays, we are happier than we are from Monday to Friday. The reason we think Monday is more unpleasant than Tuesday is due to the contrast with the day before. This is much more pronounced on Mondays than it is on Tuesdays.
We focus on the difference in our mood instead of on our actual mood. And that’s why ‘blue Tuesday’ isn’t a thing: we’re just as happy or unhappy as we were the day before.
So, remember that Mondays aren’t really miserable: it’s mostly in our heads.
How To Handle Your Monday Morning Anxiety
Right, we’ve now established that you’re probably a slightly less jolly version of yourself on Mondays than you are on Sundays. We’re going to explain why that is and what you can do about it.
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule
The first cause of the Monday blues is your biological clock. Amongst other things, weekends are for grabbing drinks, sleeping in, partying, and afternoon naps. All of these things are lovely and we’d be the last ones to tell you that you need to stop.
However, they do disrupt your biological rhythm, which means you end up more tired on Monday and, as a result, more irritable and impatient than you were at the weekend. This means that, in terms of your emotional state, it’s better to maintain a regular sleep schedule. At least do this during the week, and if possible, also at the weekend: you’ll feel much better on Monday.
2. Plan something fun to do
On Monday, you lose some of that carefree spirit you had on Sunday, back when you were spending time with family and friends, lounging around with nothing to do, or focusing on your hobbies.
This means you might have the sense that you’ve lost some of your freedom now you have to focus on work from nine to five and don’t have time to daydream.
But that doesn’t have to be the case. Social activities, fun, and relaxation aren’t reserved for the weekend. Try to make time for these things throughout the week as well. Get outside and drink a cup of coffee with a colleague, cook a healthy, elaborate meal on Monday evening, invite somebody out for dinner, or call up somebody you haven’t spoken to for a while. Working out on Monday evenings can also be a nice way to kick off the week feeling good and energized.
Mondays can feel overwhelming if you haven’t prepared mentally and practically for the new week. Maybe you still need to go grocery shopping, you haven’t packed your bag for work, and you haven’t taken a moment to think about the work tasks you have coming up. In this case, Monday morning is going to feel like a rude awakening.
Take some time on Friday to get ahead and prepare for the week ahead. This way, you can really relax all weekend. For example, set aside (half) an hour on Friday afternoon to start planning for the following week and, at the end of the day, neatly put away your work bag so that you simply grab it and go on Monday morning.
4. Change your Monday mindset
Our culture makes us think that Mondays are less fun than other days of the week. “It’s just another manic Monday, I wish it was Sunday”, sang the Bangles, we’ve all heard the term Blue Monday, and Katy Perry rounds off the week by singing ‘TGIF’. If you have the expectation that Monday is going to be a terrible day, there’s a greater chance that it’s going to feel that way.
Maybe, from now on, we should just collectively decide that Mondays are fantastic. A fresh start. A chance to make something of ourselves and develop our skills. We can throw the Bangles off our playlist and replace them with Imagine Dragons: “You are my Monday, you’re the best day of the week. So underrated and a brand-new start.”
5. Give yourself some extra attention
Research shows that women consider themselves to be least attractive on Mondays. That might be caused by the fact that you generally eat, drink, and smoke more than usual at the weekend. So, give yourself a little extra attention, for example by wearing your favorite outfit that always makes you feel particularly attractive. Because you really are.
6. Get some fresh air
Fresh air gives you a fresh perspective. So, take plenty of breaks throughout the day and get outside. That goes for every day of the week, but especially Mondays.
7. Develop an email strategy
That mountain of emails that’s waiting for you might be the reason your Mondays are so stressful. Develop an email strategy to cope with this: for example, delete irrelevant emails first thing in the morning, answer urgent emails right away, and reserve an hour at the end of the afternoon for less urgent emails.
Our time management guide can also help you to manage your time and inbox better. Download it here.
8. Practice mindfulness
We can’t say this enough: mindfulness is good for you! For example, try doing a “retrospective” or “prospective” meditation at the end of the weekend. Look back on the lovely days you’ve had and look forward to the nice things, and possibly also the challenges, that your working week is likely to bring.
Also, check out: 5 Mindfulness Exercises that You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime (With Your Eyes Open)
9. Let yourself rest as well
Even if you’ve planned a fun weekend full of chores and social activities, don’t forget to rest as well. Emotional over-stimulation makes us tired and stressed. Even if we’re feeling positive emotions. Schedule in some time to quietly read on the coach and enjoy a cup of coffee or take a walk outside for an hour.
Structural causes of the ‘Sunday scaries’
Of course, it might be the case that your feelings of discomfort on a Sunday in anticipation of Monday (the so-called ‘Sunday scaries) have more serious causes.
You could be dissatisfied at work, have a disrupted work/life balance, or be experiencing other mental health challenges. This might include social anxiety, struggling with changes at work, or feeling stressed.
In these cases, it’s good to take action. For example, you could take a mental health day or read this article to find out how to get your motivation back. If your Sunday scaries are the result of mental health challenges, then it might help to speak to a psychologist about your situation.
And who knows… maybe by following these tips or speaking to a psychologist, you’ll one day get to a point when you can honestly say: “Oh, I just love Mondays!”