Your alarm clock goes off again. You hit the snooze button for the 4th time, and you push yourself to get out of bed against the quiet protests of your mind and body. With groggy eyes, you check the lock screen of your phone – Monday.
If this struggle at the beginning of a workweek seems familiar to you, the chances are that you have experienced the infamous 'Monday Blues'. The pervasive blues can often make their way in as early as Sunday afternoon and impact a perfectly good weekend.
While this is a fairly common phenomenon, we do not have to give in to the Monday anxieties.
Here are a few ways that have helped me overcome the blues.
After all these years, I still abide by a golden rule - begin my Monday with a clean slate, as much as possible. This means wrapping up all the work engagements of the week by Friday and ensuring minimal spillover into the next week. By pushing myself a little bit, I make sure that I am not stressed over pending actions or deadlines at the start of the week.
Ease into it
Mondays are notorious for being 'heavy' work days that are often chaotic. One way to reduce the pressure is to start with easy and achievable tasks in the day. This also helps set a positive tone for the whole day. Furthermore, scheduling difficult meetings or long-drawn activities to Tuesday or Wednesday can ease the transition between a relaxed weekend and a busy workweek.
While it might not always be possible to keep Mondays free of hectic engagements, it is prudent to schedule breaks in between. Finding the time and space to pause between meetings, for instance, helps me stay grounded and feel refreshed before the next agenda on my calendar.
It is important to ensure that our Mondays are not just about getting through work-related tasks but includes an activity/activities that we can look forward to—for instance, meeting a friend, catching up with a family member or cooking a favourite meal later in the day.
We often feel overwhelmed with challenges because we are unsure about navigating through them. If we feel anxious about beginning a workweek, it is helpful to take a step back to identify and reflect on the stressors triggering the negative emotions. The stressors could be originating from an unhealthy work environment, unrealistic deadlines, an overbearing employer, or the nature of the job. Zeroing down on the problem can help devise solutions (individually or in collaboration) and minimise feelings of negativity.
Reconnecting with career goals
This is an extension of the previous subpoint. It is possible for us to experience monotony and, in extreme cases, burnout, even in a job we like. Hence, it is vital to review our progress regularly and gauge if our current professional milestones align with the larger career goals. If there is a gap, it might discourage us from returning to work at the beginning of the week.
No matter what day of the week it is, it is essential to carve out time for yourself. Our jobs can often seem overwhelming when the line between professional and personal lives blur, and we can no longer derive satisfaction from either. Hence, it is important to strike a balance, check-in with ourselves throughout the day, maintain a healthy lifestyle and regularly revisit our career aspirations to ensure that we are always working towards being the best version of ourselves.
This article was first published in October 2021.