It has been a trying week of deadlines, impromptu meetings, major projects, and school activities. Now it is Friday afternoon, the hectic work week is swiftly ending, and your last two hours of work are filled optimism as you think of a relaxing weekend. Unfortunately, the euphoria abruptly ends when faced with a long list of tasks that are either neglected or incomplete. Despite your best efforts, your weekend ends on a lethargic note as you reflect on ways to prepare for the dreaded day-Monday. If you have experienced this, you are not alone. Millions of Americans experience what is referred to as Monday Morning Blues (MMB) which experts define as a depressed mood that occurs after the weekend. But with a few adjustments, there are ways to turn your Monday Morning Blues (MMB) into Monday Morning Rock.
For many years, it was believed that Monday Morning Blues (MMB) was simply a myth or a normal feeling that is overly exaggerated after the weekend. However, there are studies that prove the opposite. In fact, Monster.com initiated poll on the topic in 2013. It reports that over eighty percent of Americans experience MMB, and nearly sixty percent says the symptoms of MMB are quite severe. This is believed to be attributed to an overwhelming sense of responsibility that may include but are not limited to the following: work, homework, meal preparations, and etc. For many Americans, the weekend is an opportunity to escape the mundane tasks of the week.
MMB is often viewed as an insignificant occurrence in comparison to the other illnesses, disorders, and diseases that can be permanently life-altering, so signs such as depression, anxiety, and restlessness are often ignored. Yet, the impact of MMB when unaddressed can lead to debilitating results, so it becomes imperative to recognize signs while making concerted efforts to effectively manage stress and protect emotional health. Dr. Allen Schartz, LCSW, Ph. D, reports results of a fascinating study conducted by Dr. Chauncey Crandall, MD and contributor to “Newsmax Health”– a health-related website.
Dr. Crandall conducted a study at the Tokyo Women’s Medical University. Nearly 200 men and women were fitted for a blood pressure device that monitored their pressures for one week. The results were astounding as they reveal those who were preparing for work experienced a surge in blood pressure as opposed to those who rested. Although some researchers argue that this is simply a part of the body’s natural 24-hour rhythm, Dr. Crandall reports 20 percent of heart attacks occur on Monday–more than any other day and believes that physical changes, the transition from leisure to work, and morning commutes are leading contributors.
Given what is learned about MMB, the next question is how do we effectively transition from leisure to work? It begins with time management. Time management has become the main topic in many professional and collegiate workshops. It is a transferable skill and the mantra to success; yet, it poses a challenge for so many. A practical solution is to complete tasks that are normally done on Sunday on Friday or Saturday. Many experts believe this adjustment can help ease anxiety while allowing additional time for rest and leisure. If completing all of these tasks seem overwhelming, it may help to create a list of those that are more physically taxing and time-consuming. Completing them on Friday– while in work mode-allows more time for leisure. Other suggestions include completing work in smaller, more manageable increments, delegating duties, and asking for help. According to Yolanda Wikiel as cited by Dr. Cassie Mogilner, Happiness Researcher and Assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, believes these adjustments can create “moments of unencumbered joy.”
Did you know that people who routinely attend religious services are more satisfied with their lives than those who do not attend religious services? Per a study published in the American Sociological Review in 2010, Lim and Putnam reports that faith plays an integral role, but the act of fellowship and the sense of belonging one experiences is both emotionally and spiritually gratifying (Lim & Putnam, 2010).
Change or Complain
Most of us are bombarded with messages of discord and complaints. Guy Winch, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and author of Does Complaining Damage Our Mental Health, addresses the perils of ineffective complaining. Ineffective complaints are those made without intent of resolution or results. For example, a person who assumes many professional responsibilities may consistently complain to a co-worker about being over-worked. However, the issue may not be about increased responsibilities as much as it is about compensation. The question remains. How did this person seek to resolve this grievance? What attempts are made to schedule a meeting with management? What proof has been provided to support a well-deserved raise? Complaining becomes ineffective when there is no intent to seek results. The same concept can be applied as it relate to one’s attitude about Monday. What steps have been taken to make the day pleasant? Has there been any attempts to plan in efforts to reduce stress? Furthermore, has there been any time allocated to simply give thanks?
A Pop of Color
What message does your clothes send? Do you tend to meet Friday with a well-fitted, colorful wardrobe and Monday with a dull, over-sized wardrobe that echoes a lack of confidence? If so, it is time to change your perspective. Researchers have confirmed the psychology of colors and its impact on one’s mood. For example, brighter colors are believed to exude a happier, jovial nature as opposed to darker colors that tend to be associated with lifeless, depressed moods. Think about the way you approach your Monday morning. If you are pessimistic and tired, it may help to add color to your wardrobe. Making these small adjustments may improve your mood, boost your self-esteem, and help you to meet another week with optimism.
Each day present a new set of challenges, and our approach to those challenges can greatly affect our emotional well-being. Effective time management while developing a spirit of gratitude are just a few ways to make Monday as fulfilling as Friday.