Monday blues is such a widespread phenomenon of the workplace that almost everyone I know knows exactly what’s meant by the term when they hear it. Some people are more likely to use phrases like “today is such a Monday” instead but the concept is the same. There’s something about the start of the work week that sometimes translates to a feeling of dread, apprehension, anxiety, maybe just a lack of excitement or passion. It’s as if we’ve internalised that what comes with work is more likely to be stress or frustration than the opposite, which is what work should be.
This feeling is perfectly justifiable sometimes. I tend to struggle with it especially after a long holiday, where I had a great time. I know that it means my holiday is coming to an end. I also struggle with it during periods of high stress at work, when I know that my tasks and to-dos are growing and growing and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the end of them. In those cases, it’s a temporary feeling. It’s there because of a specific situation or circumstance that will blow over with time. Sometimes though, they’re a red flag. If it’s a regular part of your week, if you start thinking about work on Sunday evening already and wake up on Monday with a distinct lack of excitement, then maybe it’s worth reflecting on it a little more.
Step 1: Why am I feeling this way?
It’s easy to think that Monday blues are just part of life. Even those of us who are extremely lucky and privileged with the jobs that we have, in that we have a stable income, we work in a secure environment, and we work with people we like, have this feeling at least some of the time. All of us have to work and it’s normal to not want to work sometimes. Maybe your job is starting to feel a little too routine and there isn’t anything particularly exciting happening right now. Maybe you’d much rather spend your time doing something else. Not looking forward to having to work is normal.
This makes sense to a certain extent. Emotions blow over quite often. But if you ever find yourself feeling like this regularly or for a longer period of time, it’s worth thinking about the reasons for it. Monday blues could be a sign that you’re unhappy with your job, that you need a holiday, that you’re under too much stress, that you need other hobbies and so on. It could mean any number of things. You can only tell if you think about the reason behind it.
Step 2: Can I do something that will change it?
Once you understand why you’re feeling a little blue, it’s a lot easier to figure out if it’s something you can impact somehow or not. Treat it as a chance for you to improve your relationship with work, even if it’s in a small way. If it’s because you’re under too much stress, it’s a great opportunity to look into ways to manage your stress better. If it’s because your tasks at work aren’t fulfilling or exciting enough, it’s a good time to talk to your boss and see if there are any additional responsibilities you can take on. If you’re dreading one particular conversation, maybe it’s worth biting the bullet and having that conversation so you can move on.
If you can’t do anything that will change it, then think about your mindset.
Step 3: How can I change my mindset?
It’s very easy to say that negativity begets negativity but it’s worth keeping in mind that it really does. Work can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding, under the right circumstances but no job, even if it’s the best job that you can ever hope for, will be that for you all the time. It’s worth focusing on the things that you get out of work, especially when you’re stressed out or not that excited by it. Maybe it teaches you how to interact with people in a way that you never would’ve been able to before. Maybe it forces you to pick up skills and develop yourself in ways that you couldn’t foresee. Maybe it’s just nice to have something to do and to be productive in a broader sense.
If you find yourself hating that Monday feeling, think about the ways in which your job has helped you. Find something about it that you look forward to, even if it’s something small. If you don’t have anything at all, then you have a huge opportunity to fill your day with small reminders and gratitude.
Written on a Monday, in the pursuit of self-reflection.