What is your relationship with the snooze button? Are you casual acquaintances, or are you like family? Are you more likely to hit snooze on Mondays? If you struggle to leave your bed when Monday morning rolls around, you might have what’s known as “A Case of the Mondays.”
Monday is a tough day for a lot of people. Weekends often lack structure, and most of us enjoy the change from our workweek routines. But for many, Mondays signal a return to responsibilities and schedules. No more doing what we want, when we want. And certainly no more sleeping in.
The Monday Blues
Dreading the start of a new workweek is commonplace, largely because we’ve been conditioned to feel this way. We compare five work days to two weekend days. We view the consistency of the workweek as monotony. And we have plenty of company when it comes to complaining.
It only takes one Debbie (or Donnie) Downer to drag down the general mood in the office, and Monday mornings are fertile ground. This emotional contagion relies on nonverbal cues (facial expressions, posture, movement) to get its start. From that point, your mood begins to shift, affecting every area of your work day, including your productivity.
By the time you reach the end of your workweek, the cumulative effect of its negative start makes Friday look pretty good in comparison. Your weekend is a reprieve from this negativity. And of course, weekends are typically only two days long. You don’t have much time to shake off the gloom before you have to start again.
Combatting a Case of the Mondays
The phrase, “a case of the Mondays,” gained popularity after the 1999 comedy film Office Space used it to describe the feelings many workers have about Mondays. This helped to cement Monday as the worst day of the week.
In reality, however, Monday is no worse than any other day of the week. Shift your expectations for the first day of the workweek with these tips:
How to Look Forward to Monday
- Evaluate your sleep schedule. Consistent bedtimes and wake times can make a big difference in how you feel when your alarm goes off. This includes weekends, as well. While it’s not fun to turn in early on a Saturday night, doing so will help you to regulate your circadian rhythm.
- Begin your day positively. Start the day off by doing something you enjoy doing. Listen to a favorite song or playlist. Meditate. Read your favorite blog. Exercise. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, schedule time for it first thing in the morning.
- Set small attainable goals for the day. Make a physical list that you can check off as you go. Don’t underestimate the power of the checklist. It helps you to develop discipline and gives you a physical record of your accomplishments.
- Reward yourself. It’s a good deal easier to tackle difficult tasks when you know a reward lies at their completion. Match your reward to the effort involved and enjoy it with zero guilt.
- Give yourself something to look forward to. Prepare for your week on Sunday evenings by scheduling something you can look forward to during the week. This might be a mid-week meetup with friends or a long soak in the tub. Knowing you’ll have something enjoyable to look forward to before the weekend arrives can be a powerful motivator.
- Turn to motivational quotes. Sometimes you just need to reframe your thinking. Motivational quotes can help you to think differently about your work life.
- Keep a Monday Journal. Write down the positives and negatives of the day. Once you can see your negatives in black and white, you may be able to spot trends. Try to make some changes and turn the negatives to positives.
Monday Starts on Sunday
One of the reasons Mondays feel overwhelming for many is lack of preparation. Though we might want to ignore the fact, Monday comes around every week, and it’s better to be prepared for it. The best time to do that is on Sunday evening. This prep work should involve both mental and physical groundwork.
Outline priorities and highlight events/tasks you are looking forward to throughout the week. If you notice items that may cause dread or anxiety, brainstorm ways to combat those feelings prior to performing the task. Be proactive at derailing negative attitudes and actions.
Decide what you’re going to wear. If you typically take your lunch, make your lunch ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Gather your work materials, including your laptop and any paperwork you might need. Put your phone on the charger. Set up the coffee maker to have your coffee ready when you wake up. And yes, set your alarm.
A little preparation can go a long way toward making Monday feel more doable. It’s all about how you choose to view Mondays. The first day of the week can mean a fresh start.
Making the effort to reframe Mondays will likely help you to dread it less and make you more productive all week long. If, however, you find you’re still combatting a case of the Mondays each week, take stock of your situation. You may need to carefully consider what it is that makes you dread Mondays. Your work environment and workplace culture are a big part of your life, and they can affect your job satisfaction. The time may be right to make a change. If that’s the case, be sure to take your newly-acquired positive habits with you!