Let's face it—we all have been victims of nerve-racking, sleep-inducing, demotivating, and emotionally draining cases of Monday Blues. We can't help it, they are just there, and when the alarm clock wakes us up, our brain chooses not to. The mere thought shakes any workaholic from within. But have we ever thought about the science behind Monday Morning Blues—or more crucially—how to avoid Monday Blues?
The Science Behind Monday Blues—it’s (not) all in your head
Yep, we know that Monday Blues are just an 'emotion', but there's a lot more to it. The fact that a Telegraph study proves that employees won’t even crack a smile till 11:16 AM on a Monday and that grumpy face would stay on for longer than usual signifies that there’s science behind Monday blues.
Keeping that in mind, here are some very ironclad reasons that brew the deadly concoction of Monday Morning Blues which makes us feel like we woke on the wrong side of the bed.
1. Statistically, workers are unhealthier on Mondays
Monday is the ultimate day to which all the good habits and pending work gets postponed. According to research, even though people wish to start good things like kicking the butt, exercise, diet, and whatnot on Mondays, they are mentally unhealthiest on Mondays.
There’s a significant increase in blood pressure of workers on Mondays, as studied by Japan's Tokyo Women's Medical University and published in the American Journal of Hypertension. Talk about waking up with blood vessels pumping faster than the usual, that’s a decent reason to get the ol’ blues.
2. Shattered body clocks over the weekend
What’s the secret recipe for a perfect weekend—lots of sleep? Well, maybe not.
According to various researches including this Flinders University one, we often tend to oversleep on the weekends, and that’s where the problem begins. In the above study, scientists compared samples of those who kept the same sleep schedule as a weekday to those who slept the weekend away, and guess what—the ones who slept over had their body clocks delayed by 45 minutes.
Not only do the shattered body clocks give unrealistic expectations to the brain, triggering sleep after lunch and before tea, but it also destroys the weekend. While if the same period is used for unwinding oneself as per their whims and fancies, it might turn out to be less blue of a Monday. Which brings us to the next reason:
3. The weekend sins of debauchery
Been there, done that.
Weekends are supposed to be full of frolic, right? It took a whole week to plan things out with our friends and then we finally get together, have some fun, chug a few drinks in, and cut to the next morning—headaches, dizziness, back hurting, and the special dialogue “Never again!”.
As workaholics, we are supposed to have all the fun, but the body gets frail, and hangovers get worse when you’re not 19 [This is a scientist speaking to NBC, not the liquor]. It hangs us out to dry and there’s not a lot to do but go easy on the weekends and make plans that just involve mild debauchery.
4. Mondays are emotionally the worst
The easiest way to explain this is the transition from a Sunday to Monday. When the party mode goes away and hustle mode comes on, it drains a person emotionally about what they’ve accomplished in the time off.
The emotional shift is quite overwhelming as this Marie Claire report says that 46% of women are least motivated to even look at themselves in the mirror on a Monday morning. Well, it’s not just you girls—it’s everyone. The reason? Visible emotional effects of the weekend’s occurrences.
5. People don’t like what they do in the first place
This is a ghastly reason, and it concerns an organization’s culture more than the victims of Monday Blues. There are just 35% (give and take) employees in the USA who are engaged in the workplace (Gallup), and this comes to show that disengaged employees are vulnerable to face the blues.
Not only is this a red flag for an organisation’s culture, but a trigger for employees to be dissatisfied and not get the guaranteed results, ultimately leading to a plummet in productivity.
Now that we know enough about the science behind Monday blues, let’s check how to avoid Monday blues in such a way that they don’t come back to bug us.
How to beat Monday Blues at work? Whack them in the Face!
Monday blues are a curable form of emotional trauma, and when science is behind something, science finds a cure for it too. Here are some proven tips to avoid feeling Monday blues and flush them down the drain.
1. Scribble what (or who) is giving you the blues
The best stress management technique to tackle behemoth problems is to have all your problems in front of you. Think about what you hate when it comes to Mondays. Is it the drive full of traffic? Stack of 25+ emails waiting in the inbox from your associates?
Or a person you dread seeing walking into work? Each of these problems can be zeroed down to a single solution, which would eventually add a hue of pink to our Monday blues.
2. Self-care is crucial all over the week
Weekends are a perfect time to unravel, hit the salon, run a 2K marathon, and whatnot, but self-care doesn’t start on Friday night and end on Sunday midnight. Take care of your mind, body, and soul throughout the week and leave the big unwinding tasks to the weekend.
That should help more than anything as self-care makes one feel good all across the week—not just Mondays.
3. Don't open your emails over the weekend
This is the most broken rule of the other broken rules, but seriously, don’t open your damn emails unless it’s do-or-die! Reading an email triggers a chain of events that start with the “just let me have a look once”, a brief reply, and a counter-reply from the sender’s end. Four hours later, you had yourself a mini workday on a week off. If it’s nothing crucial, it can wait till the weekend (this can also be a reply to the email).
4. Don't sleep too much (or too less)
When it comes to lack of sleep throughout the week, don’t compensate for it in one go. Go to sleep early on Friday Sleep till late on Saturday and take brisk hourly sleep breaks throughout the day. This wouldn’t screw up your body clock, and you won’t wake up feeling like you don’t want to go to work on a Monday morning. Having a balance is crucial.
5. Eradicate someone’s Monday Blues with an Appreciation
This might sound philanthropic but spreading positive vibes throughout the workplace or just on your BFF would always solve your Monday jitters along with theirs. Leave a bar of chocolate on their desk, bring their favorite Frappuccino to work, and just try and reduce their stress. Nothing beats Monday blues like some workplace unwinding.
You don’t have to buy chocolates and confetti for it, just send out virtual buckets of appreciation with Xoxoday Empuls—the perfect people engagement platform to keep everyone motivated. Sometimes, all it takes is a click to knock the Monday blues away with Xoxoday Empuls!
6. Wrap up Monday’s jitters on Friday
Every working professional can simply highlight everything that has to be done on Monday well before s/he turns the PC off on Friday evenings. Try to lighten the load by building up the groundwork for Monday and then shimmy into it with ease. This wouldn’t lead to a risk of ad-hoc work and also would make Monday a bit breezy, keeping the blues in mind.
7. It might be more than just blues
We don’t mean to put out a scare, but Monday blues don’t happen every week. If that is the case, then please talk it out to your Employee Assistance Program counsellor, as it is a symptom of clinical depression too. There’s no need to be worried, as Monday blues always fade away as the week goes on. But if that feeling of dread is not going out every Monday, then you might need to have a chat, or more importantly:
8. Find a job you love
This is an overused solution to all the problems, but dissatisfied employees do tend to get irritated by what they do as it’s often accompanied by a lack of motivation to get to work. Finding something that you might enjoy in the same field or a different one, or even taking a paid sabbatical away from work if your employer allows, can be an excellent start to knocking the demotivation out of the cabin.
9. Make brisk plans for Monday Night
From a psychological perspective, it’s always something apart from work that makes us look forward to any day. Making a few plans on Monday here and now would really reduce the stress, and one would look forward to what lies after work, no matter what happens at work. Keep it STRICTLY debauchery-free though.
10. In case of Crunch time, use the weekend for head-starts
This would come of use in cases where tensions are blowing the roof off at work, as a couple of hours on Saturday can be used to get a go-ahead on what has to be done on Monday. Remember—one full day of rest must be observed over the weekend.
Ready to kick out the Monday Blues?
This was all about the science behind Monday blues and more importantly, how can you avoid Monday blues in a few very easy-to-go ways. Don’t let it get into your head—hustle hard on Monday because Friday’s just five days away!